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Oh, was it really the Warsaw Film Festival? Blink for a second and you will have missed it.

This led me to contemplate why the Warsaw Film Festival is lost among all the other film festivals, such as Berlin, Venice, Sundance, London and, of course, Cannes. Quickly scroll down this blog to see the pictures I posted on Friday of the media frenzy at the London Film Festival and you will see what I mean.

Okay, I would not expect Warsaw’s little film festival to be up there alongside the giant Cannes. But, why is its profile lost even alongside all those others?

It can be summed up in one word: Profile.

So, how is it that from Cannes, to Berlin, to London and even a tiny town called Sundance can get the profile and Warsaw cannot?

Here is the answer, in pictures…

In the following photo, look at the branding behind Jon Goodman and Ben Affleck at the London Film Festival:

Notice how there is a major sponsor. And, it is a big one. Accenture is a global company with 275,000 staff in 120 countries (including Warsaw, Poland by the way). They are a cash-rich sponsor that can afford to contribute significantly to the event budget. In return they receive international profile alongside the profile of the event.

Now, look at the following sponsors of the Warsaw Film Festival:

Look at them all: there are FOUR ‘subsidies’ sponsors; TEN sponsors ‘and partners’; and EIGHT media partners. That is a total of 22 brands, compared to London’s one brand sponsor.

The point here, is that these 22 brands are worthless to the profile of the Warsaw Film Festival. I am sure that the Marriott Warsaw, for example, provided discounted bedrooms and as a favour in return, got its logo printed in the Festival magazine. I can bet Chevrolet provided cars to comfortably get people around Warsaw. And, I doubt Empik handed over anything from their tills. So, with all those 22 sponsors giving favours, where was the event budget? There wasn’t one, I fear.

I cannot even see how the Warsaw Film Festival provides value to the sponsors, either. I mean, 22 brands competing with each other isn’t going to be worth any of them handing over cash.

The problem is that the Warsaw Film Festival has not grown up. Film festivals start small because the idea is to appeal only to the film industry. They are for the critics, directors, producers and filmmakers. But, what about when it is time to appeal to people outside the film industry? That’s the growth market, surely.

If Warsaw Film Festival wants to compete with the big film festivals, it has to grow up, like they all have. It has to go global: big names, big profile, big money. It has to stop trading favours and learn to trade big business. It has to secure just one major international sponsor with cash to offer. Until that happens, the Warsaw Film Festival will remain just a local film festival.

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