Planning a Film Festival in India
Finally My desire to work for a film festival landed on Google, the keywords like planning a film festival, how to setup a film festivals were my favorite; long sittings on my PC with full packet of cigarettes and sometime buds and Biddies, during last week of the months. Many times I have missed the daylight, but moon was always my favorites, each interesting information deserves a cup of tea with a smoke in open air
Its important for Festival organizers to visit all film festival and see the trends , though in India I have seen lot of negative energy in various festivals .., its common to see that film festival organizers see themselves as a competitors and you do not see many Festival directors on their guest lists ..I don’t understand it’s a Platform of exhibition of films and need lot of energy to raise the common cause that is the quality of work.
Though I never got a chance to materialize the information I gathered but i must say I tried hard , running every day to meet peoples asking them to support and at least read my bundle of proposals , I must say it’s the biggest part of this job, but its not something impossible maybe I was bit of day dreamer and that made my proposals into junk boxes .
Coming to the point on Planning a film festival , it instigate with a excel sheet. A strong Proposal is needed , don’t worry about the budgets in the first draft of your planning that’s important because otherwise you block your creative mind on monetary issues, swing on a see saw .., first thing first , if you made a mind that you will do it then firstly make a call for entries.. here are the initial Five steps need immediate attention before call for entries
1. Setup a Office ( which I calls a Control Room)
2. Finalize dates ( Check other Festivals dates before finalizing your dates)
3. Finalize Venue ( receive a Booking Letter , mostly no initial payments required for this, you get 2-3 months time for advance payments, receive a confirmation letter in Black and White)
4. Finalize selection committee ( Write official letter to many deserving personalities and make a right mix, Guidelines must me laid down for selection and ratio )
5. Define Competition section and Non competition Section (attach term and condition along with form, Print award money of all the sections)
Make a good credibility in a market, try to deliver new ideas to your vendors and please don’t do everything single handedly, if you can’t hire executives at least call for volunteers, and distribute them the work as per their efficiencies
I must suggest you to buy an All- in-One Printer, including Fax, it’s the most powerful tool , and must be kept in Control room.
You must Print all the modes of receiving information like telephone nos., Fax, e-mail , Postal address , Messenger Ids, Skype etc on your mailers, advertisements and Proposals, do not close your door from any direction let the air comes in from all the side.
Festival Director should work in a Control Room, otherwise he/she will forget many important matters and miss them when needed, from here onwards you need to make major fragments of your team Like Creative, Technical and Films and don’t forget to have a deserving Chairman through Democratic procedure; Festival Director will Report to Chairman and in this way Festival Director can not make any decision on his own .
All the tenders , appointments , Entries , mailers must be signed by both Chairman and Festival Director.
List of Heads in Creative team under Program Head
1. Creative Director (Program)
2. Creative Director (Stage)
3. Creative Director (Planning)
List of Heads in Technical under Program Head
1. Production Director
2. Communication Director
3. Advertising Director
4. Marketing Head
5. Director Booking
7. Festival Coordinator
List of Film Department under Festival Director
1. Program Head
2. Director Films(Film Prints)
3. Head of Selection Committee
Each Head must have at least two deserving Volunteers working under him, getting a Volunteers is not so tough , if you can not advertise , just go to Cinema , Art , Multimedia , Animation College and do a seminar about the Film Festival , along with Volunteers you will get publicity .
Government plays a Vital role for organizing a film festival in India there are various ministries , directorate and department directly involved . firstly take a Support letter from Ministry of I&B ( Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi) followed by Directorate of Film Festival of India (Siri Fort, New Delhi), these support letter are optional .
Ministry of Information and broadcasting plays a major Role in providing exemption certificate for exhibition of films to the festivals which are non-commercial in nature, the certificate is valid for maximum of 15 days and applicable to both Indian and foreign films ; following documents should be submitted to get exemption:
1. List of Films with Synopsis (always as Film directors to send one hard and soft copy o synopsis )
2. Jury along with bio data
3. Declaration of Jury for selection of film
4. Festival director undertaking that screening will be limited to delegates (Film guild and film individuals )
5. undertaking of Festival director that festival is non commercial in nature
Be careful in selecting the Venue because most of the venues do not have Film Exhibition Clearances, in this case you have to submit a letter to Local Police department and take necessary clearances ; also take necessary permissions required by Venue ; ask them clearly, to provide a Permission List required and take this in Writing otherwise during festival any objection can be made.
