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Bryan Wendorf: The Future Of Film Festivals

Has the Internet killed the film festival? Hell yeah, according to Chicago Underground Film Festival co-founder and current Artistic Director Bryan Wendorf. But, don’t take the above embedded video interview conducted by film journalist Ray Pride of Movie City News as being nihilistic. This is just the reality of the world these days and the future of the underground just has to adapt.

This is a really interesting, off-the-cuff interview conducted outside of the Empty Bottle bar after CUFF’s award ceremony this year. But, one of the more telling subjects that Wendorf brings up is that how even in a big city like Chicago with all the diverse entertainment options available for people, it’s still a struggle to get big audiences to come out to see films. I’d almost think it would be the opposite that it would be easier for a festival like CUFF to draw in big audiences just from the fact that it’s located in such a large metropolis. However, whatever I would think would be wrong.

I really like Wendorf’s notions about figuring out ways of making audiences feel more connected to the underground movement overall. This plays into my own ideas of creating a stronger “underground film loop.” I’d really like to see more underground fans write or blog in some fashion about the films they see. The main joy of producing┬áthe Underground Film Journal is feeling intimately connected with a concept, a movement, an artform or whatever you want to call it that’s bigger than just myself. It is, as Wendorf notes, very punk rock.

We’re all in this together: Filmmaker, blogger, festival programmer. Let’s turn this shit out.

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  • Brian Lonano says:

    Completely agree. Now I feel bad I put my movies online. It’s true that the internet can allow a larger audience to see your film…HOWEVER, I will always champion the film festival experience for any filmmaker. It’s a great experience for the film and the filmmaker. I always make sure the film runs the festival circuit first before slapping it online. I have noticed that film festivals find some of their selections from the internet..so it can really go either way.

  • Ethan Marten says:

    Film festivals will adapt as radio did to television, and motion pictures to DVD’s and the home theater.

    There is nothing to replace the live experience of a festival. My business partner and I were fortunate enough to meet at one of the NY Film Festivals, and now the World Premiere of our first feature together screens in October. It would have been hard to pull that off online.

    Ethan Marten, Producer
    Atlantis Down