Why Film Festivals Matter

There are over 3,000 film festivals in operation across the world—9,706 have run at least once since 1998. Those stats are from 2013—since then, you can bet the amount has gone up!

The largest are Cannes, Berlin, and Venice—plus the Oscars, which is more like a festival than an awards ceremony.

What, then, is the appeal of these events? Why do they create such immense anticipation, excitement, and enthusiasm from people around the world?

With Barnes Film Festival only five months away, here are the reasons why film festivals matter.

1. Putting more fun into films

I’ve only ever come across one person who claims to not watch films, yet even he said he’d watched Jurassic World and enjoyed it.

Films, movies, cinema—whatever terminology you want to use, the industry is magical and enormously influential in everyone’s lives.

Hosting an event based solely about them is, of course, a chance to celebrate creativity, connect with like-minded people, and trade film quotes long into the night.

2. Finding new talent

Upcoming directors get to land their debut, or latest, films at festivals and revel in the adoration from the audience—or take a critical battering.

Christopher Nolan, for instance, premiered Memento in 2000 at the Venice Film Festival. The standing ovations it received there and at subsequent events catapulted it towards distributors and set up Nolan’s career.

3. Championing independent cinema

Believe it or not, there’s a world away from the massive blockbuster Hollywood movies with million dollar marketing budgets.

Avengers: Endgame may be on the side of every bus at the moment, but there’s an enormous wealth of small projects enjoying independent releases every day.

But they lack the mammoth budgets to get noticed—and that’s where film festivals step in to expose them to a wider audience.

4. Taking advantage of test screenings

For directors, festivals offer the chance to try out their film in front of an audience—often for the first time.

This can go either way, with many films at Cannes facing mass walkouts over the years.

But that’s critical feedback on the spot, with a chance to make adjustments in the editing room at a later date. The result? A chance to make a film better before a full release.

5. Marketing opportunities

There’s also the chance to market a film—for distributors and studios, independent or major, that’s a golden ticket to getting excellent press coverage.

Strong reviews, or a bit of controversy, can do wonders for any project.

Word of mouth is another advantage, as people see films they love and discuss it with friends and family.

6. Educational benefits

At Barnes Film Festival, we hold workshops at our annual event where young minds can learn about the industry.

We also host panel discussions throughout the year, such as with our female filmmakers panel in March this year.

So, festivals are perfect for fun learning—and that goes for adults and kids. And it’s particularly important for the latter, who can benefit from life lessons and getting their critical hats on.

7. Networking opportunities

Whether you’re a blogger, journalist, student, upcoming director, actor, or film buff, then a festival is an unprecedented opportunity.

It’s your chance to meet established names, major talent, and talk your way into new opportunities. Or just make a new friend or two.

8. Celebrate diversity and the local economy

One of the goals of our festival is to celebrate diversity, which is such a major part of life in London.

And whilst doing that, we're adding to the local community of Barnes (as well as further afield).

Every film festival gives back to the community in one way or another - but it's important to remember green initiatives, as well as supporting local charities and businesses.


Barnes Film Festival 2019

Don’t forget, our event runs from 27th-29th this September.

In the meantime, you can find out more about our mission - and in June we’ll be announcing our 2019 programme. So watch this space - there’s a lot to come from us this year. And that includes regular panels and events in the build up to our fourth year.