The Importance of Film Festivals

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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, 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!

Make a Splash this Summer with these 4 Documentary Storytelling Tips

Documentary films can help propel a cause, business, or nonprofit organization, and their success is proven by the genre’s growing online popularity. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, movie watchers are becoming more intrigued with this type of filmmaking and spend increasing hours online watching films that follow this style. With video content becoming the primary medium from which consumers gain information, consider these 5 documentary storytelling ideas and tips to help you launch your organization’s story.

  1. Pick the right story and stick with it.


Where documentary films often struggle the most is with the overall story idea. Too often, documentary films try to communicate too much information about an organization or cause, instead of focusing on a single story that captures the unique nature of the brand. If you want your film to successfully communicate your brand’s purpose or function, find the story that both interests the target audience and captures your brand’s identity.

One mistake filmmakers often make is choosing to portray the “Day in the Life” of a person, group, or organization, without finding an actual story to tell along the way. “Day in the Life” style films can give a good insight into the heart of an organization, but if the film doesn’t tell a story or portray that day in an interesting way, viewers will quickly become uninterested.

  1. Once you have the idea, define it.

A story is only effective if it’s well organized and defined. Once you find the story you believe is worth telling about your organization, sit down with your team and/or the filmmakers and hammer out the details. What is the story’s log line? This short description of your story should outline the who, what, and why of your story: who is doing the action, what are they doing, and why are they doing it? Once you clearly define these pieces of information, you’ll be one step closer to shooting a documentary video that clearly tells an important story of your organization.

  1. Use the camera to help tell the story.

Once you and your team decide the details of the story, it’s time to choose how you want it to be told. Whether it’s through interviews, sequences, visuals, graphics, narration, music, or a combination, choosing the right elements can help correctly convey your story to your audience. We recommend sitting down with the filmmakers and working together to decide which elements fit best at certain points of the story. Maybe

  1. Do your research.

Before filming begins, make sure everyone in the cast, crew, and anyone behind the scenes is on the same page. Make sure you have guaranteed permits to film in your chosen locations and that all of your cast and crew members are updated on the shooting schedule. Once you have everything in place, you can begin doing research for the film by pre-interviewing your sources, capturing B-roll footage in relevant locations, and gathering information about your story from sources like news articles, TV reports, and photographs, to name a few. This extra information will help you shape your story and give it life.

These four tips should help you and your team prepare for your upcoming documentary film shoot. At Windward Productions, we’re dedicated to telling organization’s stories in unique and compelling ways, and we want to help you do the same. For more information on our documentary filmmaking services, click here. And to contact us for pricing, filmmaking details, or more information, give us a call today!


Launch Your Spring Transactions With These Real Estate Video Tips

As luxury real estate agents and brokers, one of the most important things you can do for your future listings is invest in the power of real estate video. Statistic after statistic proves the effectiveness of real estate videos in a buyer’s home search. From getting the video produced to sharing the final product with potential buyers, take a look at these 7 tips to help you launch your spring transactions by using real estate videos.

Tip #1: A picture slideshow and a real estate video are not one and the same.

A “moving slideshow” of pictures truly does not have the same effect as a complex video, filled with moving shots and compelling imagery. A picture slideshow can’t portray the interior of a home properly, but an effective real estate video will show the exact layout of a room, it’s true size, and how it connects to the other rooms of the house. If you want potential buyers to grasp what it would be like to live in the home, invest in a proper real estate video and give up those picture slideshows for good.

Tip #2: Focus on the features

Does the house you’re selling have newly upgraded, stainless-steel appliances? Or maybe a stunning, freestanding tub in the master bathroom? Instead of telling the viewer what makes this house unique, show them. Make sure you and the videography team are on the same page about which features you’d like to emphasize. The videographers will then make it a priority to capture stunning shots of those features and work them into the final film. Focusing on certain features gives your video a leg-up to competitors who may share the same generic shots of each house they’re listing.

Tip #3: Spring cleaning counts for vacant homes, too

Nothing looks worse on camera than a messy, cluttered home. This should go without saying, but before filming the video, make sure the home looks as good as it would for an open house (maybe even better). This means no stray belongings, minimal decorations, and absolutely no photos of the current or past homeowners. The furniture should be dusted, the beds made, toilet seats down, and the backyard should be well taken care of. Taking the time to make these changes could drastically impact the number of potential buyers you receive on a listing.

