Getting Organized for Local Film Fests with B-Side

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Fantastic Fest 2007

The next three film festivals in Austin -- aGLIFF, Fantastic Fest and Austin Film Festival -- all use B-Side's web application for their scheduling. If you're attending any of these festivals, you'll want to take full advantage of the B-Side Festival Guide to build a schedule, rate a film, and see what other people are watching and rating.

Just one account will work to build schedules for all festivals that utlilize B-Side, and there are many, all around the country. The B-Side scheduler includes lots of nifty features, from creating personal schedules to running the Festival Genius, which can help optimize your schedule. 

The B-Side application is integrated into each festival's website; you can access it directly from the festival site, see when and where each film is playing, and add the films to your calendar. Each film has a page with a synopsis, date(s), venue(s), photos, trailers, category, notes about whether anyone involved in the film will attend, and statistics.

The stats show how many other festival goers have viewed the page, how many have added the film to their schedule, fest-specific ratings, and reviews. You can use these stats to decide just how early you'll need to get to the venue. You have all the information at your fingertips to decide which films are must-see, and you can browse by day, category, countries and type of film. There's even a category for "Guest in Attendance" so you can view a list of films that have filmmakers at the fest.

After you've added some films to your schedule, you can use the Festival Genius to optimize the schedule. Once your schedule is set, you can view it on the website, print it out, or upload it to your online calendar. If you have a smart phone, that means your schedule or even the full festival schedule can be at your fingertips on your phone. Most festivals will also include the official parties on the schedules as well, so you don't have to miss a thing.

The ratings and reviews are where you get to help the festival and the filmmakers, as well as other festivalgoers if there are encore screenings. It also lets the filmmakers know what you thought of their film, and they can use that feedback to get (or improve) distribution. When films play more than once, it lets other festivalgoers who might be on the fence about a film make scheduling decisions.  Everyone is helped if you take the time to rate and review, and doesn't take long at all.  The Buzz link can show you which films are getting the most reviews, adds, and views.

I've been using B-Side at festivals since Shane Black brought Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to Austin Film Festival, and have been hooked ever since.  If you poke around, you can find your friends and see how their schedules match with yours. The downside is B-Side hasn't integrated a strong social media interface yet, but if you know your friends' account names, you can find them. 

The aGLIFF and Fantastic Fest schedules are posted to their websites; visit the sites and access their B-Side calendars, and see how you can make the most of your festival experience.

[Photo credit: "Fantastic Fest 2007" by Jette Kernion.]