At this time of year, the Hawaii International Film Festival would usually be gearing up to fill theaters. Instead, HIFF and the entire global film business are figuring out how to do festivals in your home.
When PBN sat down with Hawaii International Film Festival executive director Beckie Stocchetti to discuss changes to its big fall festival, we found a business leader participating in a global transformation in two industries: film festivals and film distribution.
One big change is that normally, festival staff travel to other festivals to scout films and meet with distributors to secure the rights to screen a movie. With the travel restrictions in place, that’s been impossible and HIFF has had to find other ways to make those connections.
Another is that fee structures and security mean different things. Now that festivals have no choice but to stream the films to people’s homes, distributors are more willing than in the past to negotiate streaming rights. And festival organizers are rapidly learning about which software platforms best prevent piracy so that they can meet distributor expectations about security.
People love film festivals in part because they attract the performers and directors for in-person Q&As. Stocchetti is focused on replicating that experience for this 40th anniversary HIFF and while virtual Q&As may lack that personal touch, she says that one trade-off is the scheduling flexibility which could result in HIFF fans hearing from more filmmakers than ever this year. The festival will run from Nov. 5th through 29th.
The Hawaii International Film Festival is also an underwriter of Hawaii Public Radio.