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Film Festivals 1 - Film Festivals 2

Recently, film festivals, in particular independent ones, have become fairly popular. The Sundance film festival is probably the most well known because of its creator, Robert Redford. Though it started as a way for unknown filmmakers to have their films be seen by a larger audience, Sundance has become a brand of sorts. There are now videos that are labeled with Sundance to indicate that it was part of the festival, and there is a movie channel specifically dedicated to Sundance films. In fact, the film festival and movie channel are all a part of the larger organization, Sundance Institute. While Sundance may be the most widely recognized film festival, the Cannes and Toronto film festivals are also known for their competitions.

Film festivals are attractive to young, aspiring filmmakers because they give them a platform for their work. Winning a competition in any of festivals mentioned above would give the filmmaker more visibility and possibly increase their chances of finding a company who would promote and distribute their film. Even those that are already well known independent filmmakers have a hard time finding distributors, so winning a competition could certainly help them as well.

For example, filmmaker Michael Moore has made several films, including the popular "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11." "Bowling for Columbine" won the Cannes film festival's Special Jury Prize and Best Foreign Film at the César Awards in France. "Fahrenheit 9/11" also won Best Picture at the Cannes film festival. Without the film festivals, these movies would be relatively unknown to the general public. Instead, they have inspired controversy and debate around the country.

Film festivals are important vehicles for filmmakers who want to make their own films without having to comply with large production companies' requests. Some things that may not have made it through the final edit of a film by a major company can be retained in a film that competes in a festival. That, in its self, is valuable.

© Cathryne L. Parish 2005

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