Running a Film Festival: Overview & Tips (Film Festival Report Part 3)

November 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm 1 comment

SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine
(from SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine)

The actual operations of a film festival are essentially like every other event; one must keep track off and complete a variety of tasks. Recall that Asian American Film Festival are generally staffed by volunteers (I know Visual Communications puts out a call for volunteers every year for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and are quite independent in terms of major media events (generally there are not tons of corporate sponsors unlike festivals such as Cannes or Sundance). Like many events in real life (Baby Shower, Wedding, Birthday Party), you really only get one shot at everything and any mistakes you make you will have to live with and dynamically adjust to. No even is perfect, but keep in mind any mistakes reflect poorly on both the event and and the planners (you). Some of the best remembered events actually had numerous problems/issues that were either resolved quickly or hidden by their organizers (I can speak from personal experience on this one as I’ve had to save events run by other people). Remember, in most cases individuals involved with the actual creation of the media will be present. You definitely do not want to be responsible for an event where someone feels their media was not shown in the best possible environment and at the best possible quality.


Still from Red Dust (2010)

For our film festival I took care of many of the technical aspects because I am a member of Pitzer IT as well as friends with the staff in Audio-Visual. I learned a lot working in the audio-visual booth of Broad Performance Space for both Love & Justice and Finding Our Voices. The most important thing I learned is that you absolutely, positively MUST have a backup copy of everything you are planning on screening. Without a backup copy of LT. WATADA, the screening would have ended up being a disaster as the screener copy we were sent had a scratch/stains on it that caused it to not play more than a few minutes. On a related note, actually testing the audio-visual equipment in the screening space is also important (though in the case of LT. WATADA this ended up giving us a false positive). I also learned that a flashlight is very handy for adjusting things in the screening space without turning on the lights. An assistant is also useful to monitor audio levels and tell you to raise or lower them and for when you need to go take a break for whatever reason (phone call, bathroom, etc.)

Of course just because I wasn’t as directly involved in the other aspects of a film festival does not make them any less important. Planning and executing the dinner might have been fairly easy because of the casual nature of the event (I loved the dinner), but the reception was another matter. Fortunately for us, Galen was able to get Bon Appetit to cater the event with delicious food. While all the hors d’oeuvres were delicious, I especially enjoyed the seared ahi tuna with wasabi one the most, a fact that is not lost on me given the Asian-American nature of our event (it was poetic I suppose?). I talked to several of our guests as well as other (not from the class) atneedees and they enjoyed the food and wine. Obviously spending the money to hire Bon Appetit to cater the event greatly reduced the amount of work we would have to do as we didn’t have to staff or bring the food ourselves.


(Q&A for Finding Our Voices)

Finally there’s one last aspect that should go without saying: be respectful of the guests. Make sure you know their names, and if you don’t find out before calling people “that guy” or “hey”. Offer to get them water or other refreshments you may have on hand. Lead them around the facility (the campus in our case) and make sure they know where the nearest restrooms are. Also make sure to introduce your guests and give a brief bio about each of them (I admit I fumbled this a bit in my intro but I’ve learned for the future!). Make sure to have a list of prepared questions you can ask during the Q&A to guide or “prime” the audience. (Generally after a few questions the audience is ready to ask their own.) Before the night is over, make sure you thank them for coming out. Yes they are technically getting paid to appear but (at least for our festival) it’s not much and they still took time out of their schedule to show up.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Planning & Programming (Film Festival Report Part 2) Why Asian American Film Festivals? (Film Festival Report Part 4)

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Galen  |  November 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    This blog post was much more concise and to the point than your previous two. I think you were able to adequately infuse your own experience with your background knowledge. While perhaps the personal approach you use and the straightforward voice may not be appropriate for a paper, it comes through very well within the blog.

    In fact I would actually be curious if you included more about the duties of the volunteers for other film festivals and compared it to your extensive breakdown of our own duties.

    The overall breakdown of your part in the film festival was excellent. My only suggestion would be to include analysis of how each person’s roll in planning either worked, didn’t work or could have been rectified to maximize the usefulness of one’s time.

    -Galen

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

November 2010
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Most Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: