October 24, 2020  
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Marketing a Film Festival

You have to be light on your feet to stay ahead of the curve these days, especially when you're promoting a film festival. We have the information you need to create a nimble, yet effective marketing strategy for your business.

In the current economic climate, one thing separates thriving film festivals from the rest of the pack.

As a business owner, you probably already have a firm grasp of basic marketing concepts. But to rise to the top of the industry, you'll need to gain a deeper understanding of the marketing tactics competitive film festivals utilize in the marketplace.

Tips for Film Festival Marketing

It helps if you can start promoting your festival at least six months before opening night. The way you'll earn revenue is by selling tickets to the festival and by soliciting sponsorships. Be sure to develop separate marketing plans -- one for enticing sponsors and the other for getting people to attend the festival.

It's a good idea to get some endorsements from those who are influential with potential film festival attendees and festival sponsors. Although major Hollywood stars probably won't be interested in your fledgling festival, the attendance of even a minor celebrity can draw crowds and encourage local media to run stories on your event.

Industry Resources

Lone rangers don't survive long in a film festival. Most leaders are oblivious to the fact that the marketplace shows no favoritism - for every marketing challenge your business faces, there are hundreds of other businesses and leaders struggling to solve the same problem. Trade associations, business networks, and other venues usually offer resources to help you improve your marketing skills. If possible, establish a mentoring relationship with an experienced industry veteran.

Email Campaigns

How many people do you know who don't have an email account? Not many. What does that mean for your company? It means the odds are in favor of email campaigns actually connecting with customers. In many film festivals, the real challenge is compiling a substantive quantity of qualified email addresses. At Gaebler, we recommend buying mailing lists from professional, third-party providers. Purchased lists aren't the only source for customer contacts, but they can be used to create fast momentum for email campaigns and other initiatives.


Despite the unrelenting demands of generating content on a monthly or quarterly basis, a company newsletter has promising potential as a marketing device. Unlike flyers and other advertising mediums, newsletters have an informational focus. In fact, the best newsletters encourage customers to take the next step without ever asking for a sale. These days, film festivals to distribute newsletters through online channels (e.g. in email campaigns and as PDFs on the company website).

More Articles on Marketing

Given your interest in marketing and in film festivals, you might find these additional resources to be of interest.

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Selling a Film Festival

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What tactics have you used to market your film festival? We enjoy getting feedback and questions from you. Please post your thoughts below.

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Do You Plan on Opening a Film Festival In the Near Future?

For tips on how to start a film festival, these resources provide helpful advice:

Starting a Film Festival

Do You Offer Products or Services to Film Festivals?

If you want information on how to sell to film festivals, there's more useful information for you elsewhere on our site. Try these instead:

Selling to Film Festivals

Mailing Lists for Film Festivals

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