Saturday, 20 April 2013

FILM FESTIVALS : PAY TO PLAY?


I've never understood film festivals charging to submit a film, ever. I can understand paying a fee once your film is accepted. But outside of that I have always been dubious as to why filmmakers (especially low budget ones) break their accounts to get their films finished then find themselves at the end with a fucking ridiculous bill to get their films shown or in a lot of cases... not. 

It makes little sense to me that you would pay for something that you are not guaranteed to be involved in and even then it makes fucking little sense at that. You are giving a festival content to show, to attract custom and ticket sales, and your paying for the liberty too? 

Heres the kicker though, a lot of festivals pay for higher profile filmmakers to join them, cover their expenses, their hotels, their meals in some cases. Where do you think that money comes from? Sure a little here and there for sponsorship, but the simple fact is John Smith who made 'Night Of The Screaming Gekomen' who is still paying off £25,000 of credit card debt is sat on his todd the night of the fest eating a pot noodle and wondering if one day 10 years from now he'll be able to get his credit score back up enough to make another movie, is footing the bill.

The sad thing is I saw this start to happen about 10 years ago with bands, paying to get on a bill. PAY TO PLAY. But the sad thing is that at least they paid and actually got the exposure here, the little known filmmakers get pushed out. Which makes sense, don't get me wrong. You want your best acts on. But if we're going down this route, why are the lesser knowns footing the bill?  As always though the film industry has always been about a decade behind the music industry, which is baffling in its own right, but I digress. 

I'm not saying this applied to every single festival, but fuck it does to A LOT of 'em. It's not on and no one questions it and I gotta wonder. Why? Because this is not the way it should be and the way I see it, is that we as filmmakers are here to to make entertainment not to be exploited. 

Look this is just my opinion, but you have to agree there is a certain amount of logic here. I think festivals are a good, or even great, thing both fee'd and non fee'd, But like I say, I see a flaw in here and quite a serious one that I feel very few people question, Including myself. Until now. 

MJ