• Focusing the Experience
  • Immersive Film Guide
  • Expanding the Message
  • Selling Tickets

Services Employed:

  • Brand Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Digital Advertising
  • Digital Platform
  • SEO
  • User Engagement
View Project

The Virginia Film Festival’s website is its primary ticketing portal during the month-long run-up to its annual event and ticket sales play a crucial role in the economic health of the organization. The site also serves as the face of the organization year-round, communicating its mission and programming values. Our goal was to create a site capable of functioning in two dimensions – one designed to streamline the film browsing and shopping experience and the other geared towards expressing the programmatic mission of a high-profile national nonprofit arts organization.

Tactical considerations aside, when VFF Executive Director Jody Kielbasa first came to us to discuss a new website, his first priority was to celebrate the medium his organization represents. He wanted to build a platform that let the films speak for themselves. It was easy enough to make a visually appealing site that allowed for a browsable film guide chock full of multimedia content. The project got more complicated, though, when we realized that the festival’s entire programming gets hammered out in a few weeks by a large team of volunteers, interns, and staff. The back end of the site needed to function as a media platform that could be managed by the leadership team but leveraged by a whole group of people with different skill sets on a tight deadline.

In the end we worked closely with the VFF team to develop a content strategy and a digital platform that suited its programmatic needs and executed on its mission-critical goals, smashing its previous records for online ticket sales and traffic.



Focusing the Experience

We designed the site to move users during the festival’s active marketing season along a single downstream pathway through the film guide and schedule to the ticketing platform, hiding extraneous elements from view but making them readily available through a pop out menu.

Immersive Film Guide

The lifeblood of the festival is its films but the nature of film festivals is that many of the titles have never been screened before. We created an immersive browsing experience that allowed users to discover new films and empowered festival organizers to group them in ways that provided context.

Expanding the Message

What makes the Virginia Film Festival unique is its focus on programming. Its schedule is chock-full of panels, moderated discussions, social events, and community-focused screenings. We wanted everyone who came to the site to understand that side of the organization, so we built a homepage narrative that exudes the personality of the organization.

Selling Tickets

The bottom line for the VFF is always ticket sales, which are a huge part of its annual revenue. We designed and developed a schedule and ticketing experience that allowed users to drill down on their priorities by time, genre, and location while never losing contact with the films themselves.