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What are you doing to get the most out of your film debut at SXSW?

So, you have a film at South by Southwest (SXSW) and you want to make a splash. Of course, you want to capitalize on this moment in time and make the most of your film’s debut.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Do I hire a PR firm, or an event team, and do I need someone to manage my social media strategy?” Do you have someone on your team that truly knows the film industry, Austin and SXSW? Red Fan walks you through the basic steps so that you can make some smart decisions when premiering your film at SXSW!

Film publicists are tasked with spreading awareness of a film among the media and crafting the initial message around a film. The best film publicists shoulder responsibility as a communicator and ambassador, working with clients throughout all phases of a film’s journey through the festival process. They consider networking opportunities, find ways to market the film to different audiences, attract various interest groups, and, perhaps most importantly, get butts in seats for the premiere.

The role often involves social media consulting or hands-on guidance, ensuring film assets like photos, filmmaker bios and a solid engaging website are in place. Filmmakers expect advice, if not help, on planning a party around the film, what to anticipate if they have a red carpet, drawing media to the red carpet and then the follow-up. You can expect your film publicist to take on many roles, keeping all of the balls in the air at one time so you don’t have to!

Besides traditional PR, a solid public relations team can help create your one-of-a-kind film premiere event. A good SXSW event is not judged just on what happens in the moment of the party, but on the buzz leading up to it and lingering post-party satisfaction among those who attended and the envy among those who wish they had. A good film event is about partnerships and sponsorships created, establishing potential new relationships, and of course seizing the moment to celebrate the premiere’s accomplishments.

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SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Among the many great Red Fan success stories is the U.S. premiere of “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon”, Mike Myer’s’ directorial debut that documents Shep Gordon, one of the most widely known talent managers in the entertainment industry. Only a few weeks prior to the festival, Red Fan was called on to create and coordinate the after-party for the U.S. premiere. Under an abnormally tight deadline, the Red Fan team made this event the must-attend party during SXSW, with Shep Gordon, Mike Myers and other celebrities in attendance. Red Fan’s team created sponsorship arrangements that raised funds to finance the event,including relationships with Austin Monthly and their advertisers who were looking for a way to connect to SXSW, Tito’s Vodka and Blackbird Bakery.

Red Fan developed the VIP list of attendees for the client, who didn’t have a deep Austin Rolodex but wanted to be more connected in the community. The PR team focused on securing top media to attend the event and scored significant press coverage and an outstanding social media outpouring.

Behind the scenes, Red Fan’s event planner, Alicia Hawley, was busy taking the lead to infuse the party with “a traditional Austin-authentic casual vibe with great live music and not a high-tech-sleek-we-just-landed-in-Austin type of vibe.” To top it off, Willie Nelson performed for an intimate crowd of 400 VIPs, and everyone agreed it was a very special party.

Even if you have an amazing publicist who can pull together a PR plan and event for you last-minute, it’s worth it, and better on your budget, to plan ahead and have the right connections on the ground in Austin. Aside from determining your budget, you can determine your goals for the film at the festival and identify smart ways to implement within your budget. And even if you have a solid internal PR team, it’s important to find an Austin partner, a firm like Red Fan, who knows how to collaborate and leverage local connections for maximum client value. We look forward to hearing from you!

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