LOOKING PAST THE STIGMA
In the wake of Fall film festival season and the start of Charlotte Film Festival, showing the film FARE with our very own instructor Will Triplett, we thought it most appropriate to pay homage to the film fest industry by determining what these events are really about and deciding if they are they really important.
If you're like me, film festivals have held a stigma in your mind for showcasing low budget, hipster films that started out as film school projects that the creator deemed worthy to show to other audiences after receiving a higher-than-failing grade. Harsh, I know. Also utterly untrue, I know now after researching for this post. Being a part of a festival circuit is not only a high honor for the filmmaker, whose film must be carefully chosen amongst hundreds and sometimes thousands of other productions, but it also holds importance beyond merely showcasing the movie.
MORE THAN HIPSTERS WATCHING MOVIES
The Small Town Critic Film Productions published an article about the ten reasons why film festivals are important, and none of them had anything to do with being hip and avoiding mainstream media (despite my prior misconceptions). Read the full article here.
- Showcasing new talent- Not every film can be produced by Universal Studios. Film fests are the best way for up-and-coming filmmakers to get their names and work out there.
- Supporting local talent- Films made locally to the festival take precedence over non-local films, which encourages local filmmakers to submit their work.
- Networking- Festivals are basically conventions for movie and filmmaking fanatics. They meet up, connections are made, and collaborations are born.
- Promoting tourism- Filmmakers will usually travel anywhere to any festival they can get their movie into, for obvious reasons. These people bring with them their cast, crew, and fans.
- Catering toward the interests of locals- Films made locally are more relevant to the culture and interests of a local crowd. They're niche events with niche audiences.
- Benefitting the local theater- The venue is an important element of a film fest. If the theater performs well, its reputation goes through the roof... as does its revenue.
- Benefitting the local merchants- People attending the festival, especially those from out of town, spend money. Hooray for local economy!
- Inspiring community collaboration- Film fests are complex events that require planning and partnership across industries in the city, thus fostering a mutual sense of town pride.
- Bestowing awards and recognition- It's an honor just to be included in the festivals, but winning an award, no matter the size of the fest, helps to promote the movie and the event.
- Educating the attendees- Many festivals include workshops, classes, and programs on filmmaking, screenwriting, and even incorporating social issues into your films.
AN ARTFORM IN A DIFFERENT MEDIUM
While all of Small Town Critic's points are completely valid, Skyline Indie Film Fest's blogger takes the importance of film festivals far beyond exposure and local economy (read the related blog posts here and here). For filmmakers, who have worked tirelessly and passionately on their movies, simply having an audience gathered to see it and experience makes the entire process worth it to everyone involved.
"The passion and fortitude of the filmmaker is without refute and the time, energy, and effort they put into not only telling their story but tirelessly working to bring it to audiences on the festival circuit is greatly appreciated by festival directors, other filmmakers, and especially the audiences."
And for the audiences, film festivals are like experiencing the art of filmmaking in a whole new way, an artform in a new medium.
"A film festival takes work, but the outcome is not only beautiful, but groundbreaking for the audience."
For film festivals expose movies in their most raw forms, true film, as Skyline calls it. And that, above all things, is telling of just how important film festivals are.
Written by Katherine Rhoden / September 23, 2016