Festival Strategy

A conversation with festival experts about where to apply, when to apply, and how to get the most out of your festival run without tearing your hair out. With SXSW's Janet Pierson and Claudette Godrey, filmmaker Bryan Poyser (LOVERS OF HATE, DEAR PILLOW) who has been in the festival submission trenches, and AFS’s Holly Herrick, former programmer of the Sarasota & Hamptons Film Festivals.

About the Panelists

Before joining SXSW in April 2008, Janet Pierson spent over 30 years championing independent films and filmmakers, in a variety of roles including distributor, exhibitor, producer’s rep, investor, workshop producer, executive producer, documentary subject, and as co-creator and segment director of the IFC cable TV series SPLIT SCREEN.  Much of this work was in partnership with her husband, the author, producer, professor, and co-president of Grainy Pictures, John Pierson.  An Austin Film Society Board Member 2004-2010, she’s currently on the Advisory Board, and has served on and taken part in several grant panels, festival juries, and advisory roles, including on behalf of the NEA, ITVS, and Creative Capital.

Claudette Godfrey is the Film Festival Coordinator and Shorts Programmer for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. A University of Texas Film graduate, Claudette is a Shorts Programmer at the Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest and has also worked as a Corporate Relations Coordinator at the CineVegas Film Festival. Additionally, she does a mean karaoke version of Notorious B.I.G.'s ‘Hypnotize.’

Bryan Poyser ’s critically acclaimed provocative feature debut, DEAR PILLOW premiered at the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival and made the rounds at more than 30 U.S. and European festivals.  In 2010, Poyser wrote and directed LOVERS OF HATE, a hilarious tale of sibling rivalry starring Chris Doubek, Alex Karpovsky and Heather Kafka. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it was picked up for distribution by IFC Films/ Sundance Selects.  The film made the rounds at major national and international film festivals, including SxSW and BAMCinemaFest.  Bryan is in post-production on his third feature as writer/director, entitled THE BOUNCEBACK. 

Holly Herrick joined AFS in June of 2012 to serve as Associate Artistic Director. Previously, she served as Deputy Program Director at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and as Director of Programming at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida. In addition to programming, she participated in launching a program in Sarasota for the mentorship and promotion of women filmmakers. In 2011, she associate produced the narrative feature SEPTIEN, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and in Austin at SxSW, and was distributed theatrically and On Demand by Sundance Selects. 



Wednesday, September 5th, 7 PM
Austin Studios Screening Room

(1901 E. 51st St)

$10 General Admission /
$5 AFS WATCH members plus students (with valid ID) /
Free to AFS MAKE, LOVE and Premiere Circle members

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