Driftless Film Festival Receives $29k Tourism Grant

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is reporting that the Driftless Film Festival is the recipient of Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grants totaling $29,416 over two years. The festival, in its second year and taking place Nov. 1-4, showcases independent films in historic venues across Southwest Wisconsin. This year, the festival estimates an economic impact of $85,900 from traveler spending at area hotels, restaurants and stores.

“The Driftless Film Festival brings a dynamic mix of films, along with their directors, actors, and crew, to the beautiful hills and communities of Southwest Wisconsin,” said Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett in a press release. “But this festival goes further and does a fantastic job of incorporating and showcasing all of the cultural opportunities in each of the participating communities. The whole area is poised to see a positive economic impact from traveler spending.”

Participating theaters and communities include the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point, The Avalon Theater in Platteville, the Gard in Spring Green and The City Auditorium in Richland Center. The first year of the festival received over 120 submissions, 67 of which were screened. Goals for this year’s festival include attracting over 300 overnight guests, 1,000 day-trip visitors and selling a total of 3,000 film tickets.

The Driftless Film Festival is boosting marketing efforts with the help of the grant dollars, which will fund print and radio advertising and website development. A comprehensive public relations plan will complement advertising efforts. Festival organizers are targeting film fans within a three-hour drive of the area, including northern Illinois, Milwaukee, Madison, eastern Iowa, Minneapolis/St. Paul and southeast Minnesota. For more festival details, see www.driftlessfilmfestival.org

In fiscal 2012, the Department of Tourism funded 50 JEM projects, awarding a total of over $1.1 million dollars. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $29 million.

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project’s first-year advertising and marketing costs and provides support for second- and third-year projects, but with decreasing amounts for funding each year until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. For more traveler information, see www.travelwisconsin.com.

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