The Role of a Film Festival

The film festival plays an increasingly active and crucial role in the world film layout, becoming a collection of economic, cultural and artistic. As Marijke de Valck (2016) said, film festivals have become an essential part of global film culture. By studying them, we learn not only about festivals, but about film, film history, industry, and much more. There are numerous film festivals around the world today, and if one wants to achieve influence and attract attention, making sure the role of the film festival is very important.

While framing a film festival, it is inevitable to draw on points to formulate topical research questions for your own film festival, which need to be specific about which aspects will be included in the context of your project. For instance, are you going to focus on the festival’s impact on culture or festivals’ relation to the industry, or you can also simply explore festivals as events (Marijke de Valck, 2016). Basically, there’s no a fixed format for building a film festival. Every film festival can have its own role and self-positioning.

In my own opinion, the role and functions of film festivals can be multiple. At least, they can have their own characteristics and become a local cultural event. Every year, when the red carpet in Cannes was rolled up, the June Karlovy Vary Film Festival opened. Then, Locarno in August, Venice in early September, San Sebastian in mid-September, in February of the following year comes to Berlin, and Cannes in May… The film festival became a very important cultural event in Europe. Cannes seems to have established a model for the contemporary film festival: it has the highest profit in business – driven by the festival, the Cannes town of 70,000 people has become one of the richest cities in the world. The exhibition platform has become the largest and most important film festival in the world and is known as the “king of the film festival”.

One of the parameters that shape film festivals is its outreach, which should not only consider the way in which festivals differ in their appeal to different audiences all over the world, but also concern that target specific communities or demographic groups (Marijke de Valck, 2016). The Cannes Film Festival does not exist as a special European region but as a space for transnational exchanges. It does not even promise whether French local films can be won. Cannes is not a metaphor for all European film festivals, such as the Berlin Film Festival, it is dedicated to showcasing new German film talents and pioneering the “World Film Fund” for production or distribution support for filmmakers in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia, which combines the dual characteristics of international roles and regional roles. The “Crossing Europe” in Linz mainly encourages the work of young directors whose works cannot be on the stage of the A-level film festivals. There are also many small film festivals that focus exclusively on certain special types of films, such as Mons International Love Film Festival, One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, and so forth. Despite being in a global context, these festivals focus on regional identity so that individual voices can be heard.



De Valck, Marijke. ‘What is a film festival? How to study festivals and why you should’. Film Festivals: History, theory, method, practice. NY: Routledge, 2016


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