July 25, 2021

The film festival of the future: 'big data' and hooks for 'millennials' | Culture

The film festival of the future: 'big data' and hooks for 'millennials' | Culture

During the last San Sebastian festival, journalists from the Toronto event – which is purely a market and not a festival, since there is no competition – had already seen the previous week 11 of the 18 films in the official section of the competition of the Zinemaldia. In fact, none of the rules that make the Donostia event in one of the 15 class A events worldwide, the fourth in importance, is not breached. What might seem a disadvantage is for the director of the San Sebastian festival, José Luis Rebordinos, who two weeks ago closed its 66th edition, an opportunity to have "a stronger programming", which allows access to other films. "I do not think Toronto is a problem, although I know there are people who see it that way, what will it take away from us, a little press?"

But in a digitally connected world, in which immediately after a screening, any Internet user can read dozens of criticisms on websites and blogs, what future awaits the festivals? And in particular those held in Spain, a country that annually hosts 130 festivals (according to the ICAA) and another 200 weeks, cycles and exhibitions, and which concentrates most of its meetings in the fall: San Sebastián, Sitges, the Seminci of Valladolid, Márgenes, Sevilla, Gijón … Each one of its managers has found different solutions and faces their future in a different way.

Although probably none is as advanced as the Berlinale. Paz Lázaro, the Spanish head of the Panorama section, the second in importance in Berlin, explains how a class A festival with the strength of the German plans the next few years: "Today, in our case, the audience commands, as in the rest of the As a programmer of events, I fear that in the future the algorithms will take away our work, that will come before the disappearance of the competitions, because the rooms are still full, and that is the key question: of 140 premieres we had at the Berlinale, How does the viewer choose his film? " In the German event they already carried out surveys, and discovered that the first criterion to choose was the synopsis, and the second the region of origin. "Because a lot of audiences take advantage of a festival to see a type of cinema that they do not have access to during the rest of the year," he continues. All data that an algorithm can analyze. "This is how the recommendations of digital platforms already work as Netflix"That new industry player already participates in all the possible festivals that – as Rebordinos explains – want" the best audiovisual product wherever it comes from ". All, except Cannes. The general delegate of the French festival, Thierry Frémaux, has declined to participate in this report.

"More and more it will be a festival for the city all the year, since we can not forget where we are", says Rebordinos about San Sebastián, and talks about the synergy that emerged from the contest, the Tabakalera cultural center and the Elías Querejeta film school . "So we believe in becoming a meeting place for European and Latin American cinemas, and in a contest that supports and cultivates new talents," although later, he clarifies that he will not specialize in "Latin American cinema." And he is betting on another way: "There will be more collaboration between festivals, because each time it will matter more what is good for the films", he argues. And here enters its Toronto-Donostia circuit. "Next year we will encourage that line with other festivals."

'Youtubers' in the halls

As for the specialized, the future seems more promising. The 51st edition of the fantastic film festival of Sitges it closes tomorrow with another great public success. Its head, Ángel Sala, believes that at least it will be simpler: "There is a fierce fight between the big ones for the main ones premières world, in which we fortunately do not have to enter ". Sala says that the genre and its fans are the salvation: "Here we already do experiments with youtubers [InSitgestheserieswaspresented[enSitgessepresentólaserieanime from The Rubius], With public millennial And terror is growing in audience, approaching that of science fiction. " Another key according to Sala, the quality of the projection, as confirmed José Luis Cienfuegos, director of the European film festival in Seville: "Here the public is demanding. You have to have a touch of differentiation and quality with good rooms. You can not fall asleep, you have to live in permanent revolution. You have to study the data for each year. We saw a certain downturn and decided to go to the public physically, because only with social networks you can not ". In Seville they also study the surveys. "Here the drama works very well, and that takes away fears when it comes to programming."

With Juan Antonio Vigar, director of the Spanish film festival of Málaga: "Specialization helps, because although you select on fewer titles, we serve as a great showcase for our genre."

Industry and events

Beyond the films, the heart of a contest, all those consulted insist on the importance of having the industry at festivals. "That he feels he must be" to create a future breeding ground, according to Rebordinos. Paz Lázaro explains in this line that the strength of the Berlinale market loyalty to the producers and the creators so that they return to the German capital. "It becomes an annual friendly meeting and they want to repeat it," he explains. Cienfuegos also points out that the filmmakers should feel a respect "for them and their work", because they will later be "the spokespersons of the contest" before other creators, who will see the festival in a more friendly way.

For Sala, the events will grow in the contests "because there will be more and more virtual events, and that's why people will want to see their idols before them, in the flesh; although probably press conferences and master classes will also increase thanks to filmmakers who will appear as holograms. "


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