Setting the foundations for successful strategy development  

Melbourne International Film Festival – celebrating 70 years and looking to the future.
Together for good – the client challenge

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) is Australia’s leading film festival and one of the world’s largest and oldest. The 18-day festival held in August each year is an unmissable event on the city’s cultural calendar, attracting 190,000 film-goers to its extensive program of contemporary world cinema, Australian films, documentaries, retrospectives, panel discussions and special events. 

When the global pandemic severely impacted the arts and cultural sector in 2020 and 2021, MIFF confidently adapted to delivering the festival’s program online by creating a digital streaming platform, MIFF Play. 

As MIFF prepared to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2022, the organisation recognised the need to identify how changes in the global film sector, and society more broadly, would impact its strategic direction. 

Bringing the right thinking and people to the table

Cube Group researched trends impacting film festivals around the world, including the pandemic’s acceleration of digital transformation, changes in film distribution models with the proliferation of online and on-demand platforms, and audience expectations around local representation and gender diversity. Our horizon scanning also identified potential opportunities and threats, allowing MIFF to mitigate risk and prepare for the future. 

We interviewed a range of MIFF’s stakeholders including film industry distributors, filmmakers and funders from government and philanthropy to invite their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing MIFF. Working with MIFF’s leadership team, Cube also surveyed staff and leaders on the festival’s performance and its future focus. 

Informed by our research and findings from our early stakeholder engagement, Cube led strategic conversations with MIFF’s leadership team to position them to develop MIFF Strategy 2028. 

“The session was well timed, prepared, well considered, and overall we think it is getting to the heart of what we need to know, decide and do.”
Board Chair
Melbourne International Film Festival
The positive change we delivered

The strategy models we shared with MIFF empowered them to then independently develop their direction and undertake more extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders to finalise their strategy, building on MIFF’s proud history and setting the organisation up for future success. 

This foundational support helped shape the organisation’s thinking around its brand and reputation and its relationships with audiences, the filmmaking industry and funders. 

We partnered with MIFF as part of our Good Things program, which brings together Cube’s skills and knowledge with purpose-led community organisations through a pro bono program.  Recognising the arts and cultural sector was one of the most pandemic -affected industries, Cube Group was thrilled to support a not-for-profit organisation who plays a key role ensuring Melbourne remains the cultural capital of Australia.  

Insights for inquisitive minds 
  • Arts organisations have wonderfully creative people and it’s important to give them the freedom and licence during the process to tell the strategic story in imaginative and vibrant ways – bringing their artistic flair to the strategy. 

  • External stakeholders – quite literally – have a stake in the organisation’s success. Involving them in strategic planning provides a platform to explore new and exciting ways of working together. 

[image credit: Melbourne International Film Festival]