Former Hot Docs Director of Programming, Sean Farnel kicked up a bit of a shitstorm recently by re-igniting the age-old debate on whether festivals should pay filmmakers for playing their films. Soon enough the festival blogosphere raised its head and shot down the argument once again. Tom Hall did a great job of laying out the economic issues faced by all fests. Heather Croall did a good job of bringing up the other value a fest brings to filmmakers, and in a brilliant comment to her post from Nick Fraser, we got some finger wagging at some other culprits in the not-paying-the-filmmaker-
But whether or not a festival can or should pay is ultimately just the first question we should ask, and then we should quickly move on to the deeper, thornier questions that might actually lead to some meaningful change. Such as? Well, such as: why have film festivals at all?