Conferences and concerts aren’t the only large-scale, in-person events that are shifting gears and pivoting strategies during COVID-19 and the era of social distancing. Theaters and filmmakers are also navigating this new reality when it comes to online film festivals and movie premiers in 2020 and beyond. 

Considering that almost all large gatherings have been (or will be) postponed or canceled, having a back-up plan or an alternative way to reach audiences is a must. Back in March, before event organizers had a chance to grasp what was going on in the world, festivals were essentially left in the pandemic’s dust. South by Southwest, for example, had minimal notice earlier this year (and therefore, no contingency plan) when they announced the cancellation of SXSW. Now, we know better.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, and businesses have opened their eyes to the value of streaming as they prepare to go digital with online film festivals and online movie premieres. Red Rock Film Festival, for one, announced its commitment to move the November event online, while YouTube hosted its own film festival, We Are One: A Global Film Festival, from May 29 through June 7. The event featured programming from 20 top film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and more. By moving these events to the digital world, audiences can be reached in new ways that offer their own unique set of opportunities. 

When events go virtual, everyone wins. 

Virtual events, such as online film festivals, are the “new normal” — at least for the foreseeable future  — and there are many opportunities for filmmakers and theaters to think outside the box and engage on a new level with their audiences. 

How? When you go digital, your reach is no longer restricted by geography. You can sell tickets globally and reach millions of people around the world. Once the live event is over, you can upload that content to your channel for on-demand viewership, further expanding your reach and monetization options. But the benefits don’t stop there. 

Check out Katra Online Film Festival Powered by Endavo

Here’s why online film festivals are winning in the digital world. 

  1. Online film festivals foster innovation and creativity.

Translating a large in-person event to the online world requires a bit of creative thinking — something filmmakers and artists are gifted with doing! This means rethinking not only the content but the way they share data with other filmmakers. Revenue will also be a key consideration, especially because pre-pandemic festivals typically operated on low margins and relied on sponsor dollars, as well as donors, to get by. 

  1. Major distributors are open to engaging. 

When the likes of Apple TV+, HBO Docs, Hulu, and more are on board to supply titles to online film festivals, you know you’re doing something right. And IndieWire notes that even more buyers are “planning to scout films at online festivals that put limits on viewership.”  

  1. Platforms like Endavo make hosting online film festivals a breeze. 

Hosting your online film festival has never been easier — thanks to platforms like Endavo that make streaming your content an achievable goal. Furthermore, these events can benefit from advanced restricted viewing capabilities that put you in control. What does this mean? Users can select who sees what, when they see it, and how they want to monetize based on three access tiers:

  • Public access allows everyone to sign up for your festival. You could monetize through Paypal or even ask for donations.
  • Restricted access allows you to limit the event based on geography or the number of viewers. 
  • Private access, or invite-only, lends an air of exclusivity and provides complete control over event attendance.  

The future of online film festivals starts here.

Ready to bring your online film festival to life and reap the benefits of going virtual? Endavo can help you live-stream your digital event through our interactive platform and responsive customer experience. Contact us today to create a customized experience for your audience.