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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New ideas for film festivals...

I went to a panel discussion - all great guests and speakers - called how to get the best out of a film festival. A good direct topic and, of course, this is what most of us need to know.

Being a kind of a cheeky guy my question was a controversial one and a direct one. "Why do we still need them?" It used to be a great way of getting your expensive 35mm print seen by a lot of people in one go. But now with fast downloads and DVDs in the post - why still do it? The original reason has gone. Here are their answers...

One: They do a lot of marketing for you. So you get free help in getting your film in front of people.
Two: The full festival circuit can act as a low budget unofficial chain. You get screening fees from some fests. This may be the ONLY theatre money a lot of films get. But it may be enough to raise the visibility of the film to secure a DVD release.
Three: It builds buzz. Its the ultimate DVD extra as the director introduces the film LIVE! The goodwill secured in this way ensures the audience talk about it to their friends.
Four: In person. People remember people they meet. So make sure you meet people. One guy said that finding a great film maker is almost as important as finding a great film. An example being SuperSizeMe. The power of Morgan Spurlock as a person is really helping his film. So meeting a postive and passionate film maker counts. The quote I will always remember is, "If you are sellable then it will raise the value of the movie". I've never heard that put as simply before.

Other festival advice includes...

  • Pick a festival strategy. Big festivals might not serve your interests. Smaller or specialist fests may be a better option.
  • Use the festival press office. Get them to help you. They can promote your film if you give them the tools to do it.
  • Top promo tool - a postcard. I was surprised to hear this, but there you go. More on this later as I picked up some examples.

Over and out.

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