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Visit The Woodlands to partner with Inspire Film Festival

November 14, 2018

The board of directors of Visit The Woodlands on Wednesday agreed to a $25,000 advertising partnership with the Inspire Film Festival.

Officials with The Inspire Film Festival are currently in the planning stages for the festival’s third iteration and is set to come to several locations around the Township from Feb. 14-18. The festival was a result of founder Jane Minarovic’s interest in documentaries that inspire viewers and initiate conversations about deeper topics.

“We at Inspire thank you so much for considering us,” Minarovic said at the meeting.

The board voted 6-0 — board members Brian Boniface and Fred Domenick were absent — to approve the plan for a third year. The Inspire Film Festival, Minarovic said, not only provides the planning committee with more resources to then pass on to special guests and the community, but helps with branding and promotion of the township as a tourist attraction.

New this year at the festival are several elements and changes: another theater in the township event center will be utilized to accommodate the growing number of guests to the festival, there will be more panel discussions, a possible partnership with the Conroe Independent School District is being explored to bring students to screenings and a tent and adjoining food truck pad is slated, where guests can gather and decompress in between screenings.

“It’s a place where the community can come together and discuss what they’ve seen,” Minarovic said of the food truck area.

An especially big draw for The Woodlands, Minarovic said, will be the expected national and international attention brought by a screening of “The Interpreters,” a documentary on American soldiers and their assigned interpreters who helped them navigate the language and customs of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Interpreters are incredible, loyal people and they (serve) along our soldiers,” Minarovic said. “It’s amazing we don’t know more about this story.”

The Inspire Film Festival’s 2019 theme is “Game Changers,” and the partnership with Visit The Woodlands puts them that much closer to doing that, said Visit The Woodlands Chairman Bruce Rieser.

“I think its great,” Rieser said. “I’m looking forward to the festival and it just keeps getting bigger. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Conference sponsorship

The Visit The Woodlands board also approved a $15,000 incentive fund request from the Universities Space Research Association for their 50th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference scheduled for March 2019.

The conference has been held in The Woodlands for a few years, Director of Sales Josie Lewis said, and covers advances in astronomy, geology, geophysics and geochemistry.

The incentive would replace the $15,000 sponsorship that Visit The Woodlands has contributed in the past — the 2018 conference took up 2,000 hotel rooms and brought in about $400,000 in hotel revenue. The incentive, Lewis said, is likely to spur more spending in the township by attendees to the conference.

“It seems like a pretty good investment to me,” Rieser said.

Website and meeting updates

Visit The Woodlands is actively exploring a new format for its website, staff reported. An upgrade would include a new mobile user interface, a hotel booking engine and backend analytics for the staff to examine what is working and what is not.

The board approved the schedule for Visit The Woodlands’ monthly meetings in 2019 and toyed with the idea of moving the meetings to later in the afternoon than the standard 11:30 a.m. start times, but took no acton to that effect.

mrincon@chron.com

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