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

Environmental 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 – 9:45 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.

Sponsored by Agile Ticketing Solutions

Practical Tips for Preservation and Renovation

9:45 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 – 12:00 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.


12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
State Theatre lobby

Grab some lunch and join one of the breakout sessions.

Sponsored by Amazon Studios

Breakout Session  #1 – Strategies for Programming Experimental Films

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
State Theatre #1

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

Breakout Session  #2 – Leading a Values-Driven, High-Performing Team

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
State Theatre #2

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.


1:30 PM – 1:45 PM
State Theatre lobby

Sponsored by Casablanca Ventures

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

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
State Theatre lobby

Sponsored by Veezi

Breakout Session #3 — On the Road: Thinking Outside of the Box (and your Building)

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Michigan Theater Auditorium

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 #4 – Getting your First Theater

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Michigan Theater Mezzanine

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
Michigan Theater Auditorium

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
Michigan Theater lobby

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.

Speaker Bios

Karen Andrews, SPHR, Andrews Group
Andrews is an award-winning executive with expertise in human resources. She is managing director of The Andrews Group which specializes in executive coaching and training, human resource strategy, strategic planning, employee rewards/benefits strategies and solutions, change management and organizational design strategy, and executive team building and facilitation. Additionally, she is an instructor in professional human resource management at Eastern Michigan University.

Michelle Baroody, Mizna Arab Film Festival
Michelle Baroody received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota in 2019, where she taught classes on film, literature, and history. She served as director and curator of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival from 2014-2018, and executive director of the Italian Film Festival of Minneapolis / St. Paul in 2015 and 2018. She is a volunteer and board member at the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis. Her academic research focuses on the international circulation and exhibition of Arab film and literary texts.

Emily Eddy, Co-Curator, Nightingale Cinema
Emily Eddy is a film, video, and digital media artist and curator based in Chicago, IL. Since 2014 she has been curating film, video, and new media works at the Nightingale Cinema in Chicago and for the online zine Video! Video! Her curatorial projects include “How to Fight Like A Girl” and “How to Survive: Pinky Swear.” Emily has shown her work and programmed screenings at many venues in Chicago, as well as her hometown, Portland Oregon, Los Angeles, and Reykjavík, Iceland.

Rebecca Fons, Board Member, Iowa Theater
Rebecca Fons served as the Education Director at the Chicago International Film Festival for nine years and now work full-time the Programming Director at FilmScene in Iowa City, Iowa and as the Development and Programming Director for The Iowa Theater, in Winterset, Iowa which she renovated.

Elnian Gilbert, Trainer, ZingTrain
Voted the best small business in America, Zingerman’s is known for pioneering a new and sustainable way to work, grounded in a commitment to quality and service, as well as finance. With an eclectic background in customer service, trainer Gilbert leads educational seminars around the country on vision and customer service, helping businesses of all sizes develop strategies for employee ownership and healthy growth.

Amir George,  Film Programmer, True/ False
Amir George is a filmmaker and curator. Amir has organized cinematic themed symposiums at Cooper Union, and Talbot Rice Gallery at the University of Edinburgh.  Amir has curated exhibitions at Transmission Gallery Scotland, and Silent Funny Chicago. In addition to founding The Cinema Culture, a grassroots film programming organization, Amir is the co-founder of Black Radical Imagination a touring experimental short film series with Erin Christovale. Black Radical Imagination focuses on the aesthetics of Afro-futurism, Afro-surrealism, and the magnificent through the context of cinema and has presented experimental works at venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Brooklyn Museum. Amir’s motion picture work has screened at film festivals and cultural organizations including Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and Museum of Contemporary Arts Detroit.

Allison Inman, Education and Engagement Director, Belcourt Theatre
Allison Inman develops a variety of educational and engagement programs for the Belcourt Theatre including  filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, performances and seminars, and teaches visual literacy/cinema appreciation in schools and community centers with the Belcourt’s Mobile Movie Theatre. Before joining the Belcourt, she was a national engagement consultant for San Francisco-based ITVS, coordinating its popular public documentary screening series, Community Cinema, in Nashville. Prior to that, she was communications manager for Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver and a communications consultant in Denver, Nashville, and New Orleans. She is a member of the board of the Southern Documentary Fund.

Leslie Raymond, Executive Director, Ann Arbor Film Festival
Leslie Raymond has been the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the oldest oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America, since 2013. The festival’s mission is to promote bold, visionary filmmakers through the advancement of film and new media art, and to engage communities with remarkable cinematic experiences, in 2019 they hosted over 100 artists and screened over 130 films.

David Serio, Education and Public Programming Specialist, Arab American National Museum (AANM)
David Serio holds a M.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic from Wayne State University.  Serio joined the AANM in January of 2011, initially as an AmeriCorps, later being hired as a full-time Educator and Public Programmer.  As an Educator and Public Programmer,  Serio has conducted educational presentations and workshops throughout the Mid-West. Serio also helps in the planning and implementation of youth programs and cultural events, such as the SURA Arts Academy, a youth photography program.  Serio is also the Curator of the Arab Film Festival and manages all of AANM’s film programming, both at AANM and at offsite locations around the world. He is also the Volunteer Coordinator and responsible for growing and managing the volunteer program. Mr. Serio continues to implement educational and cultural programming to audiences far and wide.

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