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As mentioned in our last newsletter, the AAFF is in the process of revising its operations to make them more efficient and ethical than ever before. We will define our best practices clearly to establish transparency and strengthen the trust between the Festival and the wonderful filmmakers that make it possible. This effort comes as a direct result of the Film Festival Alliance’s development of a Film Festival Code of Ethics. AAFF Executive Director Leslie Raymond learned about the Code of Ethics at the most recent Art House Convergence during the FFA's programming strand, which allowed film festival staff to meet, mix, learn from one another, and share their resources.

The current draft of the Code was developed in conjunction with input from several festival directors, programmers, and art house managers, but it continues to undergo revisions. To find out more about the Code, its creation, and benefits, we talked to Colin Stanfield, the Acting Director of the Film Festival Alliance. With over 20 years of experience in not-for-profit management, strategic planning, and board development, as well as multiple full-time senior management positions with such renowned film festivals as the Greenwich International Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society (2013), and the Nantucket Film Festival (2008-2012), Colin is more than a veteran of the film festival scene. He generously took the time to respond to our questions, and you can see his responses below:

What made you want to be a part of the Film Festival Alliance?

What drew me to the Film Festival Alliance was the community of like-minded festival professionals that would show up at our early IFP-sponsored sessions. We’ve described this passionate network as "our tribe” on more than one occasion and the metaphor still resonates. Beyond the camaraderie, it's exciting to have an ability to share information, brainstorm around shared challenges and commiserate when things get tough!

How can joining the FFA benefit film festivals and the film community as a whole?

One of the chief benefits of mobilizing the current loose-knit network of festivals under the auspices of the Film Festival Alliance is the potential to leverage our collective wisdom, history, and influence towards a more powerful cultural force. Film Festivals have individually brought enormous value both artistically and economically to communities across the country. Channeling this impact and more importantly articulating it to funding bodies, municipal governments and film companies will open windows for our industry and allow us to take a more significant seat at the table.

What are the goals of this standardized Film Festival Code of Ethics, and how will complying benefit festivals?

The FFA’s Festival Code of Ethics is a work in progress. It was conceived by our programming committee (Tom Hall and Jon Gann) as a set of guidelines which festivals can use as benchmarks for best practices in areas like submissions policy transparency, filmmaker hospitality, and technical and exhibition capabilities. 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. Look for developments on this front in the near future.

Once again, we offer a tremendous thanks to Colin for taking the time to answer our questions. The AAFF is thrilled to be a pioneering festival in this greater arts community shift towards more unified organization and egalitarian practices. As Colin said, look for developments on this front in the near future!

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