From a film industry perspective, film festivals in Germany are still reduced to their function as a targeted instrument for a differentiated marketing strategy for film productions. This explains why the official German authorities for the collection of statistical data in the field of national production, distribution and exploitation of film festivals lead a shadowy existence. On the part of the FilmFörderungsAnstalt Berlin (FFA), as part of its annual study on special cinema forms, the annual visitor numbers of only 9 of more than 400 film festivals in Germany are recorded and their annual key figures have only been shown as an independent category since 2010 and not cumulated with the data of the IMAX/3-D halls. On this basis, for lack of sample size, no concrete information on the economic situation or reliable trends can be derived.

The study on the scope, diversity and development of the German film festival market, which has been regularly updated by us since 2012, shows, among other things:

1. Size and growth of the German film festival landscape
Since the 1980s to the present day, the German film festival landscape has been characterised by a sustained and very dynamic growth trend. At the end of 2013, just under 350 film festivals could be identified, but by the end of 2019 there were already far more than 400 film festivals. However, this increase is not based solely on new start-ups, but also on actors who, in the course of professionalisation and growing awareness, only become visible to the wider public after a few issues.

2. Distribution of the German film festival landscape by federal states
Bavaria got in 2018 the film festival’s richest state, just ahead of Berlin. Thus, the two top film festival countries form both a city and an area state. The number of film festivals clearly correlates with the positioning of the federal state as a media location.

3. Distribution of the German film festival landscape according to the size of the location
Film festivals are increasingly to be found in an urban environment. However, this does not only apply to large cities, but increasingly also to small and medium-sized cities with 50,000 to 100,000 or 100,000 to 500,000 inhabitants.

4. Correlation betwenn the German cinema landscape and the film festival landsacpe
Even though some of the states with large numbers of screens have an equivalent in film festival density, this correlation cannot be observed throughout. Rather, it seems that federal states, which are experiencing a strong cinema death, are compensating for this loss with an increasing number of film festivals.

The relevance of well-founded market analyses is based not only on the low level of knowledge of film festivals as actors in the media industry, but above all on the desideratum on the structure and potential of the German film festival landscape, as well as the profile and key data of its individual actors. This knowledge, however, is a prerequisite for analysing the increasing economic significance of film festivals in the context of newly emerging fields of operation in order to make their economic effects more concrete.

Recommendation for citation: Krainhöfer, Tanja (2020): The German Film Festival Landscape 2019. A quantitative study of German Film Festivals. Unpublished Pilotstudy. Munich

[Update: Sept. 2020]