What is The Hybrid Film Festival Model And Will It Work?
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The doctor of the film festival (yes, she is a real doctor!) Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith, discusses the emerging model of the “hybrid” film festival today. CV19 has clearly changed the way festivals have to work in 2020. Not everyone has chosen the model of the online film festival, and one of the major complaints is poor networking and contact with other filmmakers. However, the model of the online film festival has many advantages and they can really work and feel more like a festival – especially in terms of networking and meeting more filmmakers.

An example would be New Filmmakers LA. They went online in June and skilfully curated their event to give all filmmakers the feeling of attending a festival by communicating frequently via email and social media, and in addition to film screenings and filmmakers, they also had very appealing zoom-based master classes and virtual coffee morning hosted questions and answers. This has proven that networking events can work online and that filmmakers feel part of a festival through strong event management and frequent communication. Networking and industry events are key components of the hybrid film festival model.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) recently announced that they will be hosting a “hybrid” film festival this year when they host their 45th edition in September.

It combines physical and online screenings as well as 50 functions and five short programs – this is much less than what they normally offer, but this is not surprising in view of the context.

The first five days include physical, socially distant demonstrations and outdoor venues, including the popular drive-in format.

Digital screenings, interactive discussions and questions and answers are carried out for the entire 10 days. The industry conference will take place online and press and industry demonstrations will take place on TIFF's online platform. There will be networking events, talks and access to filmmakers for interviews.

Now the industry asks: "Will that work?" TIFF is an expert in producing a film festival and I have no doubt that it will be of the highest quality. And similar to NFMLA, I am sure that they can curate successful and exciting digital-based networking and master class events.

Not only do I foresee that this hybrid film festival model will work really well for TIFF, but for many other film festivals that have announced their plans for a hybrid – including the upcoming Doc / Fest, the Sundance Film Festival and, of course, the brilliant Raindance Film Festivals. Raindance will host her 28thth Online film premieres and screenings, as well as live streaming of their industry events, to be held in central London in October.

When the festivals start again in late 2020 and 2021 and host their live events, many of them will apply the hybrid model to their festival as it can offer filmmakers a very exciting and rich alternative to personal industry events while still feeling like a film festival .

As always, I love helping filmmakers develop and manage their film festival strategies, and this is something I would love to help you with. As a bonus for today's blog, download your free guide, "The 4 Main Reasons Your Film Is Not Accepted At Film Festivals and How To Fix It".

Connect with me on Instagram – @RebekahFilmDr

About Rebekah Louisa Smith

Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith started her career in the film industry in 2008 as a producer at the most successful national horror film festival in Wales. the Abertoir Horror Festival.

A decade ago she founded The Film Festival Doctor, a name that alludes to her academic past. Rebekah has a doctorate in film and audience research, her dissertation is based on the work of her hero Quentin Tarantino. Rebekah and her team are committed to changing the lives of independent films through film festivals.

Rebekah and her team strive to provide their filmmaker clients with visibility, awards, opportunities and recognition in the industry. Currently, the company (with offices in London and Los Angeles) has won over 750 awards for its customers, and Rebekah has assisted over 500 creative professionals around the world to help them succeed on their travels.


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