Film festival season ramps up next month. As always, there is a lot on the go, from attending film screenings to admiring VIP guests, so make sure you’re prepared! Put these upcoming pre-parties and festivals in your calendar:
Celebrate Whistler Film Festival: Countdown Benefit – Wed August 31st, 2016
Toronto International Film Festival – Thurs September 8th, 2016 to Sun September 18th, 2016
New York Film Festival – Fri September 30th, 2016 to Sun October 16th, 2016
San Diego Film Festival – Wed September 28th, 2016 to Sun October 2nd, 2016
Vancouver International Film Festival – Thurs September 29th, 2016 to Fri October 14th, 2016
Mill Valley Film Festival – Thurs October 6th, 2016 to Sun October 16th, 2016
Whistler Film Festival – Wed November 30th to Sun December 4th, 2016
Now the fun part begins. If you’re a filmmaker, it’s all about schmoozing with distributors. If you’re a publicist, it’s about studying the ins and outs of the festival schedule for your client. Do your research on the layout of the festival – looking into gaps where you can leverage media interviews as a publicist or any industry parties you can get into as a filmmaker. It’s always good to have a goal in mind, especially for two-week festivals like Vancouver International Film Festival.
Indie filmmakers on a shoestring budget – here’s your film festival checklist:
✓ Develop your film’s hook, synopsis and bios – Find the unique story angles that made you develop the film in the first place, craft a snappy synopsis and be ready with informative bios.
✓ Gather high resolution assets – collect a few film stills, create a film poster and be ready with a press kit. This includes the synopsis and bios you carefully prepared beforehand.
✓ Have a point person – Assign someone on your team to be a press contact, but make sure they are equipped with the right information to save time on back-and-forth communication.
✓ Position exclusivity wherever possible – When pitching media, it’s always good to provide an ‘exclusive’ so that media know they are the only ones with this information. That means, they are the ‘go-to’ news source before it starts spreading to other outlets. It’s a win-win situation.
✓ Consider your promotion strategy – So your film is screening at the festival, but you need to make sure certain eyes are on it. Most importantly, distributors and film reviewers. Make sure you have extra screening tickets on-hand to ensure you capture the right audience.
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