Boston.com (the online arm of the Boston Globe) presents us with the tale of two film festivals who just couldn't get along. The festivals in question are the Independent Film Festival Boston (by far the largest and most well-regarded fest in town) and the Boston International Film Festival, which changed the dates of its festival this year now overlaps its more successful cousin by a few days.
The Boston International Film Festival, which used to be held in June, has changed its dates to April, conveniently coinciding with the more popular and slickly produced Independent Film Festival Boston. We're told the switch has caused considerable confusion for filmmakers, some of whom thought they were submitting movies to the Independent Film Fest only to learn later they entered the International Film Fest. Organizers of the Independent Fest told us yesterday they've heard from at least three moviemakers who made such a mistake and are trying to move their film to the Independent Film Fest.
It's difficult to believe that any film festival would intentionally overlap with another indie film event if it weren't trying to capitalize on the larger event's buzz. Media attention and audience attendance is hard enough to come by without going head-to-head with another event with the exact same purpose. Despite BIFF founder Patrick Jerome's protestations that he doesn't want "bad feelings," his organization has stirred them up both with filmmakers and with the staff of the larger event.
Bottom line for filmmakers: pay attention when submitting your film that you know the difference between various regional festivals. Organizations are extremely aware of (and even competitive with) similar events in their area. If you confuse them you run the risk of irritating the one in which you really want to participate.
Photo by Eric Hill.