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Top 4 Adventure Festivals & Why Attending is Crucial for Breaking into the Industry

These are the top 4 adventure film festivals to attend; whether you are looking to branch into this field of work or striving to be an adventure filmmaker, you will gain the inspiration and face-time with the correct people to get your foot into the door, or at least a few steps closer!  Take a look at the important do’s toward getting more than just films out of your film festival ticket.

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Showing up and making it happen.

Just simply buy a ticket to at least one (if not ALL) these festivals. Acting on this simple step of buying a ticket to attend the festival will be a forcing function of figuring out the other logistics involved in getting yourself there. The logistics of where to stay, what to expect, etc. will come later. All these little questions can be easily solved after you go ahead and ACT on securing your attendance at the festival. You won’t be disappointed. And why be so diligent about making it to these festivals? The adventure filmmaking industry is small. There are a handful of filmmakers, athletes, creatives, and inspiring individuals that are either presenting films at these festivals or at least attending each festival to support this industry! It’s a big party, and you have the opportunity to be part of it by simply showing up!

After a couple festivals you’ll begin to notice and recognize the same people over and over – that’s how you begin to network. Keep in mind that soon these professional athletes, filmmakers, and quite possibly your biggest idols themselves, will soon recognize your face, too! Repetitively showing up and making an appearance at these festivals WILL generate positive outcomes!

 Do your pre-stalking, I mean – pre-festival homework!

Soak up the most bang for your buck by educating yourself before arriving on site to the festival. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to journal or write down what the leading production companies, filmmakers, and athletes are, who will be present at the festival. You also might write down the following questions as you will begin to research. You may also see patterns in the industry with who is really creating stories.

  • Who will be there?
  • What companies are producing and making films?
  • Who will be at the booths or sponsoring the event?
  • Are there guest speakers or authors who might be giving talks or book signings?
  • What is the film festival schedule and what events/parties should you attend?
    • Check out the film festival webpages, Facebook page and posts, comments, and reviews.
    • Are any of the films already free to watch online? Watch films beforehand and write down your thoughts & questions. You might notice watching films on your own time versus watching them live with other audience members can yield different emotions and change your overall experience.
    • Some of the filmmakers will stay after their film to answer audience questions, this is a perfect opportunity to engage with the filmmaker and ask those burning questions.
  • What is the mission for each film festival? Is there a story that goes with the festival or how it was created?
    • Adventure Film Festival –Read how Adventure Film Festival was established and how it continues to live on through the memory and vision of Jonny Copp.
    • Banff Film Festival – Review the history of The Banff Centre and how this organization has been inspiring creativity for over 82 years! Did you know they host an intensive Adventure Filmmaking Workshop?
    • 5Point Film Festival – 5Point Film Festival stands for five different principles- respect, commitment, humility, purpose & balance. You’ll start to see heir best films embodying these five guiding principles.
    • Mountain Film – Did you know beyond the festival they support, educate and motive through various initiatives? Grants, education for students, and next steps for audiences to help promote positive change.

 Recognizing the Whole TeamInspiration at 5Point

Just a reminder that it takes a whole crew with equally important talents to make a film come to life. From the cinematographer, to the producer, the writer, editor, or the PA, to the sponsors, backers, volunteers, and community members: all these people have significant roles towards the filmmaking process. There are many different contributions and resources that make the story evolve into a film. Going back to how small this industry really is, keep in mind that you never know who you might be talking to or what role they might have played. Remember that everyone is connected! Introduce yourself to everyone with no expectations or judgments of who, or how they might have contributed toward the festival or films.

 Hang around the local “hot spots”

It’s the small, connective locations and areas between the film festival where you’ll find and get the best networking time. From coffee shops, local food joints, to climbing gyms: seek out these local hot spots. In my experience, most filmmakers and athletes hunt down the best coffee spots in town not just for a cup of joe, but mainly to get onto the free Wi-Fi to catch up on emails or social media! You’re bound to find at least 1 or 2 dirt-bags there! Just saying hello could lead to further conversation, which may lead to other networking opportunities. Have confidence in yourself and remember that humility, passion, story and hard work go further in this industry than having the coolest footage or doing the most daring adventure.

 Pitching

As an aspiring adventure filmmaker, what motivates you? Do you have an idea or story you’d like to tell? One suggestion is to develop some talking points around your story idea. Going as far as developing a short pitch can be useful if asked during the festival what you’ve been working on. Remembering that pitching your idea for the purpose of starting a conversation and bouncing around various ideas, not for the purpose of getting sponsored or landing a job. There’s a fine line between pitching and being a sales representative.

All in due time, maybe just maybe one day you’ll be showcasing YOUR film on the big screen at one of these film festivals!




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