What do you need to know about the ​film festival?

Film festival is the most familiar thing to every film insider, and almost every month there are several film festivals opening around the world. In addition to the star-studded awards, various film festivals often carry various functions such as film exchange, market trading, and excellent film screening. So, for filmmakers, especially who are rising in this industry, how can they find information that is valuable to them in such many film festivals? How to find possible opportunities on the international stage? In this blog, I have sorted out some information about the film festival.

Before discussing the specific process of the festival, let’s take a look at the history of the festival. Unlike the current core claims of the festival, the original film festival was largely due to political needs.

In 1932, the world’s first film festival, the Venice Film Festival, was established. At that time, Italy faced the dilemma of the decline of feature films, and established the Venice Film Festival to ensure its status as a major producer in the world film market. Although the official name of promoting the development of Italian film, it quickly became the means by which Benito Mussolini incited personal worship and became the stage for Fascism to promote his political ideas. In 1939, the Anglo-American-French alliance decided to set up a film festival to fight against the Venice Film Festival under fascist control. Based on the dual consideration of business and tourism resources, Cannes became the birthplace of this film festival.

It was not until the 1970s that the world situation stabilized. The film festival, which was originally a political arena, began to change, focusing more on film culture and art and the film market economy. In various countries, the film festival of the original official background was slowly transformed into a model sponsored by public or private organizations and operated as a non-profit organization.

After the 1980s, the film festival developed rapidly around the world and eventually evolved into a diversified platform. Audiences, directors, publishers, journalists, and scholars all blended on this stage and became an important part of the organic system of the film economy.

For filmmakers and publishers, participating in the festival is an important way for the film to go outside. Once a film enters the film festival system, it is followed by a news conference with a sense of communication, the building of influence through the awards, and the opportunity to find buyers directly in the trading market of the festival. Therefore, attending a film festival is not only for sightseeing and exposure, but more importantly, other economic effects hidden behind the festival.

First of all, before one participates in any film festival, a background investigation must be checked. It generally includes two aspects: clear entry requirements and jury’s preference. Once deciding which film festival to attend, the next step is to submit the video. At this time, pay attention to the deadline, as well as the entry fee and the premiere issue.

The film festival usually consists of a series of film screenings, workshops and awards ceremonies. What a filmmaker needs to do is not just as simple as attending the screening according to the festival host. A few important things require special effort to them. The first thing I think is to interact with the audience. The general film festival will do a 15-30 minutes Q&A after the screening of the participating films, sharing the process of filming. Using the Q&A to share with the audience the content that the main creation wants to express, and the various exchanges with the audience after the end of the movie will affect the word-of-mouth of the film, so a benign audience communication is very necessary. The other thing is to know buyers, especially for independent producers and small regional distribution companies. The film festival is the best opportunity to know buyers. The purchase and sale of movie content around the world is not an easy task for them. Therefore, the film festival will be a quality venue that expands the possibilities.





Iordanova, D. and Rhyne, R. (2009). The festival circuit. St. Andrews, Scotland: St Andrews Film Studies.

Watson, S. (2018). How Film Festivals Work. [online] HowStuffWorks. Available at: https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/film-festival.htm [Accessed 15 Sep. 2018].

Wong, C. (2011). Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.


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