(01/02/08) – There’s never been so many film festivals taking place around the world as there are now, giving budding filmmakers more opportunities to get their works played. The downside is that the exhibition and distribution environment has never been as crowded and competitive. But help is at hand. Kamera has spoken with Bethany Colson and Richard Rosenblatt, the founders of the Film Festival World (FFW) website, an online initiative to help independent filmmakers to harness the power of the internet to gain visibility for their works.

What is the purpose of Filmfestivalworld.com?

Our main goal is to help independent filmmakers utilise the internet in film marketing and promotion. We want to make it easy for filmmakers to find and compare detailed film festival information so they can select a wide circuit of submissions tailored to getting the best exposure for each of their films across the film festival world. We also try to create a context where people who make films and mixed media can find and interact with others whose professional focus is programming, distributing, financing and writing about films and media, a context where film students and film school faculty members can add to the flow of ideas and connections. Finally, the website is a platform content that reflects the diversity of cultures and stories that is the film festival world.

How did you get the idea to create the website?

The idea started to take shape in 2004 when we started to collaborate on creating an interactive marketing company that would serve low-budget independent filmmakers. We started by compiling a database of more than two thousand festivals, filtering it to favour competitive festivals that accepted film submissions and then surveying it to collect festival statistics on films screened, attendance and other data that would allow for an objective comparison of one festival with another. As we continued to build the FFW database, Richard imagined a site architecture that would be as open and accessible as possible, like a great central festival market where it would be easy to find, compare and select among a great many nuanced choices by walking among them in a virtual way. FFW was also designed to support the promotion of individual films traveling the festival circuit by providing an easy way to for filmmakers to generate an online press kit for that film, hosted by the website, that could be used in its promotion.

Do you have a specific audience in mind?

FFW is a membership site targeted to networking people who make films and mixed media, whose professional focus is programming, distributing, financing and writing about films and media. Film school and film studies students and faculty members worldwide are a core part of FFW’s member demographic.

How has the website been received so far?

FFW was launched as a public site in May 2007. Currently it averages about 100,000 hits per day based on an average of about 14,000 page views per day served in about 2,000 visitor sessions per day. A high proportion of FFW visitors come from Europe and Asia. Few FFW visitors could be defined as coming to browse in general terms. Most visitors come to FFW as a part of their festival or films research or as a tool in active film submissions or in planning specific festival attendance or both. Visitors are engaged when they arrive and many return.

What is in the pipeline?

We are introducing a new Member Profiles & Blogs section in February 2008 to the many members already signed up and waiting. This new section has been planned to become a world-class network for media arts students, young filmmakers, and for the professionals who create, finance, market and programme independent media.

To visit the Film Festival World website, please follow the link provided on the left of this page.