The Ann Arbor Film Festival is excited to embrace the Film Festival Code of Ethics currently being developed by the Film Festival Alliance. Founded in 2010 as a program of the Independent Filmmaker Project, and established in 2015 as an independent non-profit, the Film Festival Alliance’s mission is to “foster collaboration among mission-driven film festivals to develop sustainable events that educate and entertain audiences” while championing “the vital role of film festivals, filmmakers and cinema culture in the 21st Century and beyond.” To find out more about the FFA Code and how we can comply, the AAFF interviewed Colin Stanfield from the Film Festival Alliance Board of Directors. When asked how the new Code of Ethics will affect festivals, he said, “FFA believes that as these standards are adopted, the film festival industry will benefit greatly in its attempts to secure long lasting, trusting relationships with filmmakers, distributors, agents, and other film industry professionals.”
FFA benchmarks guide us in our evolution towards more robust transparency as a 501c3 organization serving the public good. We strive to establish and embrace clear best practices, some of which have informed us since the beginning. One of the core principles of the Festival as stated by our founder George Manupelli was to be “another kind of venue for experimental films, a very open forum, a showcase without the tastemaking aspect to it.” In this regard, we aim to reconnect with more egalitarian practices that honor the filmmakers whose work comes to us through the submissions process. In this regard, we pledge to reduce the percentage of invited filmmakers competing in the “Films in Competition” from 41% to 10%. This will allow more submitted films and work by lesser-known makers the possibility of being in the Festival. We believe that each film submitted deserves an equal opportunity to be evaluated on its own merits, and to have the same chance at being awarded by our distinguished jury. We are confident moving forward with more equitable practices, and know that we are therefore stronger in our commitment to the Festival mission, to the incredible artists to whom we are dedicated, and to the tremendous audience that supports us.
Stay tuned for more of our interview with Colin; we greatly appreciate that he has taken the time to discuss the Code of Ethics as the AAFF aligns itself with those principles.