The Great Festival Rebound of 2020: Alpha to Omega, From Production to Sales

Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
And now the real sexy part of this series…
Let's get the obvious out of the way; without movies there would be no festivals. But what happens when there are no festivals? Until the end of the Spring in 2020 this felt very possible as festivals had to scramble to figure out how to navigate and host an event in a pandemic world. Which is why we're here, doing this series.
It is not an absolute but those whose produce and sell movies do count on festival play as a small part of their business strategy. This chapter we talk with those who are there before, after and somewhere in the middle of festival life.
We will start with the co-production markets, where for many filmmakers the work begins on getting your film made. Because you have to start with something to show and sell. We tap into the minds of the directors of two co-production markets that I and others in the Screen Anarchy fam have had the most interaction with over the years: Frontieres and Blood Window. Both markets had to adapt to the digital landscape in the face of inconveniences like travel restrictions, quarantines, and stay at home orders. What do you do when no one is allowed to leave the house and come to your co-pro? 
Also if there are no film festivals or films to promote then where does that leave our friends who work in the PR sector and partner with film festivals? Few work as hard as they do during a festival. They are the ones who get the word out about the event? They are the ones that connect us with the filmmakers for interviews and features. They are part of the team that gets us writers what we need to... well... write. They are the unsung heroes of the festival circuit but to writers like us they're frikkin' vital.
We are giving due attention to my friends Katrina Wan, who is so cheeky she named her firm after herself, Katrina Wan PR, and Kaila Hier at Exile PR. I’ve worked with Katrina for a long time now, I don’t remember how early in the ScreenAnarchy years, and her firm is responsible for nearly all the giveaways I do at the site so thank her for all the free stuff. Kaila is a fixture of the genre circuit. She has been busting her hump, moving up the ranks to start her own PR firm. She was at the forefront of Fantasia and Nightstream and one of the first people Screen Anarchy worked with once we got back into the swing of things covering film festivals last year. 
Lastly we venture into the exciting world of sales and distribution because, yes, this is a business and many of our friends are determined to make a living out of selling movies to other places when they're not producing them themselves. So when a high profile festival like SXSW cancels its program and you have a film in their lineup what happens next?
We speak with our friends Andrew, James and Michael from Raven Banner Entertainment. Joe from Yellow Veil Pictures, the youngest company in our field of experts, chimes in. I also asked my friend Guido Rud from Film Sharks in Argentina to contribute. He may not have been directly affected by the cancellations in North America but he is very active in the LatAm region. And we would be remiss not to ask our lord and master, Todd, to speak on behalf of XYZ Films. 
They'll chime in on the affect cancellations had last year, the pros and cons of doing business in the vritual space and what does the future look like after any local productions experienced some kind of shutdown last year. 
Annick Mahnert - Frontieres Market - Canada
Javier Feranadez - Blood Window - Argentina
Katrina Wan - Katrina Wan PR - USA
Kaila Heir - Exile Pr - Canada
Guido Rud - Film Sharks - Argentina
Andrew Hunt, James Fler and Micahel Paszt - Raven Banner - Canada
Joe Yanick - Yellow Veil Pictures - USA
Todd Brown - XYZ Films - USA
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