By Tonya Mantooth, CEO & Artistic Director San Diego International Film Festival
Have you ever taken an inspiring trip to a film festival like Sundance or Telluride or Toronto? Or, are you thinking of planning an unforgettable getaway around a film festival experience?
Festival Tourism is big business and an industry segment that’s growing by leaps and bounds as adventurers seek new and unique experiences when they travel!
The San Diego International Film Festival is the ideal travel destination in October and welcomes visitors from around the world to gather for a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience! Partnering with the San Diego tourism and hospitality industry, we showcase the best of the Festival as well as everything San Diego has to offer.
The drivers behind this growth in Film Festival Tourism include:
Economic impact for tourism sector
Cultural enrichment for local community
Forum for Filmmakers/Film Buyers/Distributors
Sundance Film Festival is a great example of economic impact. In 2019, Sundance attracted 116,800 attendees, with approximately 44,000 of these attendees being visitors from out of state. According to the Sundance organization’s site, “In total, the Sundance Film Festival contributed $167.5 million in Utah gross domestic product, 2,730 jobs for Utah residents, $88 million in Utah wages, and $17.8 million in state and local tax revenue.”
Santa Barbara Film Festival’s 11-day long event is another example. It attracts 95,000 attendees with 80% of those attendees being from outside of Santa Barbara’s County! Although a smaller county than most of its Southern California neighbors, visitors to Santa Barbara also enjoy its beautiful scenery, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers while attending their Festival.
The Tribeca Film Festival was created by Robert De Niro in 2002 following the 9/11attack on the World Trade Center in New York. De Niro aspired to help boost both the morale and the economy following the structural and mental trauma of the 9/11 attacks. As noted by KC Wright, writer for Backstage, “The Tribeca Film Festival has brought an estimated $750 million worth of economic activity to Manhattan helping to revitalize the hearts, minds, and businesses of countless numbers of the city’s residents”.
In addition to contributing economically, festivals enrich the cultural life of a community. They are a gathering place for filmmakers, artists, innovators, and the global creative community who embrace cinematic storytelling in all of its forms. And who doesn’t want to hang out with these people at screenings, parties, and panels?
And finally, let’s not forget that Festivals give voice to independent Filmmakers from around the world who are passionate about their work. By providing a platform for their work to be seen, Festivals provide the film watchers with different perspectives that hopefully lead to a better understanding of what connects us through our shared humanity.
So, here’s a tip for your film festival vacation planning. Festival season begins in January and literally circles the globe until the end of the year. The San Diego International Film Festival’s place on the circuit in October is right after the Toronto Film Festival which puts our curated films in the glidepath for awards consideration. Through the years we have screened premiers that have garnered 22 Academy Awards and 103 Nominations!
Here at the San Diego international Film Festival, we are proud of the economic and cultural benefits we bring to our hometown. Not only do we help provide economic stimulation in our community but also an opportunity for local San Diegans to see the films and interact with Filmmakers from around the world.
Treat yourself to a truly extraordinary entertainment experience and join us in beautiful San Diego in October! Buy Your Pass