Reel connections: Networking events for filmmakers to shmooze at
Whether you’re an emerging, first-time, or student filmmaker, it can be a lonely life sweating over a script or shooting schedule if you don’t have a support network of fellow film fiends to lean on. Thankfully, there are a lot of great events out there geared towards uniting filmmakers and offering opportunities for up & coming talent to mingle with experienced (and powerful) industry professionals.
Sound good? Of course it does! Here are ten meetup groups, film festivals, and workshops offering the sort of networking opportunities perfect for hooking you up with the people you wanna be meeting.
Cucalorus Film Festival
November 7 – 11
Wilmington, North Carolina
This non-competitive festival is renowned for its quirky, tight-knit community and playful approach to film programming (in 2016, applicants were asked to provide an outlandish self-portrait with their film submission.) Cucalorus also comes with the added benefits of offering themed filmmaker residencies sure to help you meet fellow film industry professionals.
Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival
August 7 – 12
Providence, Rhode Island
The perfect film festival for local, amateur, or student filmmakers still looking for a step up into the film industry, RIIFF offers immersive courses and educational programs. On top of an extraordinary variety of filmmaker events, the festival also matches local filmmakers and students with international filmmaker mentors, providing a direct networking link between emerging and experienced talent.
New Orleans Film Festival
October 17 – 25
New Orleans, Louisiana
Like RIIFF, NOFF also manages a mentorship program, except this one befits the festival’s new commitment to diversity, pairing emerging filmmakers of color with veteran professionals. In addition to this, the festival also facilitates a number of pitching and networking opportunities, connecting moviemakers with reps from studios like CAA, Roadside Attractions, and IFC.
Austin Film Meet
Offering the opportunity for local filmmakers to network and collaborate via an assortment of parties & workshops, the Austin Film Meet is often called “an AA for indie filmmaking junkies.” Providing specialized listings for Texas film jobs as well as an Open-Mic Industry Mixer where participants have 60 seconds to introduce themselves with a micro-pitch, the Austin Film Meet is a great way to meet and work within a bustling and active indie film community.
Upstate Independent Filmmakers Network
Albany, New York City
You’ll need a membership to access this upstate New York networking group but with it you can attend monthly meetings, industry seminars, film discussions, and learn more about the craft of filmmaking.
Dedicated to providing resources, support, and networking opportunities to filmmakers with an “outside-the-box” approach to their careers, Chicago filmmakers provides an essential convergence space for all industry professionals. As well as film screenings and classes, the group also offers bi-monthly support in the form of filmmaker meetups where actors, writers, directors, and producers can pitch ideas and socialize.
Florida Film Network
Tampa Bay, Florida
With a professional network uniting four thousand local filmmakers, this organization connects producers & directors with other film industry professionals via classes, job listings, and monthly events.
This massive Los Angeles-based organization hosts an array of screenings and film events each year including the annual Los Angeles Film Festival and Spirit Awards. Though all film enthusiasts are fit to apply for a membership, the vast opportunities offered by Film Independent’s networking events are specifically devised for the benefit of directors, writers, and producers.
NYFA 1-Week Filmmaking Workshop
A single week intensive event where students are taught filmmaking essentials like writing, directing, camera work, shooting, editing, and post-production, this workshop is based at various international locations. With each student developing their movie themselves at every stage of production, the workshop offers crucial networking opportunities for first time or emerging filmmakers.
Cinematography Workshop: The Professional Indie Set
Offering a mock film / TV shoot on a limited independent budget, this six-hour intensive workshop focuses on the art of organization and collaboration in understanding the demands of an actual professional production. As well helping to teach some key skills involved in indie filmmaking, the workshop also promotes teamwork and collusion, making it a prime networking opportunity for anyone looking for fellow filmmakers to lean on and work with for future projects.