Founded in 1974, the Athens International Film & Video Festival has not only embraced the diversity of cinema and its creators, but also the diversity of their audience by utilizing a variety of promotional strategies, most notably the classic use of dogs on their posters and programming.
While working at a film festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, director of the Athens International Film & Video, Ruth Bradley conceived the idea through the inspiration of the film festival director who always placed a horse in its advertising. Attendees of the film festival would ask about the location of the horse the next year of the film festival, making it a sort of game; Bradley witnessed its effect and molded it into her own vision.
“[The dog] is a brand,” said Bradley. “No other film festival does this.”
Athens Film Festival fans have become enthusiastic about the next issue of film festival programs and even request that their own dogs be featured on the posters. The festival has used both photography shoots of people’s dogs and stock photo images, and recently collaborated with the College of Fine Arts to produce the 41st Film Festival program. There was also a special short video created for the Film Festival's 40th Anniversary last year which showcases a variety of program covers from throughout the years. Click here to see the video.
Marketing for the film festival has also extended to directly contacting local groups and university organizations to engage them with movie entries that may pique their interest. The film festival itself features clustered groups of genres such as “Comedy Night,” “Experimental Women’s Documentaries,” and “War Process” but also caters to certain demographics and interests with categories such as “Being Gay,” “Family Issues,” and “When Cultures Cross.” Sports groups, environmental organizations, music groups, LGBTQA communities, multicultural communities and many more may each find films that offer a sense of connectivity.
By realizing the significance of diversity and the possible interests of unique groups, the Athens International Film & Video Festival is an event anyone can partake in.
“The dog is a neutral thing that you can read anything out of,” said Bradley. “We’re not a special topic film festival, and the question when doing marketing is how to embrace all of these communities.”
The Athens International Film & Video Festival continues through today until the Thursday, April 17. For show times and information please visit: http://athensfilmfest.org/
Tickets are available at the Athena Cinema. All competition shows at the Athena cinema that start prior to 5 p.m. are free. International Feature (non-competition) films that start before 5 p.m. are $5. All shows that start after 6:00 p.m. are $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for seniors and children. Student tickets are free upon showing valid student I.D. for certain films while supplies last.