Conference Programming

Each year the Art House Convergence, an association dedicated to advancing excellence and sustainability in art house cinema exhibition, hosts the largest annual gathering of art house cinema professionals.  The 2020 Annual Conference will take place January 19 – 23, 2020 in Midway, Utah at the Zermatt and Homestead Resorts. Each conference includes over 40+ educational sessions featuring conversations and presentations by leaders in cinema exhibition.

By providing educational resources and networking opportunities, we strive to increase the number of art house theaters operating globally and the quality of the impact they have on their communities.

Interested in hosting a conversation? Submit your ideas for a conference session, Art House Tales, or Trailer Wars by August 21, 2019.  Interested in attending a conversation? You can also submit ideas for sessions you would enjoy attending.

All applicants will be notified about the status of their session proposal by mid-September, 2019. Panelists, panel moderators, and workshop facilitators will be able to register at the Presenter Rate of $550. All other applicants are encouraged to register at the Early Bird Rate before the Early Bird window closes on October 11, 2019.

Each year, the Conference Co-Chairs identify goals and overarching themes to help shape conference programming. Please consult the 2020 conference goals below for inspiration in advance of submitting your proposal. Not all proposals are required to explore these themes.

2020 Conference Goals

Each year Co-Chairs for the Art House Convergence Annual Conference consider the tremendous challenges and opportunities facing the field of exhibition. In advance of the 2020 Conference, Co-Chairs Miriam Bale (Indie Memphis) and Michael Orange (MATATU Nomadic Cinema) have identified key topics that inspire an ambitious and innovative consideration of how we can serve our communities, challenge ourselves, and reach beyond our status quo to imagine new creative and collaborative possibilities for the theatrical experience.  

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.

What Are Sessions?

The conference features over 40 sessions, including panels, workshops, and networking groups, all of which provide opportunities to learn new skills, share best practices, and establish relationships with colleagues, guest speakers, and industry veterans. The sessions are organized into seven tracks focused on topics such as development, education, marketing, operations, and programming, along with topics developed by Film Festival Alliance and Alliance for Action. Some sessions will be interdisciplinary and co-hosted by multiple tracks.

Session Evaluation

All proposals are evaluated by a committee of staff, track heads, and co-chairs. Learn more about the team on our staff page.

Types of Sessions

Networking Sessions are interactive sessions that help attendees get to know each other.

Panels are sessions consisting of presentations by three to four speakers. Panels explore a specific topic and invite difference voices and experts from the Convergence network to share their experiences and practices. Panels are generally 75 minutes in length and include 50 mins of presentation by a speaker or team of speakers and 25 mins of Q&A. However, in some circumstances panel length will be adjusted in accordance with content.

There are two ways to submit a panel proposal:

  • Pre-Constituted – A fully formed panel that includes all of the speakers (no more than four including a moderator) that will participate. Pre-constituted panels submissions should include the names and organizations of each panelist.
  • Open Call – Have an idea for a panel, but not sure who present with? Submit your idea or innovative initiative and the planning team will work to partner your presentation with others to create a panel.

Roundtables are a conversation dedicated to a specific topic in which all attendees are invited to participate.

Workshops are interactive discussions led by one or two facilitators. They may include additional speakers but should emphasize potential participation by all session attendees. Some effective workshops might include the sharing of best practices, collaboratively working on a project, role-playing, demonstrating a technique, or another interactive activity. Workshops typically focus on professional development, address institutional issues, or facilitate brainstorming.

Other Have you seen or implemented another format? We want to hear it!

Submission Guidelines

Due Date for All Submissions: August 21, 2019

All applicants will be notified about the status of their session proposal by mid-September, 2019.Panelists, panel moderators, and workshop facilitators will be able to register at the Presenter Rate of $550, all other applicants are encouraged to register at the Early Bird Rate before the Early Bird window closes on October 11, 2019.

Art House Tales

What is Art House Tales? This session will present short talks about different art houses and film festivals. Each speaker will present 20 slides, for 20 seconds each, and will discuss their particular theater or festival. 20 slides x 20 secs = 6 min 40 sec each presentation. The best part of the Art House Convergence is getting to know other people, theaters and festivals they run, and what makes them tick. (You can access video recordings from previous years online)

Would you like to be part of Art House Tales at the 2020 Conference? Please fill out the following form to share your interest. We will be selecting 12 organizations — a mix of theaters and film festivals — to fill two panels. We will select organizations that represent a variety of different regions, organization sizes, and financial models (nonprofit v. for profit).

Submissions will be accepted until August 21, 2019 and we will notify those organizations who have been selected by mid-September, 2019. Participants need to be attending the 2020 Art House Convergence in Midway, Utah. Slideshow presentations will be due by Monday, Dec 16, 2019.

Trailer Wars

Hey Girl: The Romantic Adventures of Ryan T. Gosling from The Roxy Theater on Vimeo.

What is Trailer Wars? Trailer Wars is a battle-of-the-bands style competition, in which ten venues (art houses and film festivals) will screen their best in-house trailers. The audience will judge which is best. Winners of each round will move on with a new trailer until a champion is crowned. During the competition, the participants will be interviewed about the production, artistic, and marketing strategies of their trailers, as well as about their organizations in general. This session is both educational AND fun. Wow!

Do you have killer trailers? Think you can knock out the 2019 Champion — The Roxy Theater (Missoula, MT) — in the 2020 battle? Fill out the following form to be considered. (Limited slots are available. Organizations will be selected to provide a variety of content and venues.)

Submissions will be accepted until August 21, 2019 and we will notify those organizations who have been selected by mid-September. A presenter from your organization — preferably the one who made the trailers — needs to be attending the 2020 Art House Convergence in Midway, Utah.