As the largest annual gathering of art house cinema and festival professionals, community leaders, service providers and suppliers, the Annual Conference attracts participants from across the world. By defining our field, creating a shared vision and vocabulary, and identifying best practices, the Art House Convergence Annual Conference strengthens efforts to sustain art houses cinemas and film festivals of various sizes, operating structures, and programming philosophies. The goal of the Annual Conference is to engage art house theaters, film festivals, film societies, museums, and other exhibition-oriented organizations in conversations of great relevance to our field.


Register for the 2020 conference and get access to four days of educational sessions, receptions, and networking opportunities. Your registration includes 40+ educational sessions, keynotes, parties, screenings, and more. Register here.


Partner with Art House Convergence and connect with thousands of specialists in the art house and independent cinema industries. Supporting AHC helps promote your brand among key exhibitors and their influential patrons and contributes to the ongoing vitality of the theatrical experience. Vendors and distributors must sponsor to participate in the popular Meet the Vendors and Meet the Distributors trade shows. 2020 sponsorship deck now available!

Scholarships & Initiatives

Each year Art House Convergence offers initiatives and scholarships to improve access to the conference’s educational, networking, and professionalization opportunities. These programs are intended to cultivate diverse leadership, support first-time attendees,  and strengthen the conference and the organizations it serves by making them more inclusive. Learn more and apply here.


Art House Convergence encourages cinema exhibitors in all stages of their career to get involved with planning our annual conference, regional seminars, and other programs. Learn more about volunteer opportunities here.


Each year the Art House Convergence community celebrates achievements in film exhibition and contributions to the fields of art house and independent cinema with the Spotlight Lifetime Achievement Award and the Founders’ Distinguished Service Award (The Russell B. Collins Award). Read more about Art House Convergence Awards. Nominations are due by August 21, 2019.

Conference Structure


Hear from dozens of speakers over the four days of the conference. With over 40 sessions, each of the panels and workshops represent one of our Conference Tracks, including Programming, Development, Film Education, Marketing, and Operations. We also partner with the Film Festival Alliance to bring you workshops and panels tailored to those in the Festival Industry and the Alliance for Action for panels specifically addressing issues of equity and inclusion.


With your day filled with how-tos and advice, sit back in the evenings (and brunch) for inspiring, challenging, and passionate speakers from several leaders and champions in the Art House community.


Looking to meet a film distributor? Or a new ticketing vendor? Or maybe you are looking for a glass of wine after that hard day’s work of back-to-back panels and workshops… Our parties and networking events have you covered.


It wouldn’t be an Art House gathering without film screenings. We host several screenings, including a classic film, an upcoming release, and a Sundance Film Festival title.

Conference Tracks


Programmed by the Alliance for Action working group. These sessions address contemporary topics and strategies related to activism, social justice, and equity.


Sessions for advancement and fundraising professionals on topics including grant writing, corporate giving, donor cultivation, and membership.


Media literacy and life-long learning are crucial to art houses’ positive social impact. This track addresses curriculum, youth and adult learning, and community collaborations and partnerships.


Programmed by Film Festival Alliance this track addresses the contemporary film festival landscape.


Learn how to attract and sustain audience and stakeholders. This track addresses strategies for connecting with constituents including branding, publicity, outreach,  and digital media.


Learn how to make your organization vibrant and sustainable. Our operations sessions explore how to create a long-lasting, mission driven, and well-run organization. Topics include customer service, human resources, environmental sustainability, and concessions.


The beating heart of film exhibition. Discuss programming strategies, discover new (and old) cinematic gems, connect with distributors, and learn methods for developing thoughtful film series.

2020 Conference Goals

I. Accountability and Responsibility
As an international alliance of cinemas and film festivals, we recognize our role as curators of the public imagination and work to sustain the art house as a thinking space and sanctuary for documentation and representation of the human experience. We acknowledge our power as exhibitors and commit to leaning beyond conventional models towards a more equitable framework in operations, programming, leadership, and representation.

II. Politics of Aesthetics
There has been a recent tendency to split film appreciation and interpretation into aesthetic OR political camps. It’s important to emphasize that all art is political. Every visual, narrative, and technological choice is political. Coming together to watch and discuss films is political, and the choices of who guides those discussions and how are also political. It’s important to move beyond calls for representation and towards aesthetic analysis of every choice (even, or especially, the choices to be “anti-political” or to replicate dominant and usual forms without interrogation).

 III. Place & Proximity
What role do our physical locations play in our institutional identities? How are our decisions, both on and off the screen, influenced and informed by the public? How may we better recognize our economic, social, and cultural impact? As place-based organizations, we have a tremendous responsibility to the people who entrust us with their stories and spaces. How may we ensure that a plurality of perspectives inform our community-based work, moving beyond transactional relationships towards equitable partnerships?

IV. Sustainability
There is an urgent need to make sure our environments are sustainable: ecologically, financially, and culturally.  How are we dealing with changing marketplaces and new ways of promotion and communication? What small and big daily choices are we making to create less waste and damage? Our lived, shared cultural experiences more sustainable than individual cultural consumption? If our organization wants to widen its cultural reach, how does our own workplace reflect that desired outcome? Can we change that workplace by hiring new people and forming new partnerships? If so, are those relationships and new hires sustainable?

 V. Radical Imagination
Change requires imagination. As film professionals we are in a privileged position to be daily inspired by the art of the cinema: past, present and future. In honor of this chosen field, we commit to pursuing creative decision making.