October 30, 2007

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the future of film festivals. I’ve been visiting a lot of film festivals lately, though, and I do wonder if the market might be a bit over-saturated to sustain the number of festivals out there for the long term. I do still firmly believe there will be a place for festivals indefinitely into the future, but festival organizers can’t just sit back on their laurels and expect to keep attracting rapt, sold-out audiences from year to year.

Content on demand is the nemesis of any pre-programmed entertainment, and in the next few years we’re going to see a huge increase in the immediate availability of all sorts of video content through the web. YouTube is the obvious example for the masses, but streaming video content on the web is already getting more saavy. Take Joost, for example. Joost bills itself as “free online tv” and already has 15,000 shows available on demand. They are already partnering with CBS, the WB, and VH1, among others. Why would you ever leave your house?

I’ve had a hard enough time tearing myself away from short, amateur, 5-minute videos on YouTube. Here’s my recent favorite:

This clip would never work in a film festival. Or would it?

What do we need to focus on as a film festival, to keep audiences coming to theaters? What is unique about a festival? Can we peacefully coexist with internet tv and video content on demand?

Posted by Emily Long