Guide to How to Promote a Film Festival

By Tiara Ogabang

The power of film festivals

Film festivals are an awesome way to bring film lovers together and learn about exciting pieces of new cinema.

Here are some reasons why film festivals are great

The power of film festivals
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Filmmakers get exposure. Filmmakers spend valuable time and energy documenting new and promising filmmaking with new technologies that will likely be seen by only a handful of people.

Film festivals are a great way to have an audience discover a film for the first time. It is important that you know the film in advance of a film festival so that you can prepare for your presentation and ensure that you get the greatest possible chance for a positive reception.

All film festivals are very individual and you can mix and match them to suit the needs and desires of your audience. As the film festival grows you will see the opportunities for you to put your own projects on the agenda to be accepted.

The filmmaker who puts the program together first gets that project in front of people who could really get involved.

On the other side, it can be hard to let something go if it has an audience of 200 people on a screen for an hour. You will also get feedback from people in attendance.

These people may tell you what they liked or didn't like, they may give you advice or they may even take your video and take it on the road to people to spread the word. Often times you get to meet the director and writer/artists that you are looking for, and they will often share their experiences and successes with you.

What does this mean?

You are growing your film career. The festival audience may not be the kind of audience that you can show for your short films, but it can be one that will definitely have a huge impact on your future.

You are meeting other filmmakers.

Film festivals often give filmmakers a venue where they can meet up with other filmmakers, do

Get some celebrities on board

Get some celebrities on board
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Getting celebrities involved with your film festival is a great way to generate interest.

If celebrities are involved with the festival, it will almost instantly get people's attention.

Choosing celebrities who are known in the field that you want to exhibit is a good idea to boost awareness.

Some festivals have celebrity announcers during the event who will explain how to submit your film for award consideration.

If you find your festival with a regular audience in mind, you may want to make your celebrity announcers interchangeable with them.

Rallying your fans and gaining new fans can be a great way to get attention.

Some film festivals have star power who appear on the festival screens at the start of the film festival so that people can see their faces.

What is a film festival?

A film festival is a gathering of people who love film to watch films and to meet other people who love film. In short, it's a big movie lover's dream come true.

But why is it awesome?

Obviously, everyone has their own reason why they love a film festival but I can't think of a better way to discover new films. One particular film festival I found to be particularly cool was IFFAM (International Film Festival of Marrakech), where they screened some of the best films from all over the world.

And I thought that was just at film festivals. That was until I saw London Film Festival, which has about 18 screenings and lasts for about two weeks. It's crazy how much work goes into screening one movie!

How to organize a film festival

Alright, so the first thing we would say is that you have to really know what you're doing to start putting on your own film festival. Also, it needs to have a clear objective, so what is your festival going to do? How is it going to improve the lives of those involved?

What are your goals with the project?

Think of what you want from your festival and how you're going to get it.

For instance, if you want a film festival that is free entry, so you can show some free films (make sure you have a budget for a light show, though), then you can do it without having a program. But a good festival needs to have some structure. A

good festival has a set agenda that everyone is aware of, and there are plenty of films to choose from.

It would also be great to get a strong message out there and get involved in different aspects of local life. For instance, you can host a fundraising event to help raise money for a local charity, or you can show films that promote a particular message that you want to get across.

You could also get involved in different activities in your local area and if possible, set up your own film school, where you take in filmmakers and help them develop their skills and tell their stories.

You can't do all of this by yourself; you need to get a group together and work together. It also doesn't hurt to make an awesome film trailer that gets people to flock to your festival.

Give away some free tickets

The case against free tickets:

Give away some free tickets
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Terry, one of Promo Panda's film account managers, insists that giving away free tickets isn't a good way to promote a new film festival. We've allowed her to state her case here:

This is often a terrible idea. Do not give away free tickets. Not only is it counter-productive, but it may also even be harmful to your business.

Of course, the weight of evidence will be in favor of starting with the assumption that a free ticket is a free ticket, but before you can make that call, the only thing that you can do is run a big enough sample size for us to make that call for you.

Diversity of opinion is something we value, and we've outlined arguments for and against giving away some tix to your festival.

Make a decision and see how it goes!