Tribeca, Sundance, Cannes. Film festivals like these capture the attention of movie buffs and studio heads worldwide, but what importance do they have for audiences? For filmmakers themselves? How do film festivals affect the success of a film throughout its lifespan and what can they offer the cast and crew members who have a hand in creating the final product?
Film festivals are important for three major reasons:
- To provide an outlet for up-and-coming filmmakers to promote their work.
Without film festivals, notable directors like Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky, and Catherine Hardwicke may have never gotten the start in the industry that they did. For independent filmmakers, the true purpose of submitting work to film festivals is to get noticed by distribution companies and studio heads in the hopes of having their films released to a larger audience–– i.e., in theaters or on digital platforms.
- To draw in new audiences.
If there is one thing that is true about independent films, it’s that they often have very niche audiences. Moviegoers tend to gravitate toward widely-released Hollywood blockbusters, but film festivals make it possible for viewers, who might otherwise not be inclined to watch independent films, to see new and unique projects. Many festivals also allow viewers the opportunity to speak with filmmakers, producers, and distributors through panels.
Even more so than the mainstream film industry, the relationship between independent filmmakers and their audience is an important one. Filmmakers need an audience to continue sharing their stories, and audiences need filmmakers to continue creating stories that touch upon the human experience in an impactful way.
- To assist local economies by increasing tourism.
As the audiences increase, so do the local economies. With the exception of festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival and LA Film Festival, festivals often bring international audiences to lesser-known cities and town around the world. By bringing these special events, local tourism increases exponentially. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Sundance has brought in over $400 million in profits for the local economy over the last 5 years.
Often, filmmakers are faced with the difficult task of deciding which festivals to submit their projects to. According to StevenFollows.com, there are over 3,000 active film festivals around the globe. Note: active means they have taken place consistently over the past two years. Throughout the last 15 years, there have been nearly 10,000 festivals. And seeing as how these festivals can bring in hundreds of thousands in profit annually, we expect the number of active film festivals around the world to continue to grow, offering more opportunities for filmmakers to promote their work and film lovers to experience new, story-driven films.
This year, we had the chance to work on Unorganized Crime, a full-length film that follows the fictional character of Gino Corso as he tries to prove himself worthy of New York’s fifth largest crime syndicate. As associate producers, we watched this film come to life from the beginnings of pre-production, and now we get the opportunity to watch as it succeeds at dozens of film festivals, both nationally and globally.
While October is the busiest month of the year for festivals around the world, we’re excited to see how Unorganized Crime performs at upcoming festivals in the next 5+ months. With 18 awards won at top festivals so far, we’re crossing our fingers for the same fortune for the 40+ festivals that are coming up, including Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. For updates on Unorganized Crime, check out our Instagram to follow the film’s festival journey!