You’ve been asking . . . what’s the scariest part of hosting a film festival? [Hint: It’s not the zombie films.]
Well, today I’ll share the second most daunting part of hosting a film festival (stay tuned for the number one most challenging). That elephant in my psychic room . . . is . . . asking for money.
We Need Money?
Here’s the thing: North Carolina has a surprisingly long, 100+ year, history of films being made here and, today, the state’s independent filmmaking scene is HOT. In addition to those facts, I believe—and the museum supports my belief—that folks who make films are making history. That allows the state history museum, and Longleaf in particular, to have roles in introducing these wonderful films to film fans, old and new, and enables filmmakers and film fans to see themselves reflected as parts of the state’s story.
But to do this takes money. Longleaf is a free-to-attend film festival, which means the usual revenue stream of ticketing is cut off to us, and we don’t want to change that aspect of Longleaf. We do receive some funds from submission fees and a bit from concessions and fund-raising events during the year, and we work very hard to keep costs low. Still, we do have expenses:
- honorariums, and
- tech help,
just to name a few. And we’d love to be able to afford advertising so we can let more folks know about Longleaf!
A Scary Panic
There’s a reason I have (almost) three liberal arts majors and an MA in history—to write and produce entertaining (and educational) history films, to take the museum out of the building to K–12 folk across the state, to work with others on exciting exhibit teams, and to organize a film festival—but NOT to ask for money, which panics me. Still, when you believe in what you do, you do what’s necessary:
With the help of terrific coworkers at the museum, we have developed several opportunities—at very reasonable levels—for sponsorship and some solicitation materials that look great and relay our range of benefits.
That was step one.
Reaching Out to Ask
Step two: I find myself preparing to do some asks—thanks almost entirely to my colleague Stacey, who is holding my hand and guiding me through the process, but also to Longleaf supporters and friends, as well as advisory board members Steve Neilson and Lance Bacon of Dagtype Films. Steve and Lance have given Longleaf their time, energy, and know-how over the years and are now helping me to meet folks who just might be interested in sponsoring Longleaf Film Festival and Longleaf-related events. Their enthusiasm and their belief in us, along with the enthusiasm and belief of all Longleaf folk, empowers me to get out there and ASK FOR MONEY.
When you believe, you act. I believe in independent filmmakers and film fans and the connections they make with our culture and history.
Wish me luck, though. And thank you, sincerely, to our existing and past sponsors.
We Can Create an Opportunity for You!
If you want to check out our sponsorship opportunities, which start at $100, visit our “Be a Sponsor!” page or download this simple cheat sheet of benefits. We also accept in-kind donations, and we will reward you and your company with any sponsorship-level benefits that are appropriate. If you care to make a personal contribution, you can donate any time through the PayPal button in the sidebar.
See, not so scary after all.
May 11–12 at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Film, Fun, and Community.