Tip #4: Emphasize both the inside AND the outside

With luxury real estate, odds are, the home is just as incredible on the inside as it is on the outside. While listings videos for median-priced homes often focus on the inside, so much of what makes a home luxurious is the surrounding community. The video should spend almost equal amounts of time showing off the interior of the house, as well as the neighborhood. Never forget that location is key when it comes to marketing luxury real estate properties!

Tip #5: Once the video is ready, share, share, share!

Putting it on your website is not enough to get it out to the world. Share the real estate video on your personal and business Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn pages. You paid to have the video created, and it can’t hurt to share it as much as you can. If your agency has company profiles, make sure the video gets shared with them as well. This will also help your social media profiles look more professional and credible. It’s a win/win!

Tip #6: Spend money & promote the video

Sharing the video with your followers is good, but you’ll miss out on thousands of potential home buyers if you don’t spend a little extra cash. Utilize Facebook and Instagram’s advertising tools to promote the real estate video directly to these consumers. These ad platforms offer the option to promote the posts to users based on location, desired price range, amenities, and more. If your home is located nearby a school and is listed at a moderate price range, you can use these factors to target young families or first time home buyers nearby. Don’t let the high-quality real estate video go to waste – make sure it gets the views it deserves!

Tip #7: Timing is essential

Sharing on your social media platforms is important, but the times you share the videos is equally so. Make sure to promote the listing video the day and night before an open house, as well as the morning of. You’re likely to catch the attention of some last-minute shoppers who decide to add the open house to their schedule. Keep in mind that for these posts, you’ll want to be sharing a quick highlight video made by your videographer so you can entice the viewer and leave them wanting more, ultimately convincing them to visit the open house.

Not only can real estate listing videos create buzz about an open listing, it can exponentially increase the interest in the listing and make you and your team appear more credible. From properly preparing the home beforehand to sending the listing out on social media, these real estate video tips will help grow your business and add credibility to your team’s online presence. Don’t want your listing video to look amateurish? Check out our previous listing videos here and contact us for more information!

The Best Scenes from this Year’s Top Oscar Contenders

Will you be tuning in to the Academy Awards broadcast this Sunday? With the awards show coming up, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the most critically-acclaimed and highly-nominated films from 2017. From an independent foreign film to a sociopolitical horror mystery, we analyzed the top films from this past year and discussed what we think were the best scenes in each film.

SPOILER ALERT: The following reviews contain some spoilers for the films: The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, Get Out, Darkest Hour, and Call Me By Your Name.

The Shape of Water

As one of the most distinctive films of the year, Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy drama film “The Shape of Water”, plays on the filmmaker’s fantastical filmmaking style. The film highlights the love story between a lonely, mute janitor and an amphibious creature that is being held captive in a secret, 1960s research facility.

This film’s top scene occurs as the heroine of the film, Elisa, dreams up a dance sequence between her and the creature. Toro uses this scene to pay homage to the “Old Hollywood” style of elaborate dance numbers, and this becomes apparent through the black-and-white style and Busby Berkeley-esque musical number. In her dreams, Elisa is finally provided with a robust singing voice and Toro paints the metaphor that movies give her the ability to express what she otherwise cannot. While certainly different than the other Oscar contenders, “The Shape of Water” is the newest del Toro fantasy to grace the big screen.


Set in WWII, “Dunkirk” brings together young soldiers from Belgium, Great Britain, and France as they must fight for their lives and escape the opposing German army. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this film is nominated for an incredible 8 Academy Awards, including Best Feature, Best Achievement in Directing, and Best Achievement in Cinematography.

While it’s difficult to pick a singular ‘scene’ from Nolan’s “Dunkirk” that stood out among the rest of the powerful moments and skillfully-captured shots, there is one scene that occurs within the last 15 minutes of the movie that we wanted to highlight. After Tom Hardy’s character, Farrier, spends half an hour flying through the air on the lookout for German planes, his own plane runs out of gas and he drifts over the beaches of Dunkirk. Farrier looks down at the horrors of war, and for one silent moment, he takes in the scene that brings a new understanding to the chaos of war. This peaceful moment allows both the audience and the character to break from the non-stop action of the film and it’s one of Nolan’s most striking moments in this critically-acclaimed biopic.

