The Post-Fest Era

In September, Christian Gaines wrote a provocative two-part article for Variety speculating on a new business models for film rights holders in terms of how they use film festivals.  It's required reading, and certainly got me thinking.

In this month's Independent, Paul Devlin has a piece on lessons he learned on the film fest circuit with his film BLAST.  He definitely has some good information for all, but again it was  's last paragraph that got me thinking again:

Of course, the film festival model will always serve some film very well. But diverging interests may mean that film festivals necessarily become a much less essential element of a filmmaker’s strategy for promotion and distribution. Just as we seem to be entering a “post-distributor” environment in which filmmakers eschew rotten deals and embrace DIY, we may be witnessing the emergence of a “post-film festival” environment as well.

A new model needs to be found for filmmakers choosing (or having no other option than) to hold onto their rights.
Festivals can be a great way to heighten awareness for your film, but generally only in the local community where the film is playing.  To make matters worse, many festivals these days are over-programed and as a result the films simply get lost and overlooked.  The festivals and the communities make money on the sold out shows but not the filmmakers.  With only a few sales happening and then only at the highest festival level, filmmakers can't be attending with the hopes of a deal?  So how can festivals be utilized by the Truly Free Filmmaker?
It would be ideal for local festivals to initiate deals with local theaters so that prize winning films would get an automatic one or two week booking three or four months after the festival.  I have to imagine this is done somewhere already but frankly I am clueless as to where.
It would be ideal for colleges and community centers in and around the local festivals to agree to bring filmmakers and their films out to lecture one or two months after winning at the festival.  This would allow for some local publicity to be done in advance of a future booking.
The most natural fit for regional festivals and TFFilmakers is for the filmmakers to use the festival to launch a specific DVD sale directly at the festival.  At the very least they could take pre-orders.
I found it very exciting when Slamdance announced this year that certain films would be available for streaming directly after their festival premiere.  When I have heard of a film playing a major festival, that is when my "want-to-see" is at its highest.  Six months later another 50 films have moved ahead of it on my queue.  TFFilmakers have to strike when audience desire is highest.