For every film festival, Programming is the first thing to consider. In the process of programming a film festival, one thing needs to be focus on is festival funds which is the key to decide whether a film festival can be held smoothly.
Film festivals are aimed to show new films or some old films with specific meanings. In recent years, operation of film festivals is increasingly well studied. One part of operation is operators, including professional staffs and volunteers. In my last posted article, I mentioned volunteers play really important roles in film festivals. They made much contribution for the festival, but work condition of most of them are very worried. For example, they might suffer from overloaded work, poor working places and have little time for meal or rest. Not only volunteers, festival employees suffer similar condition. The situation is mostly due to fund shortage. Organisers had to struggle for funds, resulting in a film festival always operate on a bare minimum without any guarantee for festival workers.
Overall, to operate a successful film festival, enough funds are necessary. In general, there are two ways for film festival to get funds. One way is from local government or rely on a large extent like municipal authorities and corporates like some international film festivals. These festivals relatively have enough funds, but they lose parts of independence, meaning that their decisions are possible to be affected by these authorities. The others usually funded by dedicated groups who wanted to provide exhibition of a different kind of film for audiences, like local queer film festival (Loist, 2011). These festivals often start as purely voluntary efforts, eventually recognized and supported by public funders and private sponsors. Since they are not initiated by a city institution for a political purpose (to promote the city’s image, for example) nor do they have the substantial levels of support the first type film festivals’ enjoy, these festivals often develop different organizational structures to first type of film festivals.
According to Rhyne, Neoliberal turn in funding politics arranged the organisation of film festivals and funding strategies accordingly, by creating non-profit organizations dependent on public funding discourses and philanthropy. These film festivals mostly funded by dedicated groups can be seen as a part of the neoliberal turn in funding politics and arranged its organization and funding strategies accordingly (Loist, 2011). In some areas, particularly those which are considered as the traditional film festival home, there is a trend of Neoliberal turn. The funds for traditional public arts are becoming less and less, so it is necessary to expand ways of looking for funds to find more funding resources. It requires film festivals to have more professional team and more preparation for funds, increasing pressure on the film festival preparation.
Skadi, L 2011. “Precarious cultural work: about the organization of (queer) film festivals”, Published by Oxford Press on behalf of Screen, vol.52, no.2, pp268-269.