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Guillaume Calop • Associate manager and co-founder, FestiCiné

“FestiCiné deals with all aspects of the films, from entry form and selection committee management to programming and copy trafficking”

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- We found out more about the only management software conceived and designed by festival organisers, which is now used by more than 60 film festivals in Europe and abroad

Guillaume Calop • Associate manager and co-founder, FestiCiné

FestiCiné is the only management software conceived and designed by festival organisers, and it was initially brought to life and developed by Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin, Jérémy Zelnik and Guillaume Calop to organise the Les Arcs Film Festival. Almost five years later, the platform is now used by more than 60 film festivals in Europe and abroad, with more than 1,000 users, 50,000 accreditations created and 23,000 movies submitted. Guillaume Calop, FestiCiné’s associate manager and co-founder, offers a general overview of the platform, its advantages and how the pandemic has changed the landscape of industry events.

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Cineuropa: Could you offer us a general overview of FestiCiné?
Guillaume Calop:
FestiCiné is an online piece of software designed to take care of all aspects of festival and/or market organisation. First, it’s a collaborative tool with shared databases of contacts, to-do lists and so on. Then it deals with all aspects of the films, from entry form and selection committee management to programming and copy trafficking. It also helps to manage the accredited attendees by generating a front office where participants can register, buy accreditations and other facilities (hotel nights, meals and conferences), and check their personal schedule, transportation or accommodation. Furthermore, we added a volunteer management tool, the possibility to generate the festival’s website with a CMS that takes the data directly from your database (including films and programme), an accounting module and an advanced ticketing module. Last but not least, we offer a very sophisticated module for industry events with calls for projects and one-to-one meeting organisation, together with communication and meeting tools for all industry participants.

Have you noticed an increase in demand for your services during the current pandemic period?
Despite the pandemic being dramatic for many festivals, with a lot of cancellations and budget drops, we have had new clients who understood the need for such a tool, even in the long run. FestiCiné allows efficient teleworking and helps to easily reorganise a festival in digital or hybrid formats. We have partnered with the main actors in the field of digitisation – which are Zoom, for digital meetings and conferences, and Festival Scope/Shift72 – to move the catalogue of movies onto what is considered the best digital screening platform for film festivals. We also have an ongoing partnership with Cinando, and we are always open to new collaborations!

What are the main advantages of FestiCiné?
We all know the mess created by having various sheets and documents sent over email, and when different people are working on their own subject areas, the dispersion of energy is huge. FestiCiné has a different approach, as it was initially designed by and for the Les Arcs Film Festival. This is a major advantage over our competitors, as we have a profound knowledge of what a festival needs, and we have experienced how a festival team uses such a tool. That’s why we made it as simple and as user-friendly as possible, to be useable by every member of the team and not just a couple of specialised experts who needed to be trained up on it. We also made it responsive because when you travel or when you are running around everywhere during your event, you are not in front of a computer screen. And we listen carefully to our clients because every festival is different, so our developers are constantly improving the tool with new and adapted features.

What are your next steps in order to further improve the whole experience?
We have designed “Register 2.0”, a front-office tool for industry participants for the Les Arcs Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. We have added the option for participants to communicate and book meetings: FestiCiné calculates the free slots among the participants, taking into consideration their festival and personal schedules. These new features will be offered to all of our clients as well as new customers with a strong industry background. We are also optimising our new ticketing system. After the pandemic started, the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival was the first gathering in France to take place in 2020, at the end of August, and it needed specific adaptations in order to organise a 100%-online ticketing system, following the government regulations. It was a real success, and we are optimising the system for other festivals with various needs and regulations.

Do you think that digital platforms are “here to stay”, even after the era of the pandemic?
Our feeling is that as soon as we are allowed to return to “normal” cinema screenings, there will be no reason to continue digital screenings for the public, except maybe for certain programmes. But we have all come to realise a few things: it is possible for professionals to watch films or to meet remotely. It’s not as lively as being on site with your peers, but it can sometimes be efficient – especially in our field, where many people are concerned with their responsibility in terms of the impact of travelling on climate change. In any case, it will probably be useful to run hybrid events; each festival will decide on their own rules, and it will definitely be safer to move your event to a digital version at short notice if needed. Finally, regarding tools like FestiCiné, the ability to collaborate with your team remotely has been accelerated by the pandemic, but it’s a process that’s here to stay, and perhaps it will even develop further for many of us.

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