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Highlights - 29/06/2011


3 Questions for Tomas Prasek, Eventival



Tomas Prasek is one of the founders of the Eventival platform. Based in Prague, this company provides services, advice and tools to enable film festivals to enhance their promotional activities. Among the festivals working with Eventival are several festivals that are closely involved with to Europa Cinemas member cinemas, including the ZagrebDox in Croatia, the Sofia International Festival in Bulgaria and the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.

How did you get the idea of ​​creating Eventival?

I first began thinking of ways to improve film festival work with no entrepreneurial ambitions in 1997 when I was hired to build a properly functioning Guest Services department at the Karlovy Vary IFF which, at the time, had just begun growing in terms of films and especially in the number of filmmakers and guests invited. I soon realised there was no blueprint to follow; it was like reconstructing a vanished city from old maps and testimonies. The first year was also tough because I had no interest in information technology. But when a quiet guy who used to work as the festival's IT support showed me an accreditation system he was building, I realised it could be expanded into something far bigger. New ideas poured in with every festival edition, and in 2000 we were approached by the founder of the Bergen IFF in Norway who was one of the first festival directors to see its potential abroad. I translated the system into English, we participated in the first BIFF edition, and in 2001 left the KVIFF to pursue the project of implementing the system at festivals around the world.

When in 2008 its limitations began to show, another visionary came by - the British media and internet entrepreneur Adrian Johnson. Together with him and a long-time festival colleague, Dawna Cha, we founded Eventival. After three years of development, we presented it at the Berlinale in 2011, and since then it has become the main tool for planning, organisation and logistics for nearly three dozen film festivals around the globe. At the moment, almost one new festival per week begins to use it, and we are thrilled to hear how much it improves the work of our former colleagues at film festivals.

Can you present Eventival, its benefits for the cinemas and the networks?

Eventival is a crucial data management and event planning tool for organisations in the film industry, mainly film festivals. Roughly speaking, it is an online database storing and archiving data about people, companies, films and projects, and at the same time an application with a multitude of functions tailor-made for managing general daily activities of film-related companies, as well as the very specific ones of festival-type events. Festival staff members with access to Eventival stay informed about the work done at their office whenever and wherever they need, and communication within the organisation as well as with its contributors (filmmakers, journalists) improves dramatically. Eventival is linked with the Cinando database, and will soon be linked with other European film databases and online video libraries.

While several of our festival partners are in Africa, Asia and the US, the greatest number of our clients and collaborators are obviously in Europe. 

While initially developed for film festivals, Eventival is being increasingly used by other organisations with similar needs for accurate data and seamless communication.

What are your plans?

Considering the enormous effort it took to create Eventival, and the amount of universally-applicable experience and knowledge that went into it, our ambition is obviously to see it become an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to run a film festival as a solid, transparent, well-managed and respected cultural event. 

As the number of film festivals using Eventival grows, the quality of the data that circulates in the virtual film industry universe will improve, and so will the experience of filmmakers who submit their films. When only a few film festivals existed, it was not a major problem that each of them required the filmmakers provide different information because most communication was done on paper. However, at the time of the internet, thousands of festivals and millions of filmmakers, the need to unify for instance a film submission system within Europe is becoming apparent. We can begin with film festival associations uniting festivals of the same genre or type, later we can try to do that on a European level. The goal is simple - let the festivals and filmmakers focus on the content by straightening and cleaning the communication channels between them.

Last but not least… I remember my desk being full of papers and my desperation at how short-lived their

importance was. Being an online tool, Eventival might actually save a few trees every week.