If your chief guest is President, Prime Minister or Vice President , then do cross check it with the Venue that, either venue has a NOC of their visits, otherwise extra NOC is required and detail is to be Provided to you by venue itself (Security reasons)
Now it’s a right time for a work force to show their capabilities, each department must submit a report according to their creative ideas and policies, these reports should be presented in HOD meet as in seminar format , all these reports should be screened by festival head and Program head, finally making one single plan, approved by chairman. This Final Plan again comes to HOD meet and it should be clearly communicated to all the departments.
Remember Film Festival is a Artistic activity but it must be treated corporately, Corporate are the important and essential part and must be treated very consciously . their must be a clear Sponsorship Plan. Lot of mind-boggling is needed to make a neat and clear Sponsorship Docket .
A good Sponsorship docket contains following
1. Welcome Note
2. About us
3. Comments from Influential Personalities
4. Letter of Chairman
5. Letter of Festival Director
6. Support Letter from various Government Organization
7. Support Letters From Private organization
8. List with bio data of Jury
9. List with Brief of Chairman, Festival Director, HODs
10. List of various Advisory Committee
11. List of expected Celebrities (Provide Conformation letters if duly signed)
12. Support Letter from Chief Minister
13. Support Letter from Ministry of I&B
14. Support Letter from Directorate of Film Festivals of India
15. support Letter from External Affairs Ministry
16. Support Letter from Various Embassy (countries from where film entries are invited )
17. Support Letters from various Film Association , Groups , Clubs etc.
18. Support Letter from Police, Pollution, Traffic, Municipal corporation and other related departments
19. Award category with Amount of money
20. Sponsorship Benefit (discuss various option below)
21. Term and Conditions
22. Format of Contract
23. Picture gallery
24. Attach Advertising Plan (please don’t mix advertising plan with sponsorship plan both are different entities and departments)
25. Thanks Note
Sponsorship benefits should be clearly explained, after making a final repots which we have discussed above , it’s a duty of Program Head to make a budget sheet and sponsorship amount must be more than in the rage of 30-50 % .
Always keep this thing in mind that sponsorship money is used to cover Expenses of basic event like
2 Festival Office management (must be different from Control room)
3 Travel expenses ( Air ticket, Train tickets, car rentals during Festival)
4 Hotels and Hostels
5 Evening Parties(Check if u get a party sponsorship )
6 Printing(Posters, banners, flex , festival Book etc)
7 Private Security agency
8 Couriers (should be kept in mind , International Couriers to send and receive films)
9 Government Clearances
10 Website (Must need high bandwidth dynamic Website)
11 Hiring a PR agency (will help you in CEO meets for Sponsorship)
12 Hiring a Advertising Agency (will help you getting Advertising Revenue)
13 Hiring a Event Management
14 Ticket Selling Agency (bookmyshow.com)
15 Booking Amount for Radio , Print, TV(NEWS and entertainment ), Web and Mobile etc Partners
16 Stage and Party Light
17 Party Venues and Carters
18 Projection Systems( For Festival)
19 Projection System (jury Selection Committee)
20 Press Conferences and Press parties (try to fix up Gift Sponsor)
21 Hire one still and one Video grapher Etc.
Advertising is an different entity as I discussed this thing before , its can be taken as a revenue stream. The first step is to gather Information as now a days their are different avenue of advertisement , I will discuss few Important ways to advertise your Film Festival .
