How do film festivals influence and cultivate viewers’ acceptance of films

The Melbourne International Film Festival is a “senior” one among international film festivals. It has been held for more than 60 years since it was founded in 1952. In August 2018, the MIFF brought a wonderful film tour to Melbourne citizens again. As can be seen from the citizens’ engagement in the MIFF, film festival has influenced and cultivated viewers’ diversified acceptance of films to some extent. More than 400 films and short videos were exhibited in the MIFF, covering a wide range of film types, such as documentaries, feature films, thrillers and test films. When I bought a ticket online, I found from MIFF Website that Melbourne citizens were highly involved in the film festival, because some films were sold out in just a few days right after the beginning of ticket sales. Some plays of the hot films needed to be purchased online in a fixed period. During those days of film playing, there was always a long queue outside the theater, and there were varied ages of film views, from students, the middle-aged and the elderly. The high popularity of the film festival can reflect the viewers’ wide acceptance of films and their deep affection for films. Chinese film director Xie Fei once said in an interview in 2013 that film festivals can not only serve as a cultural exchange or bring a venture capital market for films, but also cultivate local viewers’ acceptance of films with excellent films. In other words, due to the fast-paced lifestyle, more people tend to watch commercial films. However, film festivals usually cover a wide range of films and bring some genres of films that the viewers do not often see in theaters, such as art films and documentaries. These films can cultivate the viewers’ acceptance of special types of films, and can cultivate their film culture appreciation ability.  From the citizens’ engagement in the MIFF, it can be seen that Melbourne’s citizens have a high acceptance of different genres of films. In addition to the high popularity of the MIFF itself, it is more important that it cultivates the viewers’ film appreciation ability with good films. From the introduction of film arrangement, I found that the various films exhibited at the MIFF all have had some achievements in other film festivals. In particular, there is a large proportion among the exhibited films that were once nominated or awarded in international A-class film festivals, such as the Cannes International Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival. As can be seen, the MIFF pays special attention to the film selection. That’s why the high-quality films exhibited at this film festival has influenced the Melbourne viewers’ recognition and acceptance of art films.

The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) also discussed the topic on film festivals’ cultivation of the viewers’ acceptance for films. The spokesperson DR. Sun of the forum said that the film festival hopes to find Chinese viewers by exhibiting excellent domestic and foreign art films, and hopes that Chinese viewers will see more diversified films. Chinese films have reached 55.9 billion yuan(about 8.7 billion US dollars) in the box office in 2017. Based on the growth and type distribution of box office, Chinese film viewers has begun to differentiate, and some have become relatively “professional” film viewers. The term “profession” refers to that traditional commercial films cannot attract these people anymore, and that art films, documentaries, etc. have become the film types with fixed viewers. In 2017, three Chinese art films and documentaries had a box office of more than 100 million yuan. This is a new trend for the Chinese film industry. Chinese film festivals have made great efforts in cultivating viewers’ acceptance of a wide variety of film types: the SIFF gave out tickets to some universities and institutions in Shanghai a few years ago, and organized adolescent students to participate in film forums so as to cultivate young Chinese film viewers. The tickets for some films exhibited at the SIFF were in short supply by 2017, and according to incomplete statistics, the SIFF sold 353,000 tickets within 10 hours on the first day of the ticket sales in 2017. The SIFF has also won extreme popularity on social media. Chinese viewers’ acceptance and enthusiasm for film types have been improved through the film screening of film festivals. Therefore, film festivals can not only provide a platform for communication and deals, but also cultivate the viewers’ acceptance of different types of films, thus bringing opportunities for the development of less popular films.






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