Lady Bird

Nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and 3 other top honors, “Lady Bird” is one of this year’s most talked about films. Add that to the fact that “Lady Bird” is director Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, and it becomes infinitely more impressive. The film is packed with universal themes that almost all can relate to — the themes of first love, heartbreak, and the innate complexities of mother-daughter relationships. The latter is one of the most important aspects of the film, as proven by the beginning and ending scenes. In the opening scene, Lady Bird bickers with her mother, Marianne, about the possibility of her attending an out-of-state school. While the scene ends in a hilarious, gasp-inducing way, the scene we want to highlight for this film occurs in the middle of the film.

Lady Bird and Marianne shop for a nice Thanksgiving Dinner dress at their local thrift shop, and from the start, they’re bickering incessantly. Marianne stops to say hi to a friend, and her cold demeanor quickly transitions into one that is overly warm and inviting, only to become immediately cold again once she turns back to talk to Lady Bird. Gerwig perfectly encapsulates a typical mother-daughter relationship with Lady Bird and Marianne arguing one minute to fawning over the perfect dress the next. We love this scene for its honest depiction of familial relationships, and while there are countless great scenes in the film, this is one of our favorites.

Get Out

Even though it was released almost a year ago, “Get Out” is nominated for four Academy Awards, making it one of the most successful films of 2017 in the box office and in the awards show circuit. The film is not only a commentary on the racial climate in the U.S. but on the representation of African Americans in Hollywood, specifically within the horror genre. Artfully shot and beautifully written, director Jordan Peele used one of the film’s scenes, The Sunken Place, to create a striking metaphor for the minimization African Americans encounter daily in society.

We chose to highlight The Sunken Place as the film’s best scene for its gradual increase in tension and noteworthy storytelling. The scene begins with a wide shot of Daniel Kaluuya’s character Chris and his girlfriend’s mother, Missy, and as the tension heightens, the shots become tighter and tighter on the characters until only their faces remain in frame. A large part of what makes this scene so striking is Daniel Kaluuya’s ability to act almost solely with his eyes. His character says very little, but his eyes speak volumes as he struggles to fight against the hypnotic effect of Missy.

Darkest Hour

Directed by Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour” is a unique biopic that portrays Winston Churchill during the first month of his reign as Great Britain’s Prime Minister, as he tackles the decision between making a peace deal with Nazi Germany or fighting for the liberty of his country. While the focus of the film is on the outside events taking place at the beginning of WWII, Wright intertwines the external conflicts with the internal conflict Churchill faces daily.

This is especially portrayed in the scene which Churchill faces Great Britain and delivers his first of many propaganda speeches. The speech is meant to inspire hope in the people of Great Britain, but even Churchill knows that what he says is a lie, and he walks home alone that night, dispirited and ashamed. Wright distinctly dichotomizes the man Churchill portrays to the world and the one he becomes when he’s alone and humiliated, and this dichotomy makes for one of the most powerful scenes in the film.

Call Me By Your Name

As the only foreign film to have earned the top honor as a “Best Picture” nominee this year, “Call Me By Your Name” is not only a beautiful story about two LGBTQ men, it stands as one of this year’s best love stories. While the scene between the main character, Elio, and his father comes in as a close second for the best scene in the movie, we wanted to highlight the final scene in the film for Timothee Chalamet’s incredibly raw performance and Luca Guadagnino’s bold decision to end the film this way.

Guadagnino sets up the final scene with Elio receiving a long-awaited phone call from Oliver, who breaks the heart-wrenching news that he is engaged. The pain is immediately noticeable in Elio’s eyes, and Guadagnino follows Elio through the house as he processes this information. As Elio finally settles down in front of the fire, his emotions become too overwhelming to avoid, and the tears silently stream down his face, the fire as the only light illuminating his tear-stricken face. As the credits start to roll, Guadagnino does not shy away from the painful look in Elio’s eye, and this scene is undoubtedly both one of the most beautiful in the entire movie and one of the most difficult to watch.

While there are many other deserving nominees, these six films are among the top contenders for multiple Academy Awards. We know we’ll be tuning in Sunday to see who takes home the most Oscars, but until then, comment below which movie you think will take home the coveted “Best Motion Picture” award! And visit our blog to stay up-to-date with other filmmaking and business video tips and news!