Is social media a good news for film festival?

With the wide use of social media, it is quite common of utilizing social media platforms in digital marketing campaigns. Not only organizers try to reach their audience through social media platforms but also the audience actively access information about the film festivals they interest in. According to Kottary (2018, p. 25), it was examined that social media platforms can be an economical and accessible way to reach a global audience. Base on the SWOT analysis and STP strategy, the use of social media in digital marketing campaign of film festivals can efficiently target their potential audience and increase their brand awareness.

For example, the 17th San Diego Latino Film Festival organized by Media Arts Centre San Diego cooperated with the PR agency Cook & Schmid to outreach places the spotlight on social media. With the help of the PR agency, there were about 2,000 attendance increased in San Diego Latino Film Festival that year (Kimberly, 2010, p. 19). Moreover, according to Kimberly (2010, p. 19), the tickets sales had increased to $120,000 from $10,000 which can be seen as a commercial success.

From this perspective, it seems that there is only good for film festivals using social media platforms to promote themselves. However, it is argued that the abuse of social media is now fragmenting and killing off serious voices in the mainstream media (Verini, 2013). According to Verini (2013), since 2009, there were up to 100 film critics have been laid off by the year of 2013. While film critics’ main job is to facilitate and sometimes improve discussions of films, the diminution of critics is obviously a damage. Moreover, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have gradually replaced the role of critic. The value of critics is harm by the use of social media among film reviews.

Nevertheless, social media has further distracted the focusing on film itself in film festivals. Everyone knows there are always something not that relates to film come to mind while talking about film festival such as red carpets, celebrity or fashion (Valck, 2016). From this perspective, social media has amplified this aspect of film festival. For instance, according to a social media campaign proposal of Cannes Film Festival conducted by ELLE China, there were 4 content categories it focused on: Copy the Look, Carpet Moment, Cannes Talk and See Cannes (see as picture 1).

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Picture 1

To sum up, it mainly focus on fashion, celebrity and tourism. Of course there is no wrong for a fashion magazine like ELLE focus on these themes. However, the algorithm of social media platforms pop up the most trending content while people searching Cannes Film Festival which means once the fashion content make a buzz it will be presented priorly rather than films.


There is always two sides of new emerging things. Today, the promotion of film festivals cannot separate from social media campaign. Especially for those small scale not for profit film festivals, it is the most economical and efficient way to reach their target audiences.



Kimberly Maul. “Film festival outreach places the spotlight on social media.”, PRweek (U.S. Edition), vol. 13, no. 5, May 2010, p. 19. EBSCOhost

Kottary, T. (2018). Film festivals and digital marketing campaigns using social media platforms (Order No. 10868696). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2058670914).

Verini, Bob. “The last critic who mattered? The Web, social media and newspaper cuts have all worked to fragment and kill off serious voices in the mainstream media.” Variety, 3 Sept. 2013, p. 53+. Academic OneFile,

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