Do you ever wonder why an important documentary or perfect little art film can play to a packed houses and standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival and other festivals around the country, and then it goes into theatrical release and no one goes to see it? Part of the reason of course is that festivals are an "event," with Q&As, parties, and the live communal experience.
Something is lost when the "live" aspect disappears, and suddenly people would rather stay home and watch TV.
As we struggle the current distribution landscape, we remember that "engagement" with the audience is the key. Jose Munoz, head of the performance art department at NYU, explained that "liveness" is important...it creates what he called the "charged environment." Filmmaker Sam Green continued the thought with the idea that "the charged environment is more valuable because of the ephemeral nature of the moment."
So how are filmmakers working to "charge" the environments where their films are being seen? Some are taking their films around the country in non-theatrical tours; other are adding live components to their film work; others are working with social media and community engagement to make audiences feel more a part of the film.
But certainly there must be even more we can do. Let's discuss...