Is it time for traditional film festivals to fully embrace new technologies?

Many of you will admit that seeing an award from a film festival next to the name of a movie influences your decision on whether to watch that movie or not. Recognition coming from a well-known or completely unknown event is prestigious. At the same time, how often do you visit film festivals?

First of all, going to a film festival requires time off because the screenings are usually scheduled throughout the whole day. If you’re not lucky to be in the right city, you have to travel, and if you’re not in the filming societies, let’s be honest, you won’t likely be networking with anyone there.

Some film festivals with a long-established tradition have realized the gap that exists between them and their audiences. For instance, in 2007 Sundance Film Festival introduced its New Frontier — a platform of “new technologies, visual aesthetics, social media cultures, immersive designs, game theory, transmedia activism, and shifts in the boundaries of authorship”.

Sundance Film Festival New Frontier Trailer 2021

Living in such amusing times has ushered leaders from the movie industry into uncharted territories. Especially when it comes to presentation. This is not just a wave that the film festivals are currently riding, rather than it’s a journey they’re starting.

Taken by surprise

Without a doubt, no one has planned cultural events to go the way they’ve been going recently. Film festivals are no exception. For reference, Cannes Film Festival got canceled and postponed in a span of one year; Raindance changed its dates to allow late release submissions, and the Sweedish Goteborg Film Festival left us speechless with its Isolated Island Cinema for 1 concept.

The 28th Raindance Film Festival Trailer exploring the topic of social isolation

Social distancing is no joke but this doesn’t mean it can’t be reimagined. As we already mentioned, Sundance is a pioneer in putting forward novelties in the arts field. The 2021 edition of the festival has just finished this February and guess what, it was quite successful. 28 locations participated as festival venues, indoors and outdoors via satellite screens. Moreover, additional 250 000 people joined the festival activities online from their homes.

Meanwhile, Biennale is relatively stubborn in insisting to be a live event. It’s a choice we definitely respect, nevertheless, it seems a bit complicated and sporadic to pop up new dates, new rules, and update the program constantly. As a comparison, Venice’s Biennale cousin Berlinale quickly swept all the confusion to the side — Berlinale 2021 is split into two, one for the industry, one for the rest of the people; one online and one in the cinemas; one is in March, the other one in June. Period.

Open to the general public

Never before we’ve experienced digitalization to such an extent in the art communities. After global streaming services like Netflix and HBO triumphed last year, what equally available could film festivals offer in terms of unique and quality content? A possible answer is that they can simply team up with the prosperous trendsetters.

According to Indie Wirekey distributors like Apple TV+HBO Docs, National Geographic, and Participant Media are already supplying titles to online festivals, while buyers at HBO Docs, Hulu, IFC Films, Neon, Magnolia Pictures, Showtime, and Sony Pictures Classics intend to scout films at online festivals that put limits on viewership.

American Black Film Festival winner movie is now streaming on HBO Max, Photo credit: Wardlaw Productions

Another aspect to consider is the level of participation of the audience. Ironically, viewers get more active in the online QnA sessions than in the live discussions in the theater. Respectively, directors, organizers, and producers receive more genuine reactions in a digital setting and are able to articulate their ideas clearly and without rushing.

Lastly, a virtual or semi-virtual film festival that gives access to anybody at any place in the world, is easy as pie. You literally can join in the middle of the night from the opposite side of the world.

Innovations as the subject

Innovative technologies are no longer just the tool for being on track, they’re the issue. That’s why we have The International Innovations Film Festival, for example. Here’s what the authors of this intriguing festival say about it: “The International Innovation Film Festival is a creative program dedicated to highlight and spotlight the many challenges and progressive innovations that redefine how we share and tell stories and eventually, record history.”

Next, there’s Fortnite! As you already know from our article about Travis Scott’s Fortnite world tour, the video game Fortnite is now a platform that hosts concerts and airs movie trailers. In that case, it’s no surprise at all that last weekend Fortnite presented its very own film festival. It’s called Short Nite and it’s for animated shorts. Seriously, how cool and original is that?

Blooming new features

It’s not enough for a film festival to switch to a different format, it has to be a flawless, completely integrated virtual experience. Whether they’re underground, first-timers, or famous and acclaimed, all film festivals need precise technical solutions.

The apps Festival Scope (B2C) and Festival Scope Pro (B2B) are now the standards for screening internationally. Still, sometimes ordinary films are just not enough. We already witnessed immersive projects like 360-degree movies, VR, and all sorts of interactive content. The evolution towards a reality of augmented perception is imminent.

Ticketing is another important factor — how are festivals selling their tickets, is it easy and reliable to use the ticketing services provided by the event organizers?

How is Evedo fitting in?

At Evedo, as a part of our larger ecosystem, we offer a safe and fast tool that is compatible with the film festivals’ needs. We’ve even already onboarded our first film festival IN THE PALACE, an international event for short films, new media, and digital arts.

Evedo is is a ticketing partner of IN THE PALACE film festival

Oddly enough, for film festivals, the pattern of least resistance is to become wide open and catch up with the latest technologies. There’s no place for fear of losing authenticity because art has always been and remains an experiment.

The 18th edition of IN THE PALACE festival will take place from February 27 2021 to March 06, 2021 Get your ticket here.

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