Sponsor’s Role in Film Festival

To organize a film festival, sponsor is an important supporting part which is responsible for the spend of the festival. They would decide where their money could use in the festival and could speak to what kinds of event they want even the selection of showing film (Getz, Andersson & Larson 2008). Film festival become commercial because of them and some festivals suffer negative judgement. However, in holding a film festival organization should balance the academic and the sponsors’ wants so that it would keep its value both in the audience and the professional area.


Last year, I coincidentally watched Fatal Countdown: Rest at The Houston International Film Festival. It is a Chinese fiction film tells a story about a mom want to save her son but fall into crisis of wormhole. The main actress of this film won the best actress in this film festival. However, her performance in the film is criticized among audience. Some people doubted that she won the awards is due to the Chinese sponsor of the festival. For me, it is hard to judge these comments but most sponsors of the festival came from China.


The Houston International Film Festival in 2017 seems to be the negative case for sponsors’ role in film festival. Despite the largest number of Chinese films showing than other years, Chinese sponsors’ name could be found in many media photos. In some audience’s opinion, this kind of cooperation over emphasize the sponsor let them hard to accept. They criticize the professional of the festival, in some cases, was not because the film but the organization of the festival.


In recent years, many film festivals like Festival de Cannes claim to the public that they prefer giving up their sponsor to protect their festival. It seems the festival and the sponsors in it are in two opposite sides with problems that cannot be solved. Sponsors would influence the image of the festival in audience’s mind. In fact, the Houston International Film Festival is featured for its high awards rate. It wants to encourage film workers through these awards. Many famous directors like Steven Allan Spielberg, George Lucas and Ang Lee all brought their films to the festival when they start their career.


As a film festival, taking sponsor as barrier is unreasonable for both sides. The sponsor is a part in organizing a film festival and should be arranged well by the program. The organizer needs to first make sure about the style and theme and make sponsors to support these basic ideas (Mossberg & Getz 2006). Once the conflict occurs, it might be challenge for organization to make a choice. Some questions that needed to be considered: whether it would bring negative views to the audience and media; whether it would setback the holding of festival; whether it would opposite to original purpose of the festival. In short, to keep the sponsors under control would be the best way to let the both sides get a win-win result.



Getz, D., Andersson, T., & Larson, M. 2008, “Festival stakeholder roles: Concepts and case studies”, Event Management, vol. 10, no. 2-3, pp. 103-122, doi: https://doi.org/10.3727/152599507780676689

Mossberg, L. & Getz, D. 2006, “Stakeholder influences on the ownership and management of festival brands”, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 308-326, doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15022250601003273

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