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Conferences and concerts aren’t the only large-scale, in-person events that are shifting gears and pivoting strategies as technology’s role in the industry continues to develop. Theaters and filmmakers are also navigating this new reality when it comes to virtual film festivals and movie premieres in 2023 and beyond.

Online film festivals are evolving. Having a backup plan, such as a hybrid or completely virtual film festival, is crucial to reaching new audiences around the world. Back in 2020, before event organizers had a chance to grasp what was going on in the world, in-person festivals were essentially left in the pandemic’s dust. Now, we know better. In 2021 and 2022, the Sundance Film Festival continued to entertain audiences, but through a virtual film festival where attendees joined remotely.

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 virtual film festivals and online movie premieres. We’ve mentioned Sundance, but Red Rock Film Festival also announced its commitment to host virtual film festivals. YouTube, the online video giant, joined the virtual film festival revolution, hosting the We Are One: A Global Film Festival in a time when many were still hesitant to meet in person. 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 virtual space, audiences can be reached in new ways that offer their own unique set of opportunities. So, if you’re asking yourself, “How can I start an online film festival,” the answer is much easier than you may think.

With virtual film festivals, everyone wins. 

Virtual events, such as virtual and 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.

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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 your virtual film festival is over, you can upload that content to your channel for on-demand viewership, further expanding your reach and monetization options. As the saying goes, the show must go on. Endavo’s benefits for content creators go so much further.

Check out Katra Online Film Festival Powered by Endavo

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

  1. Virtual film festivals foster innovation and creativity.

Translating a large in-person event to an online film festival for the same audience 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 in-person festivals typically rely on low margins and relied on sponsor dollars, as well as donors, to get by.

  1. Significant distributors are open to engaging. 

When the likes of Apple TV+, HBO Docs, Hulu, and more are on board to supply titles to virtual film festivals, you know you’re doing something right. Today, 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 virtual film festival has never been easier—thanks to Endavo, which makes 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.
  1. What are the big three film festivals?

There are so many in-person and virtual film festivals these days. Historically, though, the top three include the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice Film Festivals. Also included in the top five are the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in Park City, Utah.

The future of virtual film festivals starts here.

Ready to bring your dream virtual 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. We’re on a mission to teach filmmakers about what it takes to run a successful film festival online. Looking to learn more? Contact us today to create a customized experience for your audience.