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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Variety publisher lists '10 Festivals We Love'

I'm in Las Vegas this week at the International Film Festival Summit, and it's an interesting mix of people...mostly fest directors, but also a few filmmakers and tech company execs.

One idea I've been talking about with speakers and attendees is whether any fests will actually give audiences a role in choosing some of the content that plays -- for instance, voting on a half-dozen movies that fest curators have selected, and giving the winner a spot in the program. Some smaller fests, like Slamdance, are doing experiments in that vein.

Charlie Koones, the publisher of Variety, gave a keynote yesterday morning that had some interesting advice for festival organizers ... and also filmmakers, in that Koones listed ten of the most interesting and exciting festivals, in his view. (Disclosure: I'm a regular contributor to Variety.)

Koones urged festivals to pick more challenging films. "It's better to piss off your audience than to bore them," he said. "Edgy films are fodder for conversation [in the press and among attendees]." Koones also suggested that festival organizers "beware of world premieres. There may be a reason why that world premiere film is available," he said. "It's better to have great cinema than it is to have bad cinema first."

Koones listed ten "festivals we love," which he described as "interesting and exciting" events, not listed in order of importance.

The omissions are interesting.... Sundance? Tribeca?

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