Ann Arbor Regional Seminar Full Schedule*

Wednesday, June 19th

Welcome Reception & Opening Remarks

6:30 PM – 7:45 PM
State Theatre lobby

Come explore the newly renovated State Theatre and get to know your fellow attendees over a drink.

Sponsored by Art House Cinema Solutions

Sustainability in the Art House

7:45 PM – 8:00 PM
State Theatre #1

Film exhibitors around the country are taking steps to become more sustainable in order to positively impact their communities today and tomorrow. Over the next year, Art House Convergence will be gathering information about steps theaters are taking to reduce waste, increase public awareness, and decrease their carbon footprint. Learn some of the steps you can take to make your theater more green.

Film Screening – HONEYLAND

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
State Theatre #1

Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. When a nomadic family move in and break Honeyland’s basic rule, the last female wild beekeeper in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.

Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She’s the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city – a mere four hours’ walk away. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, offering up her affections, her brandy and her tried-and-true beekeeping advice.  It’s a tough and tender portrait of the delicate balance between humankind and nature, a glimpse at a fast disappearing way of life, and an unforgettable testament to one extraordinary woman’s resilience.

Hosted by NEON

Thursday, June 20th

Registration Opens

8:00 AM
State Theatre lobby

Come pick up your badge and get a cup of coffee (or two).

Coffee sponsored by Casablanca Ventures

Theater Tours

8:15 AM – 9:30 AM
Departing from State Theatre lobby

Walking tours of both the Michigan and State Theaters will be leaving in small groups on a rotating basis. Come see behind the curtains of both historic spaces.

Sponsored by Irwin Seating

Art House Tales on Location: Michigan Theater Foundation

9:30 AM – 10:15 AM
State Theatre #1

An Art House Tale on location! We’re kicking off the seminar with a case study of the Michigan Theater Foundation. Join the team for a peek into the historic venue’s past, present, and future. With lots of pictures of course.

Practical Tips for Preservation and Renovation

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
State Theatre #1

A valuable case study on how to preserve a theater’s historic past while creating a dynamic, inviting space for the future. In 2017 on its 75th birthday, the Art Deco State Theatre reopened after a stunning restoration. The four-screen upgrade was the culmination of a successful capital campaign and strategic decisions that successfully charted the theater’s course from lovingly ramshackle to a streamlined, accessible and thriving community destination enlivened by midcentury flourish. Learn from the team about how how to ensure fundraising, design, and construction triumphs, and how how to avoid the mishaps along the way.


10:45 AM – 11:00 AM
State Theatre lobby

Sponsored by Casablanca Ventures

Beyond “Foreign” Film: Curating Cinema from the Arab World

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
State Theatre #1

For almost a century, sharing an international array of films has been the beating heart of art house cinemas. Yet, we often fold different countries together, missing the opportunity to illuminate specific films’ national, historical, linguistic, and economic contexts. Join a panel of specialists in Arab and Arab American cinema for a conversation that will walk through the logistics of booking and marketing films from the Arab world, while also addressing strategies for educating audiences, challenging the canon, combatting stereotypes, sustaining partnerships, and developing the expertise for thoughtful curation.


12:15 PM – 1:45 PM
State Theatre lobby

Grab some lunch and join one of the breakout sessions.

Sponsored by Amazon Studios

Breakout Session  #1 – Leading a Values-Driven, High-Performing Team

Breakout Session  #1 – Leading a Values-Driven, High-Performing Team
12:45 PM – 1:45 PM
Location TBD

In this session, we will explore how the role of a leader/supervisor is impacted by values and mission, and how best to integrate values, trust, and equity in to organizational culture. We’ll also explore techniques to create a culture of equity and respect that is also results-oriented. As leaders, you have projects, goals, and tasks expected of you. In addition, you are responsible for the performance of your team. We’ll discuss how to successfully use mission to inspire your colleagues and as a foundation for establishing and pursuing your budgets and goals.

