Alex Fischer

978-0-9563730-8-3 (paperback)
978-1-908437-05-1 (hardback)

£17.99 (paperback), 157 pages
£45.00 (hardback), 157 pages

St Andrews Film Studies, January 2013


Sustainable Projections: Concepts in Film Festival Management

Ever seen a dead film festival? It’s not a pretty sight. The economic climate of the past five years has marked a major fear of extinction for film festivals worldwide. As budgets tighten, film festival organisers are faced with difficult managerial decisions. Whether it is rethinking niche programming or seeking new funding streams, the action taken to keep from falling behind today will have repercussions well into the future.

Sustainable Projections: Concepts in Film Festival Management digs deep into the precarious, intuitive business of film festival organisation. Alex Fischer pours this often-chaotic business into an adapted framework of the Open Systems Theory, so that it becomes possible to think about festivals in more pragmatic terms. This book is not intended to be a ‘how to’ guide or a DIY manual, but rather a resource that strives to present film festival operation in a manner that makes it clear, concise and understandable, and in a way that can contribute to an event’s sustainability.

The first study of its kind, Alex Fischer’s Sustainable Projections bases his new theory of film festival management on field-defining theories, interviews with practitioners as well as his own experiences. He realistically portrays the ups and downs, as well as the struggles and rewards of film festival management, as he suggests a flexible framework within which to work and research. In so doing, he opens up a fresh angle on economic, political and social aspects in film festivals, useful for all those involved in, attracted by and enjoying film festivals.


Alex Fischer



CHAPTER 1. Bound and Gagged: Social Connectivity and Film Festivals

CHAPTER 2. Open for Business: The System Behind Film Festival Operation

CHAPTER 3. The Science of Success: Eight Strategies that Increase Film Festival Attractiveness

CHAPTER 4. Case Study: The Gold Coast Film Fantastic

Conclusion: Done and Dusted




List of Festivals

Films Need Festivals, Festivals Need Films


“Alex Fisher’s book offers a highly accessible insight into the chaotic world of film festival management. His theoretically informed approach will enlighten even those familiar with this muddy business. This is not another ‘how to’ guide for festival organization, for as it rightfully argues festivals come in many shapes and sizes, and take place under diverging circumstances. Instead, the book presents clear concepts and frameworks that will be of great use to anyone wanting to understand the ways film festivals are operated. It is a must-read for those seeking a professional career on the fest circuit.”

Marijke de Valck (University of Amsterdam)

“This is an impressive volume, systematic and exhaustive, applying systems theory to the unwieldy object of the film festival phenomenon. Fischer frees the reader from the delusion that festivals are any kind of 'natural' phenomenon, as his research traces the organizational structures, status aspirations, and monetary underpinnings of these obviously constructed events."

B. Ruby Rich (University of California, Santa Cruz)

“Informed by his own successful endeavours in the precarious world of film festivals, Alex Fischer engages head on with the common misunderstandings, underestimations and simplistic notions that surround the concept of film festivals and with which festival directors are often beleaguered on all sides, including boards and sponsors. He untangles the complexities in an elegant, engaging and accessible way that will both endear him to successful festival organisers the world over and illuminate the world of film festival management to others.”

Anne Démy-Geroe (Director Brisbane International Film Festival, 1991 to 2010)