Festival-Savvy, was Koroshiya Ichi/Ichi The Killer

Stephen Cremin asianfilmlibrary at mac.com
Sun Jan 27 13:16:09 EST 2002

When Cannes call you up when they have a spare slot in their program and 
(allegedly) ask "What can you give me?", that for me is the definition 
of "festival savvy" taken to the power of n.  It also probably only 
happens in Asian film.  Critics and festival programmers are terrified 
of supporting the "wrong" Asian directors which is why it has been 
possible for a number of "gatekeepers" to emerge in Asian film circles 
in pretty much every territory.  One can't really blame them for 
exploiting this insecurity, sometimes for huge commercial gain.  I've 
heard of asking prices of US$20,000 to "support" a film from one of 
these gatekeepers.  But it's just as likely to come from real passion as 
financial gain.  The name of the game is claiming your territory, 
distinguishing it so that you have market value, and being unwavering 
even when the cracks begin to show.  That's why it's such fun to watch 
panel discussions with these people.

So what makes a sales agent "festival savvy"?  Exploiting the 
insecurities of festivals programmers.  Finding ways to getting money to 
"gatekeepers" as subtitlers (doesn't matter if they only speak English), 
consultants, or press book writers.  And make festival-friendly films, 
even if they haven't got a chance at the domestic or international box 


On Sunday, January 27, 2002, at 08:01  pm, Mark H Nornes wrote:

> Mark, you called Sento-san "festival-savy" and unusually successful at
> getting his films in the major festivals. It _is_ striking how many of 
> his
> people's films are selected. But what makes someone festival savy? Is it
> simply a strategy he's got, or other qualities about the man?
> Markus

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