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Here’s Why Stock Photographers Need to Attend the Sundance and Berlin Film Festival

Imagine being able to cuddle up on your couch and tune in to Bird Box, while your stock photography sales are going faster than the likes for our record breaking egg?

That sounds like a dream we would all like to have. But what if we told you, your dream can be made possible? Films have massive potential to put a stop to the dreaded creative rut. And with the Sundance and Berlin film festivals fast approaching, the time is now to find out why you should be getting ready to jump on a plane!

The Sundance Film Festival

Held from January 24 – February 3, this gathering offers stock photographers the chance to rub shoulders with some of the world’s most original storytellers. Held in Park City, Utah, this internationally-acclaimed annual celebration has successfully paved the way for hundreds of films to showcase its beauty to a wider audience. Previous success stories include the likes of Get Out and Whiplash.

Additionally, Sundance’s appeal also lies in its ability to celebrate the minority and to empower marginalized communities. For 2019’s edition, Sundance has revealed, from the 112 films that were chosen: – 40 percent have been directed or co-directed by women. – 36 percent by persons of color. – 13 percent by the LGBTQ community. Impressive stats, but how do film festivals boost creativity for stock photographers?

For starters, the Sundance Film Festival illustrates the importance of embracing diversity. Over the years, stock photography has received an unwanted reputation of whitewashing images. Photographs of overly enthusiastic white men in polos have filled our content library. Hence, giving rise to the term of ‘stock-like’. Furthermore, stock photographers have also been guilty of portraying a fake representation of what the real world looks like. Men built like Brad Pitt in Fight Club and women with bodies of Victoria Secret angels have flooded our screens.

There is no room for ginger-haired scrawny teens, black moms with stretch marks and scars of birth, and beautiful androgynous models. However, the topic of inclusivity is one of the hottest trends in recent times. Therefore, the time is now for stock photographers to pick up their cameras and do their part to recolor and reshape our screens with accurate representations of what our world actually looks like.

The Berlin International Film Festival

Also known as the Berlinale, this international film festival is a cornerstone for European cinema. Held on 7 – 17 February, the Berlinale tagline of ‘a constantly evolving festival’ is fitting considering how this exhibition has transformed from a showcase of the free world in 1951, to a hub for intercultural exchanges in today’s world. What separates Berlin from the rest is its various categories which each seek to highlight and tackle different cinematic aspects and themes.

For starters, the Competition is the calling card of this festival, showcasing the top emerging actors and directors who are set to make the next big wave. However, other categories like the Berlinale Short and Berlinale Goes Kiez are where this festival begins to look the part. The former explores several social issues faced by the community through the film medium.

Meanwhile, the latter embarks on a fascinating journey to bring this festival to the art houses of smaller towns. This allows the audience to enjoy the festivities at their doorstep. Additionally, NATIVe sees a dedicated cinematic storytelling for the indigenous communities throughout the world. So, once again how do film festivals relate to stock photography?

The biggest takeaway here is learning from the Berlinale’s commitment to tell real stories of the world. The Berlinale Goes Kiez illustrates the importance of stock photographers to step out onto the streets and document actual street photography. This enables them to capture the emotions and personalities of people and how they choose to express themselves.

Furthermore, NATIVe illustrates the importance of storytelling on forgotten communities who live among us. Because this is the only way to preserve their traditions and ensure the world does not lose one of its earliest communities.

Rethinking your images  

The next time you pick up your camera, pause for a moment and think about what story will you be telling today. Because these film festivals have taught us, a world without a story is a world without meaning and purpose. Therefore, to all stock photographers, it’s now time to empower others through your lenses.

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