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Is OTT Killing The Film Festivals?

One thing was loud and clear at the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa from November 20, 2022 that the crowd is thinning. The craze and eagerness among film buffs to attend such festivals seem to be waning. So this raises the question: Is digital viewing killing the film festival market? According to one of the film enthusiasts seen in this circuit, “I have been attending film festivals for ages now, and I can say that this year the crowds were less. Some of the regulars were missing too.” The opening day didn’t have much of the enthusiasm one has seen in the past. Has the pandemic changed everything for the festival? Another regular at these festivals says “The magic has gone out of the festival. Netflix and others seemed to have kept quite a few cinema-goers away. Why would anyone come to the festival when they can see it at home?” Also, the focus at IFFI has now shifted to marketing India as a shooting destination and not about the experience of cinemas. One could see a huge pavilion which had stalls of countries like Russia, France and others trying to sell their country as a “shooting destination”. It seems to have become a B2B marketplace not a place to showcase talent and creativity. This year’s edition of the film fiesta showcased a collection of 280 films from 79 countries.