What function of film festivals makes great sense?

No matter what types recent film festivals exist as, they are broadly recognized as vital ‘distribution chains’ (Stigsdotter 2011). According to Stigsdotter (2011), there have been the variety of statements about film festivals. Some of the commentators describe the film festival as a precious opportunity for those young and unrecognized directors to be exposed in front of masses while most of the movie theatres are playing a quite limited range of films nowadays. Simultaneously, there is another group of professionals thinks of film festivals as a mirror to reflect what cultural elements are quite meaningful but ignored by the contemporary film industry.

Although plenty of statements are being discussed, film festivals still lack of clear governance (Stigsdotter 2011). So the point is what is exactly the most important function of film festivals. This question has already been raised and I am quite interested and confused about it as well. Because when our group starts to plan our own film festival, we actually find that we do not know what is the main point of our ongoing project that can engage audiences and what we really want them to get from our film festival. In my mind, it is a quite serious and considerable issue that needs to be thought over because we cannot carry out our project without a basic direction.

In terms of it, different groups proposed diversified conjectures (Stigsdotter 2011). Do film festivals aim to advertise new and minor cinema? Is there a growing trend for sponsoring a film festival to promote tourism locally? Actually, we cannot make sure which conjecture makes more sense, but one thing can convince us is that the scene of a cultural celebration of the film festival is gradually replaced by the red carpet, celebrities, and journalists. In other words, this ‘distribution chain’ is more like a business with a commercial purpose (Stigsdotter 2011). This seems to become the dominant logic of sponsoring a film festival nowadays.

So my issue is that our ongoing project is actually not of commercial sense. We cannot make a commercial film festival become a reality owing to little budget. And also, there are still quite a lot of film festivals insisting doing cultural things contemporarily. As a result, maybe only one thing we should concentrate is considering about how to promote those excellent works that are little-known in front of various groups because those unknown directors are also quite outstanding, critical and creative. They are merely caught in a pretty restricted fund and investment while they are desperate for an opportunity to be exposed. In this sense, the biggest significance of the existence of our film festival is to open an entry for both directors and viewers that achieves art sharing and appreciation.

But one thing I have to say is that the viewers of this kind of film festival are completely spontaneous that they actually have their personal preference and aspirations to attend. In other words, the non-profit film festival is relatively more passive because there is quite few strong inducements. So, maybe the essential significance of film festivals is just like an art exhibition and the proposal of functionalism is more like the modern derivative.

Reference list:

Stigsdotter, I 2011, ‘Film Festival Yearbook 1: the festival circuit’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 606-609. Available from: 10.1080/01439685.2011.625794. [22 August 2018].

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