Using Film Festival Events to Fundraise and Build Community

Learn about the World Trails Film Festival’s unique program approach to organizing their advocacy film festival and how community screening events can benefit host organizations.

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Event Details

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March 02, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
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Webinar Outline

This presentation serves as an introduction to the World Trails Film Festival and looks behind the scenes to better understand advocacy festivals and how they serve their mission and benefit host communities.

There are many advocacy film festivals in the conservation and outdoor recreation space that feature films of epic adventures in nature, but many times the trails supporting these stories fade to the background. The World Trails Film Festival aims to help highlight the otherwise invisible thread weaving all these stories together and celebrate the many diverse reasons why trails matter. Additionally, the festival showcases many important related themes including trails in cities, mental health, trail-building, the environment, accessibility, and more.

The first part of this webinar covers the general functions of advocacy film festivals like the World Trails Film Festival, including why they exist, how they work with filmmakers to screen films, and what audience experiences are available over the course of a year.

Next, the presentation covers the motivations for hosts of festival events. From large multi-day events to single-night fundraising events, film screenings can be impactful events that bring together community members, business leaders, sponsors, and partnering organizations. Attendees will consider the cost-benefits for a range of events of various sizes.

The presentation is concluded by highlight important considerations for hosting film festival events including goal identification, venue selection, equipment needs, audience size, and marketing. Attendees will be able to leave the workshop with a framework to help facilitate drafting a film festival event action plan.

Join us for the North American Premiere of the World Trails Film Festival at the International Trails Summit (ITS) in Reno, Nevada in April 2023! ITS attendees are invited for free to the Tuesday night event on April 18 in the Celebrity Showroom at the Nugget Casino Resort. An additional filming is taking place on Thursday, April 20 that is open to the public but requires a ticket purchase. Benefits from the public showing benefit local nonprofit, Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain a general introduction into advocacy film festivals like the World Trails Film Festival and learn how festivals relate to filmmakers and audience communities.
  • Learn the potential benefits of hosting film festival events for small and large trail organizations.
  • Learn how to navigate the main considerations for hosting film festival events including venue, audience size, and marketing.

Webinar Resources

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    Webinar Partners


    Zak Klein, Project Director, Trails Film
    Cape Elizabeth, Maine

    Zak Klein serves as Project Director for Trails Film. Zak also gets to provide leadership to Maine Trails Coalition, Maine GearShare and as a program officer for the Quimby Family Foundation. Prior to serving in leadership for social impact organizations, Zak enjoyed 15 years in outdoor education and expeditionary learning, working as an instructor, trainer and director for Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School and Bay Area Wilderness Training. He resides in Cape Elizabeth, ME with two sons Benyo and Judah and his partner Hannah.


    Jay Simpson, Festival Director, Trails Film
    Brooklyn, New York

    Jay Simpson serves as the Festival Director at Trails Film. He is also a wilderness guide, media producer, educator, and trail advocate. Jay recently co-authored Walking & Wayfinding in the Westfjords of Iceland, a 4-part eco-cultural guide to the northwest region, after years of research and facilitating groups along the old walking and herding routes. He was also a producer for the Wolf OR-7 Expedition feature-length documentary, a 1,200-mile hike and bike adventure into modern day wolf country in the Pacific Northwest.


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Summit, as well as for other trail and outdoor recreation-related conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.



    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

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    577 views • posted 01/27/2023