Talking about film festivals, you may imagine gorgeous stars walking along the red carpet while the flash bulbs clicking continuously. Actors and actress, along with directors and producers, bring their new movies to premiere. Well, for those top international film festivals like Berlin, Cannes, and Venice, this is true. But there are more small film festivals which only concentrate on a specific topic, and some international film festivals which are not so international. For these two kinds of film festivals, they do not have grand parades along red carpets, and they need some not so new films to fill up their event lists.
Take Melbourne International Film Festival 2018 as an example, it has an opening night ceremony, but you can`t find those Hollywood superstars. It has totally 444 programs to hold, with more than one forth films are actually not 2018 film. Specifically, there are 124 films screened in MIFF 2018 produced in 2017. 12 films are produced in the first 17 years(2000-2016) of the 21st century. 4 films are produced in the 1990s, 10 in the 1980s, 11 in the 1970s, 3 in the 1960s and 5 before 1960. The oldest film in the MIFF 2018 is the Australian silent film Those Who Love(McDonagh, dir. 1926). Couples of old films have “Selling Fast” or “Standby” label on the MIFF`s booking website, which means they are very popular. The number of it, comparing with new films, is quite proportionable. Hence it may show that audiences do not mind to watch an old movie in a film festival.
Films produced in 2018 are definitely new films, but those produced in 2017 and 2016, are actually natural and common to appear in a one or two years later film festival. The Long Tail phenomenon is the reason. It is used to describe the long sales schedule of less popular goods. For those products not so popular, the salers lengthen its sales time so that they may collect more profit in a long term. For those unknown or unpopular films, their producers bring them to the film festivals as many as they can, so that the distribution opportunities of the films are increased. From the other side, the films get more opportunities to be showed in front of different niches and audiences, decreasing the films` possibility of being buried.
But if a film festival is used as a place to show the films` long tails, it also shows that the film festival is not very mainstream in the world. Given Australia is an isolated and quite small market, it is understandable to see these films from one or two years ago screened at the MIFF. From the optimistic side, with MIFF Premiere Fund`s support, there are 6 premiere films at this year`s MIFF.
MIFF Premiere Fund: http://miff.com.au/premierefund
Programs of MIFF: http://miff.com.au/program/films
By Jiaheng Zhang 28260252