Breakout Session  #2 – Going Underground: Strategies for Programming Experimental Films

12:45 PM – 1:45 PM
Location TBD

From music videos, to punk film, to home video, and the new queer cinema  — experimental filmmakers have played a key role in defining the aesthetics of contemporary media. Ready to start to integrating super 8mm, projection performances, and immersive artworks into your cinema program? This session will provide key tips about how to locate, rent, program, and promote experimental film programs — and how to engage local artists as speakers, performers, and educators.

Sponsored by MUBI

A Culture of Fundraising: Cultivating a Community of Loyal Supporters (and Donors)

1:45 PM – 3:00 PM
State Theatre #1

Nurturing loyalty to our theaters has never been more important. Learn effective strategies for cultivating donors and establishing a vibrant culture of giving. From inspiringly describing their theater’s positive impact to directly making asks, the Michigan Theater Foundation’s development department will share the actionable techniques they used to galvanize their 7,000+ members and 500+ high-level donors to advocate for their local art house.


3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
State Theatre lobby

Sponsored by Casablanca Ventures

Creating a Vision of Greatness

3:15 PM – 4:30 PM
State Theatre #1

Doesn’t it just make sense that if you know where you want to end up, it will be easier to figure out how to get there? With a passion for education, transparency, and a bottom line that includes quality as well as commerce, experienced ZingTrain trainer Elnian Gilbert is a specialist in visioning. Join Gilbert for a conversation about vision that applies on any scale, from articulating the future of your organization in 20 years to figuring out a successful in-house event. Learn how to integrate vision into your day-to-day, get inspired, and then get going.

Popcorn Break

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
State Theatre lobby

Sponsored by Veezi

Breakout Session #1 — On the Road: Thinking Outside of the Box (and your Building)

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location TBD

How do we expand beyond our established audience to develop sustainable relationships throughout our regions? Sometimes the first step towards making your space more welcoming is leaving it. This roundtable will examine how off-site screenings and events can invigorate programming, help art houses connect with new audiences, and contribute to long-term, supportive partnerships and collaborations.

Breakout Session #2 – Getting your First Theater

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location TBD

Ready to operate your first brick and mortar theater? Board member of the historic Iowa Theater, Rebecca Fons leads this educational workshop on the process of acquiring and opening your first theater. From establishing non-profit status, to rehabbing a space, and stoking community excitement — Rebecca will share insights, guidelines, and how-to advice for exhibitors ready to acquire a historic theater, launch a micro-cinema, or start their first organization.


6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Location TBD

After a full day of panels, come join us for some evening drinks and networking.

Sponsored by Spotlight Cinema Networks

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

7:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Check out the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a month-long nightly outside festival only one block from the theaters! Music starts at 7:00 PM and films start after sundown (usually around 9:30 PM). There are food trucks and beer gardens galore! The screening this night will be the Audience Award winner from the 2019 Cinetopia Film Festival, a production of the Michigan Theater Foundation.

Friday, June 21st

Networking Breakfast

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Location TBD

Come wrap up the conference on Friday morning by participating in smaller discussions on issues relating to our different fields and industry-wide topics. We will say goodbye and thank you to the Michigan Theater staff and then say “see you soon!” until next January!

Sponsored by Boston Light & Sound

Detroit Bus and Walking Tour (Optional)

10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Please see below for more details.

*All times and topics subject to change.

Detroit Bus and Walking Tour

Join us for an optional afternoon in the Motor City on Friday, June 21. Departing from the Michigan Theater, this tour will include visits to Detroit’s art house cinemas and historic landmarks. Featuring some of the country’s most stunning Art Deco skyscrapers and an iconic skyline, Detroit was the first city to be named a UNESCO City of Design. We will return to Ann Arbor in the evening. Additional registration is required for tour. 

(Optional) Detroit Tour Schedule: 
10:30 AM Depart from Michigan Theater
11:30 AM Tour of Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts
12:30 PM Tour of Cinema Detroit
1:00 PM Lunch on your own (Drop off at downtown center near Lafayette and American Coney Islands)
2:30 PM Private Walking Tour with Preservation Detroit
4:30 PM Depart from Detroit
5:30 PM Arrive at Michigan Theater