Charles Judson, communications director for the Atlanta Film Festival, in CinemaATL magazine:
It’s much easier to start a festival than it is to maintain a festival. Starting a festival really requires a commitment that has to go beyond just the three or four people who will bust ass to bring that inaugural event to fruition again and again and again. If a festival is really to have any shot at being a self-sustaining entity, it’s not just funds that have to be constantly flowing in, you need a constant stream of man power, and self-renewing passion that translates into a mission that folks instantly get.
Now, instead of using that same man power and determination to create a festival, why not suggest filmmakers create one off events around their films? If you’re a filmmaker, there’s absolutely no shame in doing something that only benefits your film. Being self-less is great, but if you’re not paying back your investors or creating any momentum to start your next film, what is that virtuousness really gaining you? And unless your goal is to stop making films, doing a festival will not be the wisest of career moves.
For years I've been kicking around the idea for a book for people who want to start a film festival. The first chapter is titled "Don't."