Australian Feature Film Forum unveils first ever program

The forum aims to 'close the gap between filmmakers and the theatrical marketplace and facilitate the sharing of current data'.

The inaugural Australian Feature Film Forum (AFFF) has announced information on its sessions and speakers for its virtual streaming program, taking place from 1–2 November.

Partnering with the Australian International Movie Convention for the first time, the AFFF, said a spokesperson, aims to ‘close the gap between filmmakers and the theatrical marketplace and facilitate the sharing of current data, trends and analysis of the feature film marketplace. Streaming the panels will allow filmmakers from across Australia to participate in the critical screen event.’

Filmmakers, says the AFFF, will ‘benefit from understanding the perspective of distributors and exhibitors – the retail sector of the chain – and gain insight into what they think will or won’t play in their cinemas, making it an opportunity to hear from speakers who are rarely accessible to the production sector’.

The following sessions will be live-streamed, recorded and then stored for four weeks on the
AFFF website, where they will be available to registered participants:

Australia’s Evolving Box Office: A Data-driven Discussion about Movies & Moviegoers – 1 November, 8am (AEST)

Moderator Matt Liebmann, Chief Product, Innovation & Marketing Officer for The Vista Group and a panel of entertainment industry insiders hold a data-driven conversation about the who, what, when and why of today’s Australia cinema-goers. Joining Matt are Stephanie Mills (Hoyts Group), Benjamin Zeccola (Palace Cinemas), Brian Pritchett (Paramount Pictures), Dean Schraftt (Google), Frank Perikleous (Comscore) and Ruari Elkington (Queensland University of Technology).

Ask Me Anything – 1 November 3pm
A panel of film producers, exhibitors and distributors ask tough questions of each other to stimulate a better understanding of each sector’s decision-making process and enable insights into the complexities of finding audiences for Australian films in cinemas. Hoodlum CCO Tracey Vieira reveals the motivations, operational limitations and business-model drivers for each of these sectors. Joining Tracey will be Claire Gandy (Event Cinemas), Ross Entwistle (Limelight Cinemas), Marc Wooldridge (Maslow Entertainment), Sam Jennings (Causeway Films) and Jamie Hilton.

Modern Marketing: Evolving Trends, Technologies & Opportunities – 2 November 8am (AEST)
Marketing is evolving. Starting in 1999 with the creativity that launched the Blair Witch campaign, The Gentleminions, Barbenheimer, Smile, The Creator or even M3gan‘s spooky dance are all recent examples of viral marketing driving box office to new heights. ‘Eventising’ movies is here to stay, and Bec Pini from M4M agency will be joined by a panel to discuss how they are tailoring campaigns to different generations, and discussing ideas that the industry should be considering in order to enhance our engagement with evolving audiences. Panellists include Liberty Wilson (Event Cinemas), Stacey Kwijas (Village Cinemas), Felicity Drake (Universal Pictures), Richard Greenwood (Movio) and Whitney Williams (TikTok).

Keynote Speaker: Changing Consumer Behaviour & The Future Of Marketing2 November 9am (AEST)

Focused on changing consumer behaviour and overall trends, Dean Schrafft – Google Industry Manager (Media, Entertainment & Technology) – will reveal what Google is seeing specifically in Media and Entertainment through Google data, along with some thoughts surrounding the implications on the future of marketing, advances in AI and the importance of data.

The Rise of the Experience: Global Cinema Experiences & Technological Trends – 2 November 2.45pm (AEST)

Leading management consulting firm McKinsey noted recently that Gen Z will make up a quarter of the population of Asia Pacific by 2025, with this generation more likely to spend on experiences that enrich their everyday lives than millennials. The Rise Of The Experience panel brings together international experts to discuss shifting trends towards ‘experiences’, including different seating concepts, technology innovations and F&B enhancements, and how these experiences drive box office, repeat visitation and ultimately enhance the guest experience. Joining moderator Cameron Mitchell, the executive director of NACO, will be Giovanni Dolci (IMAX), Luke Mackey (Event Cinemas), Brett Rosengarten (ICA), Edwin Ramesh (Dolby Laboratories), Brian Claypool (Christie – EVP Cinema) and Pruthu Shah (Scrabble Entertainment).

The Australian Feature Film Forum is an initiative of the Australian Feature Film Working Group (AFFWG), an informal group of industry representatives from the production, exhibition and distribution sectors together with representatives of screen agencies, industry
associations and guilds.

Visit Eventbrite for more information and tickets.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites