Indy’s international film festival is moving to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a partnership that might allow the small-but-growing event to record its first profit on ticket sales.
The Indianapolis International Film Festival, which is run by volunteers, has grown its audience to about 9,500 since its start in 2004.
President Dorothy Henckel said the change of venue addresses a major expense in the festival’s $80,000 operating budget.
“It definitely is a good thing for the festival because it does mitigate our risk of perhaps losing money on rental space, which has been a problem in the past,” she said.
In past years, the festival spent more than a quarter of its budget on renting space at Landmark Theaters’ Keystone Art Cinema.
This year, the main screen will be the IMA’s new 600-seat Tobias theater, or “the Toby.” The festival also will use the DeBoest lecture hall at IMA and a classroom with lounge-style seating for 20 to 40 people.
Henckel said Landmark had been “very generous,” but the IMA is charging even less rent. She would not disclose how much the festival is paying the museum.
The museum also gets a cut of ticket sales, which is an incentive to help market the event.
“We’re actually hoping for the first time to turn a profit on our ticket sales,” Henckel said. “Our No. 1 goal is to fill up our theaters throughout the festival.”
Ticket prices will remain at $10 per film. Henckel said the festival is also considering discounts for IMA members and affiliates of Indiana Black Expo.
As previously announced, the festival dates have moved from April to July 15-25.
The festival had to recruit committed volunteers after founder and director Brian Owens moved to Nashville last year for a paying job.
A new program director, Craig Mince, is heading up film selection and scheduling. Some IMA staff members who are involved with the museum’s own film series will join the festival jury.
Mince, whose day job is at the Indiana State Museum’s IMAX theater, said the selection process has begun, but declined to name titles chosen thus far.
Award-winners last year included “Mongol,” the epic feature about Ghengis Kahn, and the documentary “Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.”