Five reasons for attending film festivals

After a productive and fun Tampere Film Festival last week I wanted to share my tips for having a great film festival experience.

1.) Find inspiration

Watching international competitions is a convenient way of catching up with what is going on in the business. New ideas cannot be avoided during an intensive screening marathon. Checking out retrospectives and other curated screenings is also important: If you don’t know the history of your art you might end up ‘inventing’ something that has already been done 50 years ago.

2.) Compete and discuss

Of course, if you have a film in competition you have an extra reason to attend and be excited about the screenings. To dissect your competitor’s films as well as your own can be rewarding and instructive. But even if you don’t compete, the multitude of different movies will spark rewarding debates about cinema and beyond.

3.) Network

Film festivals are a great place to meet many of your contacts, acquaintances and friends at once. But you should also take the opportunity to meet new people. A good networking rule is to set the goal to make a new connection at every event you attend. People are usually very approachable at festivals, and the most commonly used icebreakers are:

  • “What do you do, are you a filmmaker?”
  • “Do you have a film in competition?”
  • “Is this your first time at [insert festival name]?”
  • “Have you seen any interesting films?”

4.) Do business

Film festivals are excellent places to hold meetings and conduct other business. When many of your industry contacts are at the same event it makes sense to attend as well. Schedule the appointments in advance and you will have some very productive days while you advance your projects.

5.) Have fun

Last but definately not least, don’t forget to have fun. A film festival is a good break from your studio routine, peppered with inspiration and great people. Enjoy it to the fullest!

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