Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Many Methods of Movie Marketing: Part 6 Film Festivals

This is the sixth and final (hooray!) part of my many posts on the different methods of movie marketing, this one covering film festivals. This is mainly for my film students who are looking at the relationship between film producers and audiences. First we looked at how producers get information from audiences and now we move on to how producers give information to audiences. You can find part one on posters and trailers here. Part 2 on TV, radio and print media advertising and using the internet and viral marketing is here. Part 3 on movie merchandise is here. Part 4 on premieres is here. Part 5 on press junkets and preview screenings is here.




Finally film festivals are an increasingly powerful tool for a range of films to get promoted to as big an audience as possible. Festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, London, Sundance and SXSW all hold competitions and give out awards to films that are shown there. Festivals attract the press and so hold fancy events in often glamorous locations. Independent and world cinema films used to be the biggest offerings at film festivals but recently the major Hollywood studios have descended on them and flexed their marketing muscles with publicity stunts and parties. Film festivals traditionally gave a boost to smaller films but now are being increasingly taken over by the studios output.


The Cannes film festival has the coveted Palme D’Or as well as many other prizes that can be won by films in competition. They are voted on by a jury that in 2013 includes directors Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Lynne Ramsay and stars Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. If a film wins prizes at a festival, it can use this in other forms of marketing such as trailers and posters. Last year’s Palme D’Or winner Amour went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. This year at Cannes, the Hunger Games sequel dominated headlines as the stars turned up for a party thrown by studio Lionsgate to help promote the movie.


Film Festivals mostly show films before they are released worldwide and help to build a buzz around them. The press write about film festivals and keen film fans will always be aware of the latest films that are being screened. Smaller independent films like The Blair Witch Project picked up distribution deals at Sundance Film Festival and went on to become huge hits with mainstream audiences. 

And that is the end of my series on movie marketing! Hope it has been useful to my students and occasionally interesting to anyone else who may have read it!

More on movie marketing:

Part one on posters and trailers
Part 2 on TV, radio and print media advertising and using the internet and viral marketing
Part 3 on movie merchandise
Part 4 on premieres is here 
Part 5 on press junkets and preview screenings