Cape Gazette

Thinking about festival from distribution side

By Betty and Gary Grunder | May 08, 2014

We read with dismay the article in the Cape Gazette of April 29 regarding the coming demise of the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival in its present form by 2015. For 17 years this event has provided thousands of people, both local and visitors, with meaningful and educational films from around the world. It is entertainment certainly, but entertainment with value.

Other letters to the Gazette have described the importance of the Festival from an aesthetic standpoint, an economic standpoint, and an educational standpoint; we, however, approach this from a different perspective, that of the distribution side of the process.

We are able to attend other film festivals and can report a different story. In Palm Springs, California, for example, two theater operators, Regal Cinema and Camelot Theaters, turn over a significant number of theaters or all of their theaters to the non-profit Palm Springs Film Society for a minimum of ten days to show festival films exclusively. In Philadelphia, Landmark Theaters turn over at least half of their Ritz Theaters to the non-profit Philadelphia Film Society. Film distributors accept this arrangement because they know the value of these festivals for their business. Acceptance at film festivals for films is a mark of success and achievement for film producers and distributors alike.

Over the years the Derrickson family has been generous and cooperative in the case of the Rehoboth Film Society’s festival. We understand the changes in the business models in the film distribution business and urge the Midway Theater owners to talk to their distributors to enable the festival access to theaters for the brief period of the five-day festival in November. We also urge the Rehoboth/Dewey Chamber of Commerce and hospitality and food service organizations that profit from the festival to work with the Theaters at Midway management to keep this treasure alive and well.

The Rehoboth Beach International Film Festival can be saved!

Betty and Gary Grunder

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