Research Outline

Growth Drivers of Film Festivals


To understand the drivers of growth of the Bentonville, BFI, Milwaukee, Cleveland, True/False film festivals, to help develop an engaging digital marketing campaign for Sundance.

Early Findings

Bentonville Film Festival

  • Bentonville Film Festival aims to be a "stepping stone for inclusive films to be widely distributed". The festival is sponsored by Walmart, AMC and Lifetime, which enables it to reach a wide audience.
  • The festival provides filmmakers great networking opportunities, which has seen the number of films being submitted at the festival double between 2016 and 2018 to 700.
  • The size, content, and involvement of the Bentonville Film Festival are comparable to The Cambridge Film Festival, one of the longest-running film festivals in the United Kingdom.
  • The Bentonville Film Festival collaborates with Tribeca and Sundance and shares a great relationship with them; films from both festivals are played at Bentonville. Bentonville also hosts events at Tribeca and Sundance.
  • The festival is growing through word-of-mouth promotion and has an excellent track record in terms of attendees revisiting.

The BFI London Film Festival

  • The 2018 BFI London Film Festival showed more than 240 diverse films from across the globe, which was lapped up by an adventurous audience.
  • The 2018 edition saw a rise in attendance by 12% to 205,000, the highest attendance ever.
  • Many of the films pertained to "pressing social and political themes in very inventive ways", which moved and provoked the audience. It served as a great venue for filmmakers to launch their films.
  • The 2018 edition had several Oscar nominees grace the red carpet and the audience was placed at the heart of the ceremony.