My Understanding of Film Festivals is Changing…

In the past, all about the film festival to me was more like a fashion show or entertainment carnival, with key elements such as the red carpet, celebrities, paparazzi, flashlight and some trophies, which I believe there are thousands of people with the same feeling with me. The reason why we have the narrow understanding of film festival, is there are always so much more articles, posts or video on digital media focusing on who wears a gorgeous dress or who ‘pick’ a new boyfriend rather than their movies. However, after taking some lectures and reading a couple of academic articles, I’m trying to turn on the other side of me, the more professional side of me to in-depth explore the definition of film festivals, especially as a successful media event or PR event who can boost attention and discussion all over the world in a very short time.

There are two aspects that the general most misunderstand about the film festivals: components and inner value.

First of all, those key elements of one film festival such as red carpets, paparazzi, open-air screens seem to be messy and separated, but actually follow one clear curatorial concept under one specific category and execute step by step from a grand opening night, filmmaker appearances, in-queue discussions and toward a climax – awards ceremonies as a perfect end.

What’s more important is the value of the film festival, which is not for entertainment but is highly relevant for culture, society and sometimes even being as a political tool. However, the status quo is that the more well-known the film festival is, the more topics disperse: gossip more than movies.  In my opinion, today’s film festival is trying to be ‘edutainment’, namely educational as well as entertained as it would be a more efficient way to maximize exposure in this attention-competitive digital era. Taken Sundance Festival as a typical example, they involved March Women content in their daily recap video, which did fit their vision: We believe that a story driven by an individual, authentic voice can awaken new ideas that have the power to delight and entertain, push creative boundaries, spark new levels of empathy and understanding, and even lead to social change. It’s a great category but a little bit serious for the non-professional, so they built the anticipation with tension and suspense in their festival trailer, updated daily recap videos, and leveraged social media to promote themselves. They try to use an ‘entertained’ hook to encourage more people to join them and start to pay attention to the relatively serious issue such as March Women.

With continuously deepening the understanding of film festival, the steps, structure and key points about how to organize a festival film become more and more clear. I just can’t help but look forward to hands-on implementing our own short-film festival with members in our group. It must be awesome! Do pleases expectation!

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