Jonathan Marlow has written an interesting (though not altogether shocking or revolutionary – at least for someone who has worked in small-scale film distribution for a couple years) article about the festival circuit and it’s effect on the traditional comprehensive theatrical run of films that get “picked up.”
He also adds this little jab at SIFF:
Whether you’re a filmmaker or a filmgoer, I’ll let you in on a little secret that might guide you. The enjoyment to be found at a film festival is generally counter-proportional to the number of films in the event….[there’s quite a bit more I’m skipping here; you should read the full article to fill it in] The exception that proves the rule here is the Seattle International Film Festival. SIFF is merely so damn extensive and exhaustive that several dozen good (and occasionally a few great) films are bound to slip through. It also says something about the monoculture of Seattle that a three-and-a-half week/roughly 300-film festival could even work.
So after spending your weekend seeing – 2? 5? 8? – films at SIFF, do you agree? Are there just too many movies at SIFF (despite the slimming down of this year’s fest) to guarantee quality and satisfy risk-taking? Is it just a film-goer’s event, with no room for business networking or community building? What does the festival say about Seattle film culture – and overall culture?