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Film Festivals: The Real Town Moneymaker

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 by

We could easily preach the gospel that is the advantages of a film festival, for all its service to the independent film community and it’s surrounding community as a whole: giving voice to young and upstarting filmmakers, catering to a wide range of interest in genre and subject-matter, and most of all upholding film as a significant form of entertainment.  

What’s more enjoyable (and effective) is sitting back and watching as film festivals thrive, proving that their existence bring about much more than simply a few days of moving pictures on a screen.  The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival reports another year of astounding growth, drawing record attendance and yielding 2.1 million dollars for the local economy, an increase of $320,000 over 2011. The event generated close to $73,000 in tax revenue for the city of Durham according to the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, an increase of $20,000 over 2011.

Festival organizers report an overall increase in attendees, hosting over 32,000 patrons and selling out a record 38 events. Many locally owned businesses also saw increased revenue during the 4-day festival with some local restaurateurs reporting the busiest weekends in the history of their establishments. Full Frame Executive Director, Deirdre Haj elaborates, “As the festival continues to grow in ticket and pass sales, we are even more excited to share this growth with our sponsors and the local businesses of Durham. And with our year-round programming and youth programs, we know these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg in both local sales and tax revenue for our city.”

Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO, Shelly Green adds, “Spending by visitors to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is substantial, but there is more than just the impact of the dollars spent. Full Frame receives great national exposure which garners a type of billboard effect within the documentary world. That leads to future visitation and even the relocation of some independent film companies to the area.”

This year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival presented 101 total films, including four Full Frame Tribute titles, ten Thematic Program titles, 57 titles in the NEW DOCS competitive program, as well as 30 films as part of the Invited Program. Of the 101 documentaries screened, 27 were premieres, including nine World Premieres, 13 North American and five US Premieres. There were 50 foreign titles from 27 different countries and 67 of the 101 films had filmmakers, subjects or a representative in attendance.

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