Learning about film marketing in the Bahamas

Last weekend, I was able to attend the opening weekend Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) in Nasasau, which ran December 4 to 11....

Last weekend, I was able to attend the opening weekend Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) in Nasasau, which ran December 4 to 11. After a sparsely-attended screening of Mariah Carey's new movie Tennessee, I found everyone at the Versace Chopard Opening Night Party, held at the One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island. After brief remarks from Festival founder and executive director Leslie Vanderpool, a fashion show and fireworks took over the evening. More events from BIFF after the jump.

On December 6, I attended a panel called "Marketing, Distribution, and Festivals," featuring Steve Gaydos, executive editor of features for Variety; Steven Beer, a film industry consultant; Magali Dubié, who works with the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival; and Ivo De Sanctis, head of acquisitions at Village srl; and moderated by Elloit Kotek, editor-in-chief of Moving Pictures magazine.

The panel discussed working with publicists, reaching out to entertainment industry media, using the Internet to market and distribute films, and building buzz with festival appearances.

Kotek suggested working with younger publicists, who can grow along with the filmmaker, the work, and the cast and crew of the film. Reaching out to the local community can also produce results.

"If you can engage your community, you will have people outside of the film talking about your film from an early stage," he said, which brings a built-in audience and a good amount of buzz.

While it may seem daunting, marketing is an important part of every film, the panel agreed. Gaydos even said, "You need to think about your marketing plan before you make you movie."

"You can't just be a great filmmaker; you have to be a great film marketer," Beer said, summing up the panel. "And you have to be able to market yourself."

BIFF works with Rogers & Cowan for PR. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism works with Weber Shandwick as its overall AOR and Lagrant Communications for African-American outreach. Lagrant offered PRWeek a press trip to the Bahamas for the opening weekend of the festival.

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