In 2019 the Austin Jewish Film Festival was revamped, opening it up to the community like never before.
A new marketing and PR campaign paid off by enhancing the festival’s great programming with a sold-out opening night gala at The Long Center for the Performing Arts.
2019 saw a 288 percent increase in the 22–39 age demographic, an 8.7 percent increase in the ratio of non-Jewish:Jewish attendees, and a 33 percent increase in audience size per movie. Festival badge purchases for all movies and events grew by a staggering 800 percent!
All the great results confirmed what we thought from the beginning: People don’t want to wait another year to see our unique, high-quality movies.
So, in early 2020, we launched AJFF365, a year-round monthly film program with the support of Shalom Austin, as well as AJFF Connect partnerships and AJFF Sneak Peek events for several big studio releases.
We had big audiences in the first quarter of 2020, with exclusive screenings of movies such as Jojo Rabbit, A Hidden Life, and The Song of Names. And we’ve secured partnerships with major international studios, local festivals, and organizations to increase and diversify our subscriber programs!
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
And while other festivals may have canceled or scaled back, AJFF INCREASED programming—upping the number of AJFF365 monthly events. We exhibited movies virtually and held Zoom webinars with celebrities and award-winning movie directors, delivering more than 40 virtual programs over the last year. With the support of partners, we also have made many of these events FREE, and used the opportunity to raise funds for important causes.
And instead of “waiting to see“ what might happen in November regarding the annual Austin Jewish Film Festival, we heard our fans, listened to their uncertainties, and came up with a creative idea:
From November 7-13, 2020 AJFF celebrated its 18th year with a hybrid festival:
• Secure, socially distanced, drive-in events for opening and closing nights.
These were unique, fun programs where film was just one element of the overall entertainment.
• A five-day virtual online program with MORE films and live Q&As than ever before:
More screen time meant more eyeballs on your message—on ticketing, event pages, and pre-roll video media.