Going to a film festival can be one of the most fun experiences in life. You can see new movies, meet interesting people and travel to exciting places. The downside is that it’s expensive; you’ll need to pay for transportation, lodging and food (and maybe even some entertainment).
But as long as you do your research and plan ahead, going to a film festival can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Don’t miss any films you’re interested in seeing by showing up too late
If you’re going to the festival, be there when it starts. You might think this goes without saying, but it’s a little more complicated.
First of all, if you’re attending any event or festival where tickets are involved and have been sold out for months now (like Sundance), they’re probably not going to sell more tickets just because you showed up late and missed the first half hour or so of whatever film you wanted to see based on its trailer alone.
Second of all: even without tickets involved, if you plan to show up at the venue on opening night and try your luck with whatever shows are selling tickets at will call—it’s not going to work out that well for you most times.
Research the films you’re thinking about seeing in advance
Besides the obvious—be sure to research the movie you’re interested in seeing in advance—there are a few other things worth looking into.
Look up the directors and producers, as well as the actors involved with each film, and read their bios. You may get an idea of what kind of person they are from their history or their quotes on the website. This can give you insight into what kind of movie this might be based on who made it!
Check award nominations and wins at festivals like Sundance or Cannes (or any other festival), which will help guide your decision about which ones might be good to attend yourself someday soon!
Understand the basic rules of etiquette at film festivals, like turning off your phone and shutting up while a movie is playing
You might be tempted to use your phone while crowded in a theater with hundreds of other people. Don’t do it. You will annoy everyone around you, including the people who are putting on the film festival and might someday hire you as an actor or filmmaker.
Similarly, if someone else is talking loudly during the movie, let them know that they’re being disruptive so that everyone can enjoy themselves more. And please don’t eat popcorn or any other food during a film—the last thing we need is for our audiences to be distracted by crumbs flying through their air and landing on their clothes or laps (we’ve all been there).
The best way to avoid these problems is always to arrive early and sit in the back rows—it’s much easier to quietly slip out of one’s seat when needed than if one were in an aisle seat right next to another row!
However, if your schedule doesn’t allow for this planning ahead (or maybe even if it does), try asking someone else sitting near where you want to sit whether they mind giving up their spot so that you can sit there instead!