Now that the ninth annual Windsor International Film Festival has wrapped up and is more than a week behind him, its new executive director has had the opportunity to reflect on how he’d like to improve the event for both its patrons and his students.
Vincent Georgie, a marketing professor in the Odette School of Business, was named as Peter Coady’s replacement at the helm of WIFF when it wrapped up November 10. Directing the event as it heads into its critical 10th anniversary year will provide a great way to build on the University of Windsor’s brand while offering new research and educational experiences for faculty and students, he says.
When Dr. Georgie joined the WIFF’s board in 2009, he was integral in developing and directing the festival's marketing and programming strategies, but was also responsible for integrating business students into its day-to-day operations as part of their course work.
“When I started, we had three students working on the festival,” he said. “Now there are about 70. The growth of the festival can be attributed, in large part, to student impact.”
Having a close connection between the university and the festival that provides such a rare experiential learning opportunity for students speaks to the calibre and the uniqueness of the University of Windsor, said Georgie.
“A lot of other schools just can’t offer this kind of experience for their students,” said Georgie, who noted that students from Kim Nelson and Min Bae’s classes also played active roles at the festival.
Georgie said the festival provides a wealth of research opportunities.
“When I joined the festival five years ago, there was no data,” he said. “I want to do a proper data collection, where we can examine consumption and patron behaviour. To start with, I’d like to look at the similarities and differences between pass holders and individual ticket holders.”
That research, Georgie said, along with other projects would be all about improving the patron experience, but would also provide a way for students to learn about marketing research methodology.
And while this was the festival’s most successful year, with 104 screenings of 65 films and more than 14,000 tickets sold, Georgie said there’s always room for improvement.
“I’d like to grow the audience even more,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve capped out. This was our biggest year ever, but every year has been the biggest ever.”