Too Many Film Festivals? A Problem In The Future?

When looking at Film festivals today, we have a wide variety of film festivals that people can go through. When just looking at the number of upcoming film festivals that are present here in Melbourne, We have Film Festivals such as the Czech and Slovak Film Festival to more niche festivals such as a film festival dedicated for people who are interested in watching Marvel movies.

Thus the question I would like to raise for everyone is simple. Is there currently too many film festivals and if so, what kind of problems can we expect when multiple film festivals run at the same time in a single location or city.

One of the main issues that having multiple film festivals running at the same time can cause is that certain films that a certain film festival may want to use might be taken by another film festival and as a result, cannot be shown.

This happened to the Korean Film Festival as they were just after the Melbourne International Film Festival and as a result, made it complicated when it came to creating their film schedule.

β€œA few of the Korean films that we wanted were shown at MIFF and as a result we cannot show them because it’s too recent and kinda pointless for the audience to see again,” Festival Director Joel Park explained as while the Korean Film Festival tries to present the most well known and current films, MIFF tends to get the hottest Korean films because of how big MIFF is.

Another issue and one that I would like to ask is that if we have multiple film festivals running at the same time, can these film festivals run at the same time together? When you look at events such as Cannes and the Sundance Film Festivals, they are not only big spectacles that draw the eyes, they also attract a lot of attention from sponsors and people who wish to show their movies there.

However one of the issues as a result of running these gigantic Film festivals is that they have diminished the impact of smaller film festivals and may raise expectations that all film festivals must be as big as Cannes or Sundance to be considered successful.

The reality of Film Festivals is that not all film festivals will become as big like Cannes and a majority of film festivals are rather small scale and niche and as a result, are difficult to be as big in the first place.

At the end of the day, while having more film festivals may allow more and more people to become interested in film festivals in general, there’s a danger that an oversaturation of film festivals may lead to people becoming disinterested as a result.

And this is the question I would like to leave for everyone in this blog. Do you believe that there is such a thing as too many film festival and explain why you either agree or disagree with this notion?


Small But Holding On, Korean Film Festival In Australia Review

The Korean Film Festival is an annual event held all throughout Australia where various films from Korea are shown in various locations in Australia such as Sydney and Melbourne. This year the Korean Film Festival took place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and had 22 films available for the general public to view ranging from big productions to indie films and covers various genres such as drama and action.

This lines up with the goal that the Korean Film Festival sets every year which is, β€œto present a cinematic experience for people of all tastes, ages and cultural backgrounds.” However the Korean Film Festival is one of the smaller festivals, taking place after the Melbourne International Film Festival.

This is reflected by the size of the Film festival itself as with only a small booth inside the ACMI building itself, you would have not known that it was on at that moment other than by hearing it from word of mouth or by viewing it on their website.

Despite the size, the film selection as well as the cinemas that the Korean film festival chose to preview them in are high quality. The ACMI cinemas have comfortable seats and the screen was far enough for a comfortable viewing process.

Something unique I had noticed when the film I chose to watch was over was how they decided to handle gathering information. Instead of hosting a Q and A session right after the movie, everyone was free to leave the cinema and at the booth, surveys were handed for people to judge on their experience.

I like this system because it allows people to respond to the festival in a private manner. While a Q and A session allows people to directly talk with movie directors and the festival directors themselves, there are people who are reluctant to give their own opinion or even ask questions of their own.

By allowing people to write a survey, people who are reluctant to give their opinions about the movie or the film festival can do so in a more private manner, allowing people to express their feelings freely without feeling pressured to do so.

However because of the size of the event, There isn’t much to be done at the Korean Film festival. Since the Korean Film festival only takes place at ACMI building, there isn’t much to do after the film is over but view the other attractions that are present in the ACMI building that do not have anything to do with the film festival.

However at the end of the day, The Korean Film Festival is a good experience, especially for me since this was my very first film festival and I didn’t feel as intimidated as I would have if I had decided to go to a bigger event like the Melbourne International Film Festival and at the end of the day was able to enjoy myself and the wide selection of Korean films present there.


