SFF Director Tom Hall has written a guest column for SRQ Daily following up on the recent town hall. Here is his piece. To get SRQ Daily sent to your inbox each day, subscribe at SRQMag.com.
SFF Dialogue Just Beginning
The Sarasota Film Festival on Wednesday night just hosted our first ever Town Hall meeting at The Marie Selby Library. The meeting was intended to offer some information and history about the festival, but our primary purpose in organizing the event was to gather feedback and ideas from members of our community. As we continue to grow and move forward as a non-profit arts organization, the SFF is focused on making our event as accessible as possible; this Town Hall meeting was one step among many we are undertaking this year to make sure that all of our attendees, from our most committed patrons to the curious individual who may only be interested in a single film, are able to find the information they are looking for, have a smooth experience with our organization and feel a sense of pride and ownership over the SFF itself.
One of our main goals at the Town Hall was to convey some important financial and operational information to our attendees; that we, like so many organizations of all shapes and sizes, have made significant cuts and changes in the wake of the recent economic challenges that we have all experienced, but that we are now stronger than ever and are eager for more partners, more sponsors, more volunteers, more patrons. The SFF is in a great position to grow, but without our community, that growth would be impossible. From our point of view, that message came through and was well received by those attending the meeting.
More importantly, we learned a lot from our attendees. We learned that we need to do a better job explaining how the festival works, we need to create a greater awareness of our 13 free education programs for students and families and we need to think more about how we help local filmmakers integrate their needs into our festival. And while we did our best to satisfy the questions we received at the Town Hall, we’re more than aware that the dialogue doesn’t just end there; it is an integral part of how we need to operate moving forward. So, we’d like to encourage anyone with ideas or questions about the festival to contact us at any time, either by joining us on Facebook (facebook.com/MySFF), on Twitter (@MySFF) or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to fulfilling our commitment to an open, honest dialogue with the community and to putting on a great festival from April 13-22, 2012. Everyone is welcome at The Sarasota Film Festival. Please join us and help us spread the word that Sarasota is a great community for film and film lovers.