In 2007, the MFF
became the first to introduce a web-based competition. The following year interactive technology was added and virtual award shows and virtual after-parties introduced. They went on to add a 'Text and Vote' option later so visitors to the festival could place their votes that way. 2010 winners include 'Apostles of Park Slope', 'Charlie Valentine and 'On Thin Ice'.
A lot of the the films will be screened at the Peter Norton Symphony Space and all of the festival events will be held in Manhattan, a complete list of venues isn't available as yet. Talking about the festival, Nelson told me:
"In the past we have reached out to local businesses and worked on cross promotion with them. The festival will open with a "Press & Industry Preview Party" which will most likely be hosted at "On The Ave" rooftop deck. The party was hosted there last year and turned out to be an amazing event. We are currently considering various venues in Manhattan and are looking to bring in live music."
As Nelson explained in an email, there have been 'growing pains' along the way but screenings increased 700% in 2010 from the year before, and submissions for 2011 are set to double.
This year, MFF have announced that they will introduce a revenue sharing programme
which will allow filmmakers to promote the film festival and receive 50% of the ticket sales.
In an email, Philip J. Nelson explained more:
"This year’s edition will combine everything that has worked well for us since 2006 and will be highlighted by the filmmaker revenue sharing program."
“Digital revenue sharing programs such as iTunes or YouTube’s partner program have become widely popular and have opened doors for independent artists that were not there in the past. We believe applying that model to our film festival has the potential to start a new trend and provide filmmakers with another revenue stream made possible by digital technology.”
"We have worked with developers to create functionality that will allow the filmmakers to create an account login, promote their film as well as ticket sales, with the ability to track their revenue. We provide the platform and the filmmakers provide the content. The revenue is split evenly."
Commenting on the new development in an email, vice president Jose Ruiz said:
"In today's digital age, filmmakers can find multiple ways to distribute their films and create revenue without having to wait for that big break. The traditional film festival cannot survive without evolving as well, and we believe this platform truly changes the way film festivals and filmmakers will work together."
The profit sharing programme will be fully launched before the 2011 line-up is announced on May 5.
This years film festival starts on July 22 and it will run until July 31.