Photo by April Hattori.
Some of the city’s top publicists participated in the Ins & Outs of Film Festival PR panel discussion, produced by New York Women in Film & Television on April 23.
The distinguished panel featured Clare Anne Darragh and Lina Plath of FRANK PR; Sophie Gluck of Sophie Gluck & Associates; Omar Gonzales, vice president of National Publicity at PMK*BNC; Cynthia Swartz, founder/president of Strategy PR/Consulting; and Michele Stephenson, co-producer/co-director of American Promise. It was moderated by Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood and co-founder of The Athena Film Festival.
A surprisingly frank panel, the word from PR firms was: Don’t hire us for small film festivals. It’s a waste of your money. Their suggestion for promotion of your film at regional festivals is to get the press list and do the legwork yourself. Aim for placements with lower profile media and bloggers.
Other words of advice were: Finish your film first! Marketing and PR can’t be effective without a finished product. Higher profile media pitches for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and others will happen after the film is sold and before it runs. Last but not least, don’t expect publicists to influence reviews or guarantee placements. — APRIL HATTORI