A couple of weeks ago the Fantasia Film Festival wrapped up its 17th edition.

It's hard to believe, but 2013 marked Plank's 11th year producing the festival site. After completing an overhaul of the design, codebase and CMS in 2012, our work this year focused on some upgrades to the CMS, tweaking the homepage to serve a growing number of elements, and helping out the FF team throughout the festival to tackle the shifting priorities and last minute updates that are the norm for any festival.

“In order to pull off a festival on the scale of Fantasia with this degree of success you need a lot of people with a lot of talent who will work hard with good coordination.” — Pierre Corbeil, Festival President

One of our favourite moments each year is when we receive the main poster art for the festival (produced the last three years by Donald Caron). It's a pleasure to work with such great illustrations — from the beginning the poster art has always been outstanding, and faithful to the spirit of the festival (check out the posters from each year of the festival). As the festival grows in size and complexity we face new challenges each year. Here are this year's big three:

1. Unique Visitors

In 2011, unique visitors to the site seemed to have stabilized at about 75K (during the three weeks of the festival), but that number has been on the rise again, jumping 9% in 2012 and another 12% this year, to reach an all-time high of 91,725. We're looking forward to a shot at 100,000 uniques in 2014! Fantasia

2. A year-round presence

We've worked closely with Fantasia to provide a site which can seamlessly cover a dedicated film submission period, an active business development period, a marketing, excitement-building ramp up before the festival begins, and day-to-day screening times and visitor information during the festival itself.

It is very important that the Fantasia team be able to act quickly between these phases, retaining data and building on information from previous years.

The 2012 site became the foundation for 2013, which will now switch gears to support 2014 — all from the same code base, saving both time and stress levels.

3. An ever-improving editorial and content workflow

With a tight schedule and lots of last minute deadlines, it's crucial to make sure everyone is working on the same content with a clear understanding of the varied end goals. We collaborated with Fantasia to make sure the workflow – from film submissions, to editorial to publishing – has the checks and balances it needs. Providing a trusted system and making sure the team are aware of progress and timing are critical. With over 340 individual film entries added, edited and shuffled dozens of times in the lead up to the festival, we're delighted that 2013 proved to be one of the smoothest years yet.

What do we hope for in 2014?

Our wish list includes...
  • Opening up the API for movies and schedule
  • Looking into responsive traits for the layout
  • Faster and easier breaking news tools
  • More discovery methods for the genres and films which are hidden gems

What would you like to see?

Projects