Film Festivals: They should be online or with live audience?

by Sherif M. Awad

Film festivals are a vital part of the film industry, providing a platform for independent and emerging filmmakers to showcase their work and connect with audiences, critics, and industry professionals. In recent years, the question of whether film festivals should be held online or with a live audience has become increasingly relevant.

On one hand, online film festivals offer many benefits. They are more accessible to a wider audience, as people from all over the world can watch films from the comfort of their own homes. Additionally, online film festivals are often more cost-effective and less risky than live events, as they do not require the same level of physical infrastructure or logistical planning.

On the other hand, live film festivals offer a unique and immersive experience that cannot be replicated online. Being able to watch films on the big screen, surrounded by an engaged and enthusiastic audience, can be a powerful and transformative experience. Additionally, live film festivals provide opportunities for networking and connection-making, which can be especially valuable for emerging filmmakers looking to gain exposure and build relationships in the industry.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to hold a film festival online or with a live audience will depend on a variety of factors, including the goals of the festival organizers, the resources available, and the needs of the filmmakers and audiences. In recent years, many film festivals have moved online due to the pandemic, but as the situation is improving, we may see a shift back to live events. Some festivals have also started to combine the both and have a hybrid approach to reach a larger audience and also provide the live experience to a smaller group of people.

In conclusion, film festivals play a crucial role in supporting and promoting independent and emerging filmmakers. Whether they are held online or with a live audience, they provide a platform for creators to connect with audiences and build relationships in the industry. Ultimately, the most important thing is to provide an opportunity for people to watch films, support and appreciate the hard work of filmmakers and bring the film community together.

It is likely that people will continue to do both – watch films at home and go to cinemas. The rise of streaming services has made it more convenient for people to watch films at home, but many people still enjoy the experience of going to a cinema. Additionally, some films may only be available in cinemas for a certain period of time before they are released for streaming or on DVD. As long as there are films being produced, there will be a market for both home viewing and cinema-going.

It is likely that studios will continue to make big budget films, as they have the potential to generate significant revenue through box office sales, merchandise, and other forms of monetization. Additionally, big budget films often have a built-in audience and are considered a “sure thing” by studios in terms of financial success. However, the shift to digital streaming may make studios re-evaluate their strategies for investing huge amount of money for a movie, as digital streaming has been successful in generating revenue and reach a larger audience.
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