Miami Beach Film Society

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Art Film Theater Business Plan

Executive Summary

The Miami Beach Film Society (MBFS) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is expanding to finally have a permanent home, The Miami Beach Cinematheque, which will not only serve as the home but will also be the office/headquarters for MBFS' main annual event, THE FESTIVAL OF FILM FESTIVALS: The Miami Beach International Film Festival (MBIFF), which will debut in the second year of Cinematheque operation. This plan concentrates on the first year of operation, opening the Cinematheque with a strategic start-up "Founding Circle", and then operating it through creative programming, marketing, product and service sales, and fundraising.

We are seeking funding to add to our previous donations, for initial start-up expenses to be used for build-out, rent and related issues, equipment, and initial cash to handle the first few months of expenses. Our annual revenue will continue with a combination of memberships, admissions to programs, product and services sales, fundraising activities, and city, county, and state grants.

We have already formed several strategic alliances with various organizations and businesses that will help or have helped to make the Cinematheque and MBIFF a success. During the first year of the Cinematheque, our business goals are in five main categories:

  1. Opening the space successfully;
  2. Generating earned revenue from a combination of ticket sales, product and service sales, and additional fundraising;
  3. Keeping gross profit margins high; 
  4. Raising substantial percentages of revenue from grant sources to develop and maintain membership level;
  5. Including outreach as a main goal to include various audiences.

The Miami Beach Film Society's mission is to provide a cultural alternative to the commercial film experience, and to celebrate and promote the artistic elements of the medium and related ones, and to nurture and promote the art of filmmaking itself. Included in the mission will be special consideration for the cultural diversity of Miami Beach. The Cinematheque will be a base to utilize, enjoy, learn, and discover. It will also be a workplace of inclusion and respect, with a focus on the development of creativity and ideas.

MBFS has been programming special events for years, and the MBFS specialty has been success with collaboration with other cultural institutions, its creative programming utilizing the uniqueness of Miami Beach, and its outstanding sense of marketing.

The products and services provided by the Cinematheque will all complement the main mission of the organization, to provide a cultural alternative to the commercial film going experience. The standards of quality of the merchandise and services presented will be based on creativity and imagination, culminating in a unique experience for cinematheques. The Miami Beach Cinematheque will be different. Such creative programming as  "Food & Film: Movies To Dine For", "Yoga & Film", and "Cafe Con Cinema" combines the intriguing and sometimes provocative aspects of our diversified local culture, supplemented by high quality merchandise that serves as educational souvenirs and reference material.

Our core market for the Cinematheque is the type of person who appreciates the arts and cinema in particular, and is interested in an alternative to the typical commercial offerings in the film and arts experiences. This core market exists in all the categories of our main markets, as described in detail in the Market Segmentation section, and our target markets are based on the biggest percentages of the pie, but we would like to develop the smaller percentages of the pie also, so we are targeting certain markets to develop that support.

There is no organization in South Beach that currently provides the services and emphasis that MBFS will provide for Miami Beach. Recently The Alliance "arthouse" Cinema on Lincoln Road closed, so the Cinematheque is filling an important gap in alternative programming. Our hard core film audience will be pleased to know that programming will be aimed in their direction, but with a different package. Squeezing seven nights out of an audience that supports one or two on a regular basis is why we will have programming such as "Views From the Underground" and "Foreign Film Fridays" in our programming line-up for niche markets and outreach for underserved audiences, as well as "Jazz or Classical Filmbrunch" featuring live entertainment and a lighter fare appealing to a wider audience.

With our singular focus on film and related arts, we have a solid direction and we are positioned as the premiere source for cinema and photographic arts presentation and education in Miami Beach. The Cinematheque will be the main venue for film appreciation, enrichment, and enjoyment of all the related arts and activities tied to the art of film. Therefore a marketing focus will be on these benefits of visiting and participating in the Cinematheque. Through our diverse range of programs, a fresh experience for frequent visitors will provide an ongoing development in the appreciation, enjoyment, and education that the Cinematheque offers.

Key areas of our marketing strategy include membership development, development of the Founding Circle, The Cinematheque Newsletter and other direct mailings, telemarketing, on-site marketing of Cinematheque products and services, targeted advertisements, general listings,  the website, radio and Public Service Announcements (PSA), flyers, programs, and brochures, the database, and  press contacts.

MBFS has begun an extensive fundraising campaign to provide initial start-up costs for the Cinematheque. Each area of need will be strategically matched with a potential donor, starting with construction costs and ending with festival grants. The areas of fundraising include the Start-Up Donor Drive, grant development, fundraising events, hiring fundraising professionals, and sponsorship agreements, as well as research of other film festival operations.

The Miami Beach Cinematheque website will be an example of the creativity and style for the film society and the eventual film festival. The website will have strategic directional links on all pages to lead to sales, whether on-line or later on-site. The Miami Beach International Film Festival website will be separate,, and the two sites will mutually benefit by being linked at many strategic points.

