Berlinale teaches how to get your film out there

As independent filmmakers, with no multi million dollar corporation backing us up, how do we get people to go watch our film at festivals?

Let’s take a quick look at how guerilla marketing grabbed Berlin´s attention and made you know about the film and want to go see it!

To promote his movie 303, in which two students drive a motorhome from Berlin to Portugal and discuss their completely different world views, director Hans Weingartner parked his Hymer 303 motorhome, the one actually used in the movie, between the festival headquarters. He tacked a handwritten note on the passenger door telling people to check out the film.

“We just don’t have much money to rent advertising space so I thought why not mobile advertising?” Weingartner tells THR, adding his left-field marketing move has been a huge success. “Everybody stops. The bus has a very positive vibe to it and people respond to that. They respond to the idea of hitting the road and going to the sea and the sun.”

The mobile home symbolises the young couple travelling across Europe being torn between wanderlust and the longing to finally arrive. According to Weingartens plans he too wants to hit the road but then settle in a nice place somewhere in the south enjoying the heat.

This is not the only attempt at guerilla marketing Berlin has witnessed during its cold film festival season.

Even 20th Century Fox, which opened this year’s Berlinale with Isle of Dogs uses a very simple and down to earth approach to stir up interest in the Wes Anderson animated feature.

Taped to lamp posts all around the city are home made lost-dog posters, with a cartoon image of Spots, one of the film’s characters. The reward for anyone who contacts the number on the poster’s tear-off tabs gets entered into a contest for “a dog bowl full of tickets”.

These are good and simple examples of how to make a trip to the theatre personal and interactive. How can you make your film approachable? You´ve probably had help from your local community in whatever area of the filmmaking process. What if you knew your target audience and where to grab their attention where no one else normally would?

What if you were able to start a chain reaction of passing on a certain object in a community and causing a snowball effect? What if you got together with your crew and friends and did a flashmob in an unexpected place, drawing attention to your project? What if you did something provocative to bring your message across and use that as a way to point to your film? What if you got all the street musicians to sing the same song for a certain amount of time?

Finding an innovative approach to promote your film that ties in with your story can be fun and have an impact on your future audience!

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