‘Film festivals’ connote different meanings to different people. The movie audience takes it as an opportunity to view some exciting stuff from across the world. Their key concern remains as they want to be privileged to see the films before their actual release, whereas sometimes you are able to watch movies that would never be released. The filmmakers find film festivals as a platform to showcase their work, get recognition and establishing a connect with other filmmakers. On the other hand, film business professionals use film festivals as an exciting opportunity to enhance their networking, learning, and potential business and partnering advantages. It is worth knowing that 9,706 film festivals were organized between the years 1998 and 2013, out of which 2,954 ran during last two years of the period. Some of these film festivals ran their show just once.
The success of a film festival is based on the number of new film entries every year. A more popular film festival attracts more film entries. Almost half of the film festival organizers charge filmmakers with a submission fee for their participation. Around a few years back all submissions were dealt with physically. However, the times changed frequently, as almost all submissions are made online. Such a shift in process from offline mode to online has significantly improved the style, appearance, operations and effectiveness of the film festivals across the globe. Earlier filmmakers had to follow a time-consuming process to send their film entries across to various film festivals. Moreover, they had to bear exorbitantly as the costs involved were too high.
However, Withoutabox introduced in 2000, offered more simpler ways to rescue filmmakers. The website provided many facilities to filmmakers as well as organizers of film festivals. Withoutabox enabled filmmakers to post details of their film entries over the website irrespective of the requirements sought from different film festivals. Besides offering movie briefs, the filmmakers were given the access to automate the selection and eligibility criteria for a particular film festival. Moreover, the filmmakers had also been allowed to pay their submission fee through the same site after being selected to participate. Withoutabox linked the gap between film festivals and filmmakers by synching the whole procedure of participating in the event. By the year 2008, Withoutabox became a major bridge to connect filmmakers with the film festivals, with over 1.25 thousand filmmakers using the site to apply into more than 2000 film festivals. Sooner, Withoutabox was taken over by Internet Movie Database for a reported amount of $3 million, which was cheerfully applauded by the filmmakers. However, all founders of Withoutabox had left the company after it was sold.
During late 2013, FilmFreeway took over as a game changer when it was founded in January, 2014, became a big relief for filmmakers. This website was offered as a user-friendly alternative to much older Withoutabox. The launch of FilmFreeway created more opportunities for filmmakers as well as film festivals by providing a better network.
Thus, the entire film fraternity has experienced a tremendous seismic shift of film festivals with the advent of the internet. The online opportunities and other offers are taking the film production to newer heights.