Run for years by a Director and Board of Directors, the opening of the Cinematheque will expand the team to include an Operations Manager, and the Director will assume that position as he always has until the need arises to make it a paid position. As always, there will be volunteers in several capacities, and the volunteer Board will play a big part in organizing this area. They each will have a role in managing an area of volunteer duties. As the time comes closer to the Miami Beach International Film Festival (MBIFF) development, the team will be in place, ready for the bigger project, with potential managers in line for paid positions as they are needed. The Board of Trustees (Trustees), also volunteer, will be expanded and developed by the Director and Board to make available expert advise, donations of in-kind and products and services.

Founder and Director Dana Keith, Director of the Miami Beach Film Society since 1993 when he founded the non-profit organization, is uniquely qualified to run this project, which he has developed since incorporation. He has two bachelor's degrees, one in Cinema (emphasizing film history, aesthetics, and criticism), and one in Fine Arts (emphasizing graphic arts with  photography/photolithography), from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His film exhibition background includes management of the Arlington Center for the Performing Arts in Santa Barbara, and The Red Rock 11 Theatres, at the time the world's largest theatre complex. Researching for Cinematheques and Museums for ten years in Europe has influenced his interests and has been invaluable in developing the conceptual ideas of the film society and Cinematheque. His collection of souvenir programs from all over the world covering the entire history of cinema is considered by experts as one of the world's best, and will be a large aspect of the Cinematheque for marketing, exhibition, and education.

The Board of Directors has remained intact for years, serving in many capacities and helping to make MBFS a major part of the cultural structure of Miami Beach. Actress Barbara Pergament - Chairman, Lucille Acocella of Northwest Airlines - Secretary/Treasurer, George Neary, the Director of Cultural Tourism for The Greater Miami Visitors and Convention Bureau, Marybeth Sheehan with DeNiro Realty, Cristiane Roget of AP+Films International, and Seth Finkel, Esq. - Legal Consultant have all been long time volunteer supporters, and will now be even more instrumental in the expansion of the Society, helping to develop the Board of Trustees, and helping to guide the organization.

In line for important positions on the team include future Programmers/Production Directors Juan Carlos Zaldivar and Rhonda Mitrani. Director/producer Juan Carlos Zaldivar completed both his BFA and MFA in film studies at NYU Film School, served as a juror for the Sundance Film Festival short film category, and wrote/directed the Sundance trailers that year, How To Make A Bird, How To Make A Tree, and How To Make A River. He was elected a Sundance Film Institute Fellow that summer. Juan produces for the PBS show In The Life. He teaches at the Undergraduate Film Program at NYU, and is a member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.  

Rhonda L. Mitrani, Director/producer/editor, is graduate of the University of Michigan, BFA. She began her film career at Miramax Films in New York as Post Coordinator on such films as Marvin's Room, and assisted on Modulations which played at Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. As editor, she was principal on such films as Hit and Run, and edited for the Internet company Pseudo Programs and recently for the film The Suitor. She is a regular editor for ABC news. Cuba Mia is her first feature documentary.

Other team members include Technical Coordinator Aleksandar Stojanovic of CWS Productions, Grants Consultant Pola Reydburd, Special Events Producer Paulo Sadri with TMG Productions, International Film Festival Liaison Sandy Mandelberger of International Media Resources,  and North and South American Correspondent Jesse Rodriguiz based in Chicago. This international team forms the basis that will help make the Cinematheque and MBIFF a major success. The team is expected to grow as we develop.

The balance sheet and the various tables of this plan show managed but sufficient growth of net worth, and a sufficiently healthy financial position. The yearly and monthly estimates are included in several topic areas, and in the appendix.

With continued growth as allowed by this strong plan, MBFS will be in position to continue development for the Miami Beach International Film Festival, which will grow after the first year into a major international film festival, while the Cinematheque continues to thrive as a successful addition to Miami Beach culture.

1.1 Objectives

During the first year of the Cinematheque, our business goals are:

  1. To open the space on Espanola Way with a basic build-out, helped by the in-kind and monetary donations of appropriate partners, individuals and businesses. 
  2. To generate over $10,000 monthly in earned income by the end of the first year from a combination of ticket sales to various programming, memberships, retail sales in several departments, outreach, meeting space fees and related services, Internet and telephone services, and additional fundraising.
  3. To keep a strong gross profit margin of at least 60% from sales of products and services. 
  4. To receive at least $10,000 in the first year from newly developed funding sources such as grants that will come over time depending on deadlines and qualifications.
  5. To develop and maintain a strong membership base at different levels of donorship.
  6. To develop an outreach program that includes new markets and opens the doors for the ultimate programming goal: The Miami Beach International Film Festival, which will debut just months into the second year.

1.2 Mission

The Miami Beach Film Society's mission is to provide a cultural alternative to the commercial film experience, and to celebrate and promote the artistic elements of the medium, and to nurture and promote the art of filmmaking itself. The Cinematheque will be the home of MBFS, and will provide an historical and unique environment for the the Society to pursue its mission.

Included in the mission will be special consideration for the cultural diversity of Miami Beach and the world, and the Cinematheque will serve as a base for the promotion of the inclusion of international elements, with the ultimate display being The Miami Beach International Film Festival. The Cinematheque will become the base for film and arts appreciation for a wide spectrum of local cultural communities and visitors alike. It will a place to utilize, enjoy, learn, and discover. It will also be a workplace of inclusion and respect, with a main focus on the development of creativity and ideas.