Distribution : Can Film Festivals Stay Relevant? by Elliot Grove

Elliot Grove

Can Film Festivals Stay Relevant?

I've been running London's Raindance Film Festival since 1993. Many things have changed over teh decades: we no longer screen celluloid, we no longer use newspaper ads - instead we rely on DCP's and social media. What does this mean for a filmmaker? And how do festivals, like Raindance in particular, stay relevant? I wrote this up in an artivle here: http://www.raindance.org/how-film-festivals-struggle-to-stay-relevant/

How Film Festivals Struggle To Stay Relevant And Survive
How Film Festivals Struggle To Stay Relevant And Survive
Why is it that cinemas, theatres, art galleries, music venues and dance companies are closing in droves? Film festivals struggle all the time too. Arts organisations face an uphill battle for economic survival.
Kevin L Kevin

really dig your articles... as someone currently planning a first year fest (all balls; no-budget) the idea of splitting already small BO revenue seems counter intuitive. At $6 (prices at BIFF and JIFF here in ROK) a ticket in a 250 seater (I'd argue that's a big screening) your gross is 1500. Let's say you already split revenue with the venue, then to split revenue with the filmmaker leaves you both at 375... and most fests don't break even anyway. Staying relevant means solvency, and that means staying on budget. Perhaps flying a filmmaker over isn't in the cards, but how about skype? That's cheap. Audiences love a guest visit, but what about a twitter group chat over the next 24 hours where audiences can continue the conversation (and ask that question they were dying to ask but didn't get the mic?) The question for me is: is it in the fest's interest to screen the best films, no exceptions? Or to screen some films where the director already has a marketing plan or a strong social presence?

Elliot Grove

We always screen the best films. Our problem is two fold: firslyt - most filmmakers have absolutely no marketing plan in place, and secondly, filmmakers don't realise that a prime festival screening is really all about marketing, not about revenue. We cant afford to fly filmmakers in, but we do offer accommodation in the heart of London's West End. and we throw some pretty decent (and expensive) parties!

Stathis Athanasiou

Hi Elliot, thanks for the article and the insight. I look forward to the day I'll finally attend Raindance!

Kitty Chan

While releasing films on Youtube/vimeo (or other platforms) is easy and convenient, I guess many filmmakers still want to show their films at film festivals. It is not just about how many people get to watch your films, it is about finding someone who actually appreciate your art work,

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