2017 No Escape Film Festival (NEFF) is a student-run horror film festival which was held in 9 – 11 August 2017 at Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre in the University of Melbourne. Through having a series of free events including film screenings, panel discussion, trivia and after party, the film festival was successfully held and received a high satisfaction feedback from more than 80% of the audience.
To prepare our short film festival, I had some talks with my friend, Xu, who were involved in this film festival. He has some experience of how to organize and run a film festival as a staff. I got some information about NEFF and how Xu gave and felt at the festival through our conversation.
The role of Xu in 2017 No Escape Film Festival (NEFF) is an Operation Producer. He directed operational activities in the film festival to keep it running efficiently. The main job what Xu need to do is working with his team members and cooperating with marketing and programming producers. He said his role “is responsible for sponsorship development, financial management, internal and external communication and on-the-ground operations of the film festival”. According to Xu, an essential component of an Operation Producer is to get funded through sponsorship. Another important part is to minimize the expense by getting goods from their partners. As the film festival gets no money from their faculty.
In different periods, the operational tasks of Xu were different. He started by consulting programming and marketing producers to make a $1,000 budget plan. Then Xu found two student organizations, Union House Arts Department (UNAP) and Graduate Student Association (GSA), to help them. UNAP offered some posters and promote the festival on its social media. GSA introduced its low-cost printing service to help them reduce spending. Xu and his members printed many flyers and posters. He got the operation team and the marketing team together to put up posters and distribute flyers. Xu and his members also promoted the festival’s sponsors properly. At the same time, the publicity on social media also attracted more potential audiences.
The final task of Xu was to keep the film festival going and ensured that audiences and staffs have a unique and enjoyable festival experience. He needed to make sure that every member of his team is performing their duties. He was also responsible for helping people get into the theater. One interesting thing Xu mentioned is that to highlight the ghostly atmosphere of the festival, Xu and his members did some vampire style cosplay.
As Xu said, 2017 No Escape Film Festival went well at last. The horror theme was clearly displayed at the festival. NEFF explored horror themes and issues(including gender and race) from different perspectives by showing some horror movies. The horror-themed decor outside the theater was also eye-catching. The marketing campaigns were creative and dynamic. Their marketing team promoted the festival online and offline successfully. The visual design of the festival poster was remarkable, and the free gift in the festival attracted many college students to join in NEFF.
I believe this experience will help me prepare for our own festival well.