The international film industry is thriving, and it’s successful in bringing to the forefront movies that tackle topics mainstream films fail to do. These artistic outputs are strengthening the concept of foreign films as eye-openers to the issues of the world.
Sadly, such films that garner attention and interest from critics remain obscure to the general movie-viewing audience. This is despite being selected for special screenings in world-renowned film festivals such as the Sundance, Toronto, and Venice International Film Festivals.
However, this is all bound to change. There is a growing community of true-blooded film enthusiasts in Dubai who are making it their mission to support critically acclaimed indie, foreign language films. They work to promote the activity of watching movies not only as a source of entertainment but also as a powerful introduction or gigantic window to the rest of the world.
Indeed, one of the amazing qualities of the film is that it can broaden the perspective of humans on life and stir curiosity about the possibilities beyond one’s neck of the woods.
Taking unpopular foreign films to the mainstream
Typically, artsy and often obscure foreign films are only showcased in a venue participating in a film festival. But, the goal of hardcore movie lovers is to bring such movies to mainstream theatres. This way, the chances of people checking them out will increase.
The strategy is to feature at least one critically-acclaimed foreign film in a lineup of attractions in most local theatres. The current reality, however, is a lot of these theatres do not wish to participate in this initiative. Due to the low popularity of such films, local theatre businesses find the lack of viewership as an unnecessary loss.
Movie activists are not perturbed. They are utilizing other clever tactics to effectively bring these films to the consciousness and interest of many. Here are five of them:
1. Targeting Schools
Most schools have their theaters. Therefore, they are good options for film viewing. At the same time, schools have subjects or courses that can correlate with the theme of foreign films and reinforce certain lessons taught in class.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that film distributors, along with hardcore film enthusiasts, can easily target the interest of educators and students through foreign movies that have earned rave reviews and even high grosses in their home countries.
This is all just a matter of meeting with school administrators and presenting the movie as an artistic repository of valuable lessons.
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2. Playing Up the Social Impact Factor
Social impact is considered a reliable marketing tactic. In this day and age where people seek awareness and long to make a difference in society, it definitely helps to attach social impact to films.
This is not the only way of playing up the social impact factor for foreign films. With certain agreements for distribution, these movies can likewise be used as fund-raisers for social causes or themes that the movie somehow taps into.
It’s like killing two birds with one stone — they financially support and increase social awareness through movies.
3. Organizing Exclusive Movie Screenings
There’s nothing like an exclusive arrangement to get more people interested in a film. Distributors and supporters hype up the film and may offer a VIP movie-viewing experience.
What happens here is a lot of people are drawn to the provision because of the projected scarcity and urgency. But, eventually, they are treated to the real value of the film. The exclusive experience works in appealing to people’s natural inclination toward learning something new or unique and making them long to take part in similar affairs in the future.
For an exclusive movie screening in Dubai, a luxury cinema is chosen for the event.
Doing this allows the private screening to morph into a more exciting occasion. Luxury cinemas offer a variety of perks such as gourmet food, red carpet welcome, limited merchandise, souvenir-worthy invites — all the components of a successful cinema party. It’s worth noting that a well-organized private movie screening at a premier theater can also serve as a fundraising event.
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4. Getting Influencers to React to the Movies
This strategy is relatively new, and it’s carried out on popular social media sharing site, YouTube. Distributors reach out to specific YouTube influencers and get them to react to the movie while sharing snippets of the movie in their video. These personalities do not only react, but they also share their film review.
The usual practice is to release the reactions after the official date of showing in the country. The followers of the famous YouTube personalities then get pertinent information that will help them decide if the movie is worth seeing at the theater or not.
This strategy is considered one of the reasons why a lot of old foreign films are becoming quite popular among young audiences, and the interest stems from creative YouTube Trends. The “Try Not to Eat Challenge,” for instance, started from the delicious scenes in everything from old Studio Ghibli movies to French art films.
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5. Working on a Feature in Lifestyle Shows and Publications
Pitching foreign films to feature in lifestyle shows and publications is another sound tactic in getting these not-so-popular movies out to the general public.
Since a lot of people rely on these online and offline platforms for suggestions on entertainment and leisure, working on having them featured indeed helps in generating buzz. This buzz often leads to people actually viewing the movie where it’s showing.
Also, when these films are featured in such platforms, there’s a good chance that they will get shared exponentially online — especially now that such platforms are linked with social media sites.
Go Watch a Film You Normally Wouldn’t
There’s no denying that popular films bring great entertainment, and they are perfect opportunities for creating fun and joy in busy lifestyles. So, it’s a lovely development that a lot of foreign films are being taken out of obscurity and gaining more attention.
Show your support to foreign language and indie films. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Chances are, you will emerge more open-minded after viewing these films because of the numerous themes they explore. Additionally, they may refresh your appreciation for films and even enrich your life.
Paul Fox is the Director of Roxy Cinemas under Meraas Group/DXB Entertainments. Roxy Cinemas currently has five Dubai locations: The Beach, La Mer, City Walk, Box Park, and Bollywood Parks.