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Film Festival Insights: 5 ways to ensure the success of your film festival

Event Tips >

Many elements must come together to make a film festival a success, from selecting the right films, to marketing to actual day-of-festival organization. Caroline Planque, a member of our outreach team, recently sat down with Ian Merkel, the director, film curator and fundraising manager of the Vancouver South African Film Festival. Ian shared his valuable insights into what organizers may do to ensure the success of their festivals. His excellent advice applies not only to film festivals, but could be used by event organizers of all types.

Here are Ian’s insights to film festival success:

Add Galas and complimentary events to your film festival.
Every festival needs to have events planned around the films. The films on their own are not enough. You need to think about doing galas, or bringing directors in, or doing Skype interviews.

Target each film to a different type of market.

Every film has its own type of audience. Yet the festival in itself has an audience you can target as well. Some of your films may be documentaries with causes. You can partner with those cause leaders to bring more attention to your festival.

Get sponsors for the galas to each film.

When you bring people in to sponsor, the word gets out because they’re telling their friends about it. You hit a larger audience when you partner with sponsors.

Film festivals need a lot of marketing, a lot of talk, a lot of promotion. You have to be in all types of media today. You have to be on twitter, you have to be on Facebook. You also need to work to get TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines talking about your festival.

Use themes to build interest in your films.

Can you look at your best films and build up a theme around them? Festivals are special, it’s not just like going to the theater. Also, it’s good to promote your film festival with other festivals and collaborate with them as community partners.

Want more help organizing and promoting your film festival? Give our Event Promotions team a call at 800-838-3006 (option 5) or email Totally free to you, our promotions team is standing by to hear your challenges and work to come up with smart, actionable marketing solutions.

About the Vancouver South African Film Festival:

The second edition of the festival will take place April 20-22, 2012 at the Denman Cinemas in Vancouver, Canada. All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Education without Borders to support its educational development work in South Africa. The screenings will focus on both documentaries and feature films that reflect the complex reality of the South African society, making the scope of the festival unique and unprecedented. Attend or learn more about the festival here:

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