Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Do Festivals Still Matter? Solutions

Over at Variety Magazine's website, Christian Gaines, formerly of the American Film Institute, and currently with Withoutabox, contributed a two-part piece on festivals, asking whether they still matter, the standard indie film theatrical distribution model, and offers potential solutions.

Part one is titled "
Do Festivals Matter?", and part two is "Things Gotta Change," where he suggests what he calls, a "Festival Acquisition" model, stating, "In the new “Festival Acquisition” model a sales agent or producer might send a film on a six to ten month tour of sixty to eighty North American film festivals. Absent of commercial venues, if film festivals have become the ad hoc distribution infrastructure for these films - and the film in question might see 250 screenings - then a formal business proposition will emerge, one in which rights holders and film festivals each acknowledge the other’s challenges. In this proposition, several things could start to happen: smaller and mid-size festivals that have previously been shut out of the possibility of securing quality international fare are suddenly back in the game. Quality goes up and regional U.S. audiences have a shot at seeing new works by the masters. Rights holders request a minimum guarantee versus a % of ticket sales (already nothing new), and festivals must weigh up their screening slots and total number of seats and figure out if the proposition makes economic sense."

I think we can all agree that the web presents us (indie filmmakers) with the most promising prospects. The challenge now is finding some strategy that works for our individual projects. What works for one may not necessarily work for the other. Is content really still king... the right kind of marketing hook can work wonders for even the weakest product. Just ask this guy!

Read both sections here: 1.


  1. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Oh nooo! You tricked me into clicking through to the Jumba again!


    I suggest you get in touch with John.


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