Tuesday, April 19, 2011
5 Tips for Surviving Film Festivals / Movie Marathons
Posted by Courtney Small
As Hot Docs is quickly approaching, I will share a few film festival survival tips that I have learned over the years from attending various festivals. Even if there are no film festivals in your area, these tips can easily be adapted for any at home DVD / Netflix movie marathon (see at home options below):
1) Diversify Your Film Choices – It is always tempting to select nothing but high profile films. The ones with the “big names” attached often come with their own built-in hype. Yet not every high profile film is a guaranteed winner. Sometimes it is the films that you had no preconceived expectations about that surprise you the most. That is why I always try, whenever possible, to select films from each festival category available (e.g. Special Presentations, World Showcase, Canadian Spectrum, etc).
At Home Marathon: Select one film from at least six different genres (e.g. Action, Foreign, Drama, Documentary, Horror, Sci-fi, etc.)
2) Make Sure You Have Room to Run! – In a perfect world it would be nice to leave the theatre and take a leisurely walk to the next film. Unfortunately, part of the festival experience consists of running from theatre to theatre with mere minutes to spare in between films. When possible, it is important to include travel time when planning your schedule. Delays and Q&A’s can often throw off the film's running time so it is always nice to have a little buffer to ensure you do not miss the beginning of your next film.
At Home Marathon: Be sure to take breaks in between each film. Also, mix up the viewing order based on length of film. Do not throw in two three hour films back to back. Slip in an 80 minute film to break things up a bit.
3) Do Not Abuse the Buddy System – I have no problem with people saving seats for friends. I have done it many times myself. Yet try not to save more than two or three seats tops for friends who are running a bit late. There is nothing more annoying than getting to the theatre and seeing someone try and save an ENTIRE ROW for people!
At Home Marathon: If the movie marathon is being held at your house you get first dibs on which seat you want, after that it is every person for themselves. If there is not enough seats, institute a policy where everyone switches seats after each film. That way the same person is not sitting on the floor for six to seven films straight.
4) Eat Often! – This is much easier than it sounds. One of the things that film festivals do is throw your usual eating habits out the window. Sometimes half a day goes by before you get anything of substance in your system. Eat whenever you can, even if you are not particularly hungry, this will give you the extra energy boost you need to sit through all those movies, and run from theatre to theatre.
At Home Marathon: Make sure there are plenty of munchies available. Have everyone chip in a few bucks for a couple of late night pizzas as well.
5) Know Your Limits – There is no shame in “tapping out” on a given day. While movie lovers want to see as many films as possible, sometimes the body has different plans. While “power naps” in the theatre can be helpful, there will be times when you just have to call it a day and start again tomorrow.
At Home Marathon: Ensure that you have ample room for people to stay over. Several will start falling asleep just before the 3 am viewing of the latest Stallone movie. This brings up another important point! Try to keep the action flick until later in the night. 3 in the morning is no time to start a slow moving Jane Austin period piece.