Saturday, July 2, 2016

11 Reasons to Attend a Film Festival

Trying to convince yourself (or the boss) to pony up the dough for a film festival? Have you abandoned the registration process more times than you can count? You want to pull the trigger but all that time, money, and the potential inconveniences of traveling, is it really worth it? Short answer: Yes. But don’t just take our word for it; here are 11 reasons to attend a film festival. 

#1 - Tax Write Off
Worried about the cost of attending a film festival? If you’re going for business reasons, there’s a good chance you can write the whole adventure off including the price of airfare, hotel, and food. Contact a CPA to find out specifically which expenses may qualify and what documentation you’ll need to prove those expenses such as receipts and mileage records. 

#2 - Networking 
Whether you’re looking for your next gig or a distribution deal, there’s a lot of networking to be done at film festivals, so brush off your wings you social butterfly, you! 

Tip: If you aren’t exactly socially graceful, consider attending a few local happy hours or events to work on your icebreakers and elevator speech before the film festival. 

#3 - Exposure
Film festivals are a great place to encounter all sorts of new ideas, filmmaking styles, cultures, and techniques. Go in with an open mind and you never know what you may hear or see. Seriously, a chance encounter may drastically alter the way you think about films or make movies. So, make like a sponge and soak it all up! 

#4 - Learning 
All of that exposure (#3) pretty much guarantees you’ll learn a thing or two by attending film festivals. Take notes. Ask a lot of questions. 

Even if you’re an old hand at film festivals, you can still probably learn something. Each event is a little different and since the industry moves at near breakneck speeds, there’s always something new to discover. 

#5 - Inspiration
There’s no denying it, film festivals are richly creative environments. Immersing yourself in said environment can be downright inspiring. If you’ve been struggling with your own creative endeavors, a film festival may be just the way to get the creative juices flowing again. 

#6 - Feedback
Film festivals present a wonderful opportunity to get feedback on your professional endeavors. If you’re showing a film, you’ll get to see the audience’s reaction to it first hand. In addition, you can solicit more direct, specific feedback by asking the audience questions. This feedback is probably a bit more reliable than that of your family and friends! 

If you’re sitting on a panel, leading a workshop, or otherwise teaching you can get feedback on your performance just by watching the audience. Do they seem engaged? Are they asking questions and taking notes or are they playing Candy Crush on their cell phones? 

#7 - Win Awards
If you’re a filmmaker, film festivals can be a great way to enhance your film’s resume. Plus, what better feedback could you hope for on your film than winning an award, right? Plus, plus, who doesn’t like to win? 

#8 - Give Back 
Film festivals provide the opportunity to interact with your community of fellow filmmakers and industry pros. You can give back to and enhance this community by volunteering at the festival, participating in a panel, and otherwise sharing your knowledge. Trust us, it’ll feel great. 

#9 - Have fun
Okay, if you’re trying to get your boss to finance your film festival adventure, this reason may not fly but it’s still true. You’re going to have a blast. 

#10 - Watch Movies
This one is probably obvious, but at film festivals you’ll get to see movies. Some of the films will be projects that no one else has seen. Some of them won’t be shown anywhere else. So grab some popcorn, set your cell to silent, and enjoy! 

#11 - Swag
Film festival vendors offer some pretty sweet goodies. Sure, this alone isn’t reason enough to attend but it’s the icing on the cake in our opinion!

There you have it, 11 reasons to commit to attending a film festival. So stop abandoning that cart and complete the registration process already! 

With the number of great film festivals to choose from growing every year, there’s no need to wait. Check out our ultimate film festival calendar, now updated through July!


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