Collect the Proposals, Collection of Proposal is free , and it helps in improving your Plan of Advertising , below written are few stream from where Proposals should be called
1 TV Advertisement (Rate card)
2 Radio (ask for Special Program and Batter system for Telephonic Interviews of Celebrities)(Rate Card)
3 Hoardings, Polls , Pubic Utilities Etc.
4 Print Advertisement (Department Like Times Response, of Times of India , deals in Such matters ; try to go to Paper Directly instead of Agency )
5 Web Portals Like Web18, MSN, Yahoo India, Google India
6 Out of Home Media (like timesooh, out-of-home media, Live media, Lakshya, Big Street, Focus Media)
7 Bus –Q –Shelters (Like Jindals and times OOH in Delhi , News outdoor media in Banglore )
8 Try to check all possibilities near Airports , Railway Stations and Bus Stops
9 Music Portals Like ( Onmobile, Soundbuzz )
10 DTH ( Tata Sky, Zee, Airtel )
11 Theme Parks and Amusement Parks
12 Mobile Van Advertisement
Take Special prices, develop packages and Sell them , do not forget to take special care of your main Sponsors.
In advance try to have a Survey of event management company of the venue , furnish them with the full details of your requirement , your Visualizer will play a main role in this
Finalize event Management Company and ask them to make 3 dimensional Walk Thru of the Venue ; the CD of this walkthrough should be attached with the sponsorship Kit along with other soft copies(3D Walk thru , provides a real time atmosphere to sponsor)
Event Management Company plays a major role in Organizing a Film Festival , These days other than a event production and direction; event management companies also works for partnerships , creative conceptualization and logistic management ; ask the EMs to submit their proposals as per your requirements.
Don’t forget event management company will handle the sound , light, laser lights, LCD panels , kiosks, special effects and décor part, try not to waste you time on this just convey your requirements to Event management companies and they will do the needful.
Don’t even forget to have Press Conferences during the year to get press attention , press plays a important role. To take care of press , hire a influential PR Agency; a good PR agency helps the festival in image management ,do check if you get a Specialize PR agency in media, entertainment and lifestyle.
If you are planning a big festival, do check, if your PR agency has a national network and it can work on Multi lingual platform ; PR agency will also work in Publishing your Press releases in mainline dailies , city supplements ,regional publications, magazines , electronic , radio, web and mobile media and keep on tracking it on day on day basis .
You can also check with your PR if they works in Cross branding in B2B , arrange Launch parties ,and do celebrity management . be open to discussions and ask them to make proposals for your Film Festival.
Printing is a important department in Film Festival , lots of printing jobs including posters, Flyers , flexs, Festival catalogue, Delegate Passes, Press passes, Festival Booklet , Various do and don’t lists, T-shirts, Caps and specially NEWS bulletin.
I suggest you to Release your NEWS bulletin 2 months Before the festival dates and send it to various cultural Centers , govt. departments , Film Directors and other related film guilds on weekly basis , it will be a added drone but minimum 2500 prints will work if you target before two month .
Now lets Talk about the Program of Film Festival in brief, the program must include the categories like Competition World Cinema (Feature), Short Film (Competition), International Focus, Retrospective , Indian Panorama and Focus Institutes other categories could be included as per the genre of your Film Festival like Kinder Film, Women Voice, Human Rights, AIDS.
Face to Face of Director after or before Screening helps audience to know directors point of view, platforms like open forum are also helpful for amateur filmmakers to get a international platforms. Open forum for performers, Food courts , directors meet are added flavor for your Film Festival .
Film Festivals are specially meant for film markets and India is a very high potential market for such activities , I believe that we are copy pasting the idea of west in India that is why its not working in our region whereas there are lots of creative ideas to encourage film market in India .Lets not forget the fact that India Produces over 2000 Feature Film Projects including bollywood and regional cinema.
Coming on the point of penning down the planning you need a spreadsheet which include the following reports
1. The Program
2. Vendor List
3. database of film directors
4. database of film festival directors
5. database of film institutes
6. delegate hospitality plan (including tickets , transportation, hotel and food)
7. Screening Schedule
8. Sponsorship categories
9. Advertisement plan
10. Event Management plan
11. PR Plan
12. Printing material list
13. Award category and plan
14. Stage Program (for each day including daily speech)
15. Evening Parties program
16. list of jury, Working and non working team
17. list of invitees
18. List of Participating countries with their embassy details
19. List with contact details of government agencies involved
though its not easy materializing these kind of plans but its not impossible also , after sharing all this information which only speaks about ..expense !! expense and expense ..i will share my opinion on generating revenues from a film festival in my upcoming article . I hope this information will be useful ..Chao