How to organize a film festival?

In 21stcentury,Film Festival is not only a leisure activity but also a social event. Film festival creates a supportive and non-threatening atmosphere for exchange and dialogue. As we all know, organizing a film festival is a complex and difficult process, which require a good teamwork. In this blog, I will simply summarize the step of film festival organization.

1.Themes and Accents of the Festival

The film festival is not arbitrary. It is necessary to define the subject and the subject matter of discussion before searching for suitable films. When people confirm the theme of the festival, the next thing you should do is name the film festival.

2. Selecting film

Selecting films that will be viewed by hundreds of people is a great responsibility, which is one of the most important steps in the film festival. The film chosen in the festival must be related to the themes and accents of the festival. Once the films have been selected, it is time to start the process of acquiring the copyright for presentation. It is extremely important to acquire the copyright from the relevant filmmakers, distributors, or producers. Presenting a film without obtaining a copyright from the author /distributor is unlawful and equal to theft!

 3. Reserved a place for the festival,

You will need to book a venue for the festival. This can cost a lot of money and will need to be booked long in advance. You set the date of a festival in advance and make sure that the days of your festival do not coincide with other similar cultural events taking place in this place.

4.The Screening Schedule and Accompanying Events

After selected the films and reserved a place for the festival, it is time to start work on the graphic of the presentations to announce the name, place and the time of the presentations. It is a good idea to open the festival with an opening ceremony. However, the film of the opening ceremony should be chosen carefully.

Sample structure of a small-scale festival based on small-scale film festivals

  • 3-day event in a local cinema
  • Screenings per day
  • Opening ceremony (Monday)
  • Closing ceremony (Wednesday)
  • The opening film has to be a hit: to attract the attention of the media, to attract viewers and arouse their interest
  • the main films are presented and followed by discussions with experts and the moderator

Every film festival differs from one another, form this sample structure, the discussions are worth to be learned. A good discussion can be conducted even with a large audience (100 and more persons). Discussions generate possibilities for discussing the theme beyond the limits of what was shown in the film. Discussions allow us to make parallels between the viewer’s visual impressions and his direct experience.


Ma, R 2018, ‘Asian documentary connections, scale-making, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF)’, Transnational Cinemas, 9, 2, pp. 164-180




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