The Together Films Marketing Team has had a marathon first half of the year, providing marketing, tech, outreach and production support for five festivals in four months! Now that we’ve hit a festival-free moment, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all that’s been accomplished. It’s certainly been special to welcome back audiences in person and to feel the buzz of a full cinema again.
Across the 5 festivals which spanned the UK and US (both in-person and digitally), the Together Films team marketed a grand total of 221 films with tens of thousands of cinema-goers returning to a film festival for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although audience behaviours have undoubtedly changed, we were delighted to see a rising trend of in-person ticket sales as audiences build confidence to return to a film festival setting. This bucks the international industry standard which saw a continued drop in cinema-goers from 2020 to 2021 according to Statistica. It has been heartening for our team, and the film festivals we work with, to see attendees revel in the shared experience of festival screenings, and for filmmakers to have their works celebrated by wide-eyed audiences.
To kick off festival season we got the best of both worlds at Human Rights Watch London (17-25 March) and Human Rights Watch Film Festival New York (20-26 May), launching their first ever hybrid festival. Working with the wonderful team at Human Rights Watch and our cinema partners Barbican (London), Film at Lincoln Center (New York) and IFC Center (New York) we welcomed ticket-holders old and new to watch vital documentaries that embolden minds and inspire. Our Digital Producer, Hannah Gauntlett, was lucky enough to head over to New York to cover the festival in person, meeting filmmakers and gathering audience reactions in real time.
“Having worked on five consecutive editions of the festival, in the UK and US the festival seemed familiar to me, however this was the first film festival I’d be attending in-person, I was immensely inspired by the creativity and vision of the festival programme. I felt so honoured to meet with courageous filmmakers, and activists who generously shared their work and stories.” – Hannah
After an initial consultation from Together Films Founder & CEO Sarah Mosses, Together Films worked on an outreach strategy for Sundance Film Festival: London (9-12 June). We connected with 38 industry and community partners to help amplify the festival’s full slate of outstanding films, including Good Luck To You Leo Grande starring Emma Thompson and highly-anticipated documentary Fire of Love.
Sarah also took part in a sold-out session on social impact strategy, alongside Ben Dalton of ScreenDaily, and Jessica Edwards, Director of Impact and Partnerships at The Doc Society sharing insights and top tips with the wider industry.
At Athena Film Festival (11-20 March), a celebration of women and non-binary led independent films at Barnard College, New York, we collaborated with stellar Athena team to seamlessly bring together our digital campaign. We were especially thankful for our festival volunteers on the ground who captured the atmosphere of the festival first-hand.
Later in June the whole team were able to head to Sheffield DocFest (23-28 June), with a whopping 154 films, 31 talks and sessions, and the boundary breaking Alternate Realities programme. The theme of the festival was ‘Reconnect with Documentary’ and there was a huge buzz as we welcomed filmmakers, activists and sports personalities to share their passions for the breadth of the documentary form – film, television, immersive and art. Sarah and John-Paul Pierrot, Head of Digital Marketing & Partners at Together Films, headed up the Marketing and Audiences team at DocFest, working with the inventive DocFest team and Interim CEO Clare Stewart, to offer marketing strategy and oversee creative design, publications, creation of marketing materials and a website rebuild.
In wake of the political catastrophes including the war in Ukraine, Roe falling in the US and the Police, Crime and Sentencing Act passing in the UK, we feel all the more impassioned that film and film festivals broaden perspectives and bring people together to spark vital conversation. We are so thankful to be part of this community, surrounded by filmmakers and audiences carrying messages of hope, resilience and resistance, and are proud of the work we have achieved in communicating their message in our impact campaigns.
Before we leave, we’d love to signpost you to our festival partners and some of the incredible films they showcased…
Do sign up to their newsletters, stay tuned for special announcements and offers, and we’d love to see you there next year!
If you are seeking marketing support for your festival, please get in touch with JP@TogetherFilms.org