Why Kitale Film Week? - The Idea of Film Festivals

The idea of film festivals is not new in the world. Some of the biggest festivals in the world have defined cities and countries, and invited significant attention to the offerings of the cities they are situated in.

Peter Pages Bwire

10/2/20222 min read

The idea of film festivals is not new in the world. Some of the biggest festivals in the world have defined cities and countries, and invited significant attention to the offerings of the cities they are situated in. The best examples are Venice, Toronto, Cannes and Busan film festivals, which are named after their cities.

There are hundreds of other festivals which can be mentioned here too.

The reasons for the popularity of film festivals are many, but the key one is that a festival is a conspicuous spectacle that caters to at least seven demographics, which is a lot of people, businesses and communities.

To filmmakers, the festival is a perfect opportunity to launch and market films, without which these films would go directly to the market without buzz or prior audience interest. The festival builds the appetite for films through word-of-mouth, critiques, media reviews and blogs. By the time the film is officially released there is a considerable number of people waiting for it. This is a huge boost for the filmmaker, who also uses the opportunity to see other films, engage directly with the audience through Q&A sessions and meet other filmmakers with whom they could collaborate in future.

To the audience, the film festival offers a rare opportunity to see different types of films in strands and themes, giving them a glimpse into different worlds in very entertaining ways. As opposed to watching films on a VOD platform like Netflix, the festival serves as a town hall where ideas can be seen and questioned, where tastes can be defined and where the audience can feel proud of the products released by their own community as well as other people across the world. The festival programming therefore attempts to curate an exciting programme for all types of audiences that may attend the festival.

For film distributors/buyers, the festival offers a glorious chance to plan their business. Distributors can use the festival as launching pad for soonto- be-released films or take advantage of festival/presence of talent to hold press junkets. Buyers attend festivals looking to acquire new films which they can take to other festivals, TV stations, digital platforms, other countries/territories, etc.sometimes leading to the need for a premiereheavy line-up. If the distributor believes in good word of mouth they will also attend with the intent of creating audience and use the festival to launch newer releases. The buyer may attend to acquire films in specialty areas such as documentaries or films from a certain country/demographic.

To the sales agents, who are arguably the most powerful demographic in an industry sense, the festival will be a place to promote and sell films to distributors.

To festival sponsors, the festival is the perfect place to find targeted audiences. Sponsors will often be appeased by the opportunity to meet and reach their markets directly, often attracted by the presence of celebrities and highly anticipated films. Sponsors also get to host galas, sponsor strands, themes and even specific films which they resonate with.

For local and national governments, a film festival offers the platform where they can promote their local and national cinema, including the talent, resources, subjects, locations and industry expertise that might be available for individuals and organizations willing to invest in film and related industries. The film industry is a boon to local economies, generating support and jobs for a multitude of local small businesses and suppliers, new construction and film-induced tourism. The festival showcases talent, generates employment opportunities, promotes product sales, enables networking and collaboration, stretches local ambition, develops skills and talent, feeds innovation and bolsters tourism.

For media and critics, the festival is an opportunity to see and review new content, write about and offer guidance to their audiences in blogs, magazines and news publications. The absence of special screenings and related events limits the power of the critic, but the festival offers them the space to shape audience tastes and cinema trends.