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Organizing a Film Festival

After a conversation with the owner of a local independent cinema, I'm considering undertaking the task of organizing a film festival.

We (the town of Dedham) are a suburb of Boston. There are a number of prominent film festivals held in Boston each year, but there are only a few in the outlying suburbs. The goal of this festival would be to attract suburban audiences to an independent film festival - those who might not otherwise attend a festival in the city.

I've got a handle on the obvious tasks involved: venue, publicity, sponsorships, judging and awards, etc. My concerns lie in the "unknown" areas that aren't so obvious.

Does anyone have experiences to share about organizing a festival?

Can you recommend resources (print or online) in this area?

More importantly, is the concept solid enough to devote the time and energy required?



IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
1) Contact your local film commission. They can help you get your idea off the ground.
2) Ask around for volunteers that have been a part of the organization process. You may find volunteers by contacting film festivals in your area that are off-season.
3) Hire an experienced fesival director. (may also be volunteer).

Good luck!
Oh, and Filmriot....

To get sponsorship for just about anything... just need to ask :D

I spent many a year hopping from state to state, setting up franchises in college-towns. The flow of people asking for help with "organisation-you-name-it" never stopped... and they almost always got something, as well.

Tips to get what you want:

1) Go down in person. It's a lot easier to say "No" to someone over the phone.

2) Know in advance what you can offer the business in question. Have a few ideas in mind, if possible. Makes them feel like they have options. The ideas don't need be fancy, but name recognition of some kind is good, that is visible at event.

3) It's harder to get straight cash, as opposed to business services or products. If the best you can get is product or services... take it. The more people you have "on board", the easier it will get later when hitting up other places for straight moola.

Zen, thanks for asking about the community-based movie production. It's moving forward - maybe a little more slowly than I'd like, but it's tough coordinating schedules during the summer months.

We've had two script review meetings. Portions of the original script have been rewritten, new supporting material added and dialogue cleaned up. I'm amazed at how talented and dedicated the team is.

One more script review and we'll start on storyboarding. Shooting should start in mid-July.