A little order, please! | The USA Print

The audience looks at the screen in a darkened movie theater.


exist hundreds of film festivals in Spain that offer an alternative to commercial cinema and activities around this industry. Generally, beyond San Sebastianwe can barely think of ten and, if we are fans, we may reach thirty.

These events are booming thanks to alternative platforms that promote them and, above all, to the interest of a very specialized public that does not settle for the best sellers cinematic.

Despite of economic context of culture in the 21st centurymany of these events strive to be quality contests, achieve recognition from the public and the industry, and, if possible, attract sponsorships and subsidies.

Nevertheless, there is no specific regulation that determines what the requirements of a film festival are quality. There are proposals that serve as a reference, but are not complete or do not publish their inclusion criteria, such as that of the International Federation Of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) at European level.

There is a need to order the festivals

Have you ever wondered How are film festivals classified?? This article rescues my proposal for the categorization of film festivalsbased on the contributions of 146 interviews with professionals in the sector.

Let’s clarify the concept: we talk about classification and no of categorization. There are many ways to order the festivals. The classification supposes a horizontal order, as opposed to the categorization that would be vertical or hierarchical. The classification does not say which is better or worse, but simply orders them. For example, by theme, dates of celebration, profile of the participants.

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On the other hand, classifying them establishes ranks of importance according to which criteria we take into account. For example, if we consider that more budget implies that it is more relevant, or if attracts more celebrities or public.

But, What is the use of classifying them? If professionals in the sector or festival organizers value classifying them, it is because they assume that not all of them are the same, there are better and worse ones. But, based on what? Is the one that attracts more media faces, more public, or the one that has a lineup of films that the industry considers to be of quality, a better festival? The classification that we take into account has to be designed with some objective.

In the case presented here, the objective would be the distribution of public subsidies. A proposal like any other, but above all transparent and accessible.

Inauguration of the 12th African Film Festival of Córdoba. Photo by Luis Rivera. African Film Festival of Córdoba / Flickr, CC BY SA

Categorization proposal

The proposal to establish What traits should a quality festival have? is based on the results of the answers to 146 interviews with professionals in Spain: 41 directors of film festivals, 25 short filmmakers, 31 experts and researchers, 22 producers and distributors, 13 journalists, 8 representatives of public organizations related to the field. and 6 representatives of film libraries.

The trend of responses suggests create three categories in which a series of objectives and functions are required. Here are a few highlighted:

  1. Awards: Require the contest to pay on time and in the manner that the prize is described in the contest rules.
  2. Celebration dates: Festivals that occur on the same days or on most days will be considered as conflicting. The oldest festival will have preference over the new one in the same category.
  3. Film festivals must ensure the cinema promotion and should project a minimum of hours of movies. This would divide them into different categories: The first would project at least 30 hours; the second category–class A, 20 hours; the second category – class B, 15 hours and the third category, 10 hours.
  4. must promote Spanish cinema: In all categories, a minimum of 50% of the exhibition hours should project national production. This would not affect festivals with specialized themes.
  5. favor the meeting of industry professionals of the industry: The guests for the media promotion of the event are not considered here. A minimum percentage of the budget would be allocated for this function. In the first category, 6% of the budget and above. In the second category – class A, 3% of the budget and above. In the second category – class B, up to 2% of the budget. The third category would be exempt.
  6. The attendance of the amateur public (non-professional) It is fundamental: a festival cannot be considered to have a relevant status if its halls are empty, if no matter how much promotion it is given or how many celebrities it summons, it is not interesting for society. Would the San Sebastian Film Festival be the same without people? The minimum capacity, between professionals and the general public, that an event should cover must correspond to its category. The first category should fill 80% of the capacity; the second category-class A, 60% of the capacity; the second category-class B, 50% of the capacity and the third, 33% of the capacity.
  7. He jury committee should be composed of professionals with demonstrable qualifications.
  8. He Team organizer You would have to have an adequate profile in specialized cultural management.
  9. It would also be necessary to assess the Parallel activities: A festival is also a party around cinema, which means a variety of content. A percentage of the budget must be reserved for these purposes.
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Festival categorization table. Author provided

The excessive proliferation in the 90s of festivals of cinema gave rise to events of dubious quality where the red carpets are more important than the good treatment of the filmmakers that the contest uses to fill the programming. In parallel, they compete to attract subsidies and aid that are based on criteria that mix cultural values ​​with others that are not.

This article gives a voice to those who defend rigor and cultural quality and proposes a draft that establishes fair criteria for the distribution of aid. In short, put a little order.

Montserrat Jurado-MartinProfessor of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, specialized in film festivals and cultural journalism, Miguel Hernandez University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. read the original.

The Conversation