The Film Festival Academy was founded in April 2012 by Tomas Prasek and Yoram Allon with the objective to become an international community network platform for film festival professionals that would welcome members from the wider film community of filmmakers, distributors, film critics, students and academics, and provide a credible and ethical space for knowledge exchange, vocational training, and actual collaboration.
The project was established to create specially curated industry events at and with film festivals and other film organisations, organised in parallel with many online services and activities, offering diverse festival-related content, in order to explore the nature and role of film festivals, in historical and contemporary context, and to identify the ways film festival management and organisation can be improved – combining theory and practice for the benefit of all.
The FFA was created in response to the fact that what has traditionally been called 'the film festival circuit' (suggesting some kind of parallel track or thread running through or alongside or around the film industry itself) is actually a complex and dynamic fully-fledged industry sector, and yet unlike other recognisable industry sectors, it lacks any central body or organising principles that can serve to assist individuals and organisations in drawing the map of this terrain and being useful as a platform upon which to chart a path through this complex field.
By 2013, there were about 5,000 events that called themselves film festivals, both big and small, some 80% less ten years old. This inevitaly meant that a great many number of people responsible for film festival management and organisation were relatively new to their position, and so could benefit from considered assistance, in a genuinely neutral and collaborative environment.
The FFA was also the reaction to the fact that various attempts to address these facts (whether small, one-off events happening at minor festivals, or generic conference-type affairs that have questionable credibility) were unable to fully address the complexity of the film festival industry sector. The FFA founders therefore felt that space existed that it could fill, thereby establishing a credible, viable, durable, ethical organisation, capable of meeting its members actual needs.