Censorship and Film Festivals

We often hear about movies that are considered either too extreme or have topics that are controversial for the country that they are being made in that they cannot be shown in the country that they are made in, So often Film makers would send out these films to film festivals all around the world with the hopes of getting their work known to the public.

But with film festivals becoming more and more funded by governments, just how much of an impact can censorship have on a film festival? Today we shall examine 2 different cases of censorship within film festivals and see what were the responses that were given as a result.

The first one is the Busan International Film Festival and a movie called The Diving Bell. When the movie was shown, the South Korean Government heavily opposed the release of this film in BIFF, resulting in them cutting their funding of the event from 1.7 million to $963,000.

In retaliation, 9 independent South Korean film organisations formed a coalition and boycotted the event until changes were made that returned creative freedom to BIFF and loosened censorship in the event.

The second event happened at the Istanbul Film festival and when it removed Bakur, a movie about the camps of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, from it’s schedule just hours before it was able to premier. According to official reports, the film had failed to meet the requirements needed to be screened in Istanbul.

However film makers accused the Turkish Ministry of unlawful censorship and as a result, over 100 film makers published an open letter to the Turkish Ministry accusing them of Oppression and Censorship while 23 Turkish Film makers withdrew their films in response, resulting in the closing ceremony of the Istanbul Film festival being cancelled.

From this example, there are two things that come into mind when we look at to how censorship can affect a film festivals. The first and most important part of a film festival is funding. Since more and more film festivals are becoming state funded, the pressure to not only release films that suit the interests of the state while allowing films that express creative freedom has made it difficult for film festivals to remain in the middle.

The second issue is how it can compromise the film maker’s vision. Should they produce works that would be allowed into a film festival but don’t touch on important issues? Or should they just release films that are controversial in nature but they are passionate about and risk not being able to show it to any film festivals due to the controversy that surrounds them?

These are important questions that we must ask right now for the future of film festivals. Will we see film festivals created in the future that show these controversial works or will we see film festivals become censorship boards, censoring films themselves in order to maintain the funding they have from either the government or outside sponsorships?



Online Film Festivals, The Future Moving Forward?

In today’s online world, where we now have services such as online subscriptions to watch our favorite Tv shows, it is inevitable that film festivals have entered the digital age where people don’t have to go to Cannes and instead could just watch film festivals from the safety and comfort of their couch.

The question we must ask is simple, Are we still at a film festival when you can just watch one from the comfort of your home?

There is an appeal to having film festivals enter an online platform. According to an article by The Monthly Film Festival, Online film festivals are the great equalizer because anybody from poor amateurs to rich professionals are able to join these events and get their content out for the world to see.

However one of the concepts of a film festival is that it’s an event, a social event where a group of people gather to watch a series of films developed by people who are passionate of the craft that you cannot get from the big screen and then talk about them with a group of similar thinking individuals..

This idea of an event can be compared to the idea of the Public Sphere that German Sociologist Jurgen Habermas proposed. This is why I believe that online film festivals are going to become an essential part of the film festival with the majority of the world having internet these days.

The reason why I believe this to be the case is because through streaming services such as Twitch and Youtube, Online film festivals can not only showcase movies to a greater group of people, it also allows people the convenience of being able to watch from any place they choose.

In today’s day and age where it seems that people have less time, having an online film festival not only allows people to join in at whatever time is convenient to them, a greater amount of people can watch a movie at the same time without increasing costs to do so.

The biggest advantage that an online film festival brings however is that it allows people to watch it from anywhere in the world so long as they have an internet connection. An example of this would be a film in Cannes being watched online by a group of friends in Australia.

This not only allows people from all over the world to join together to watch a film, it also increases the attention a film may receive because instead of being watched in a screen with about 70 to 100 people watching, they have over a 1000 people watch their film at once, spreading awareness and attention to the film in the process.

However Online film festivals are not perfect and have their own share of problems such as how are the filmmakers going to make profits from showing their movies online, Online film festivals also present a realm of possibilities as to where the future of film festivals may head towards.