Faculty Scholarship


Jon GaronFollow

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

January 2017


This article is part of a series of book excerpts from The Pop Culture Business Handbook for Cons and Festivals, which provides the business, strategy, and legal reference guide for fan conventions, film festivals, musical festivals, and cultural events.There may be between three thousand and four thousand film festivals running this year. Compared to fewer than 750 feature films that are released theatrically during the year, the overwhelming number of film festivals make this experience somewhat unique within the Con culture. A film festival attracts its audience in order to highlight the best work it can showcase and to recognize those films with awards and prizes that have the potential to propel the selected works into the cultural mainstream. Top prizes help establish new writers and directors, open doors to theatrical distribution, and bolster marketing to the general public.Film festivals have two very different audiences. For one type of audience, they attract local film enthusiasts who want to watch films not otherwise available in commercial theaters. For the other type of audience, they attract the filmmakers, actors, directors, producers, and technical craftspersons who are presenting their current work while also hoping to develop connections for their next project. The hunger of this second audience combined with the unbelievable range of venues makes filmmakers vulnerable to financial scams and unreasonable expectations. Organizers of high quality film festivals must guard against any practices that could tend to take advantage of this vulnerability.

Publication Title

Pop Culture Business Handbook for Cons and Festivals