In the wake of the streaming revolution and the global switch to remote following the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences across the world are reevaluating their feelings about how they watch movies. People are increasingly willing to watch films at home, online, or on mobile devices. To address the changing needs of moviegoers, WILDsound – a popular Canadian film festival – has released a new streaming service that offers the film festival experience to people across the globe in any setting of their choosing.
WILDsound: The Next Frontier of Film Festivals
WILDsound broadcasts a unique film festival every single day of the week, showcasing the best films from every corner of the world. Users can enjoy a growing library of independent films, original screenplays, novels, short stories, and poetry readings spanning all genres.
Fueled by the desire to provide filmmakers and screenwriters with a meaningful festival experience that centered on audience feedback, filmmaker Matthew Toffolo created the WILDsound Feedback Film Festival in 2007. The festival began as a monthly event at the National Film Board of Canada, growing steadily over time. By 2016, it had expanded to holding festivals in Los Angeles (and Chicago soon after that). WILDsound’s Toronto festivals had become a weekly event. Despite this, content is never repeated, and all genres are represented in the festival’s programming.
The festival has undergone many changes since its inception. Though its website and use of YouTube ads helped to make the festival profitable in the early years of its development, Toffolo claims that those sources of funding dried up in 2011, forcing the WILDsound team to rethink its approach and overhaul its strategies. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted WILDsound to move the festival online. This unique challenge actually blossomed into a valuable opportunity. The festival was able to grow in this new format, allowing them to showcase even more films. Since 2020, WILDsound has grown to host a daily film festival, categorized by genre.
In January 2022, WILDsound TV was officially launched. As founder Matthew Toffolo explains of this new approach, “Streaming services are the new currency.” He compares it to “having your own cable station in the 1980s.” WILDsound also created a podcast that provides filmmakers with another opportunity to promote their work.
The WILDsound Festival has been around for 15 years. In that time, it has showcased over 10,000 feature-length and short films, as well as over 8,000 screenplays. Even after years of changes, audience feedback remains a central element of the WILDsound Festival experience even today.
Accessibility was one of the team’s key concerns in creating the festival and adapting it for online audiences. According to the festival’s founder, “We get so many amazing films submitted to the festival, and people need to see these films and the talented filmmakers that made them; but when festival tickets cost hundreds of dollars or have exclusive requirements for entry, these films don’t get the reach and the attention they deserve.” This is why they set the price for the festival at just $4 a month (after the 7-day free trial).
The Future of WILDsound
The WILDsound team has come to view their platform more in terms of a streaming service than a film festival. This puts them up against fierce competition, but according to the team, WILDsound’s singular vision sets it apart from the rest of the streaming industry — most of which are huge organizations focused on material that is already popular. WILDsound founder Matthew Toffolo feels the festival’s unique concentration on short, indie, and previously unseen films is an advantageous differentiator for the platform. “There are so many fantastic short films that never get seen,” Toffolo adds. “That’s why we’re building a platform that can put these incredible films in front of new eyes.” WILDsound also plans to start producing its own films in the next couple of years, giving young filmmakers even more possibilities to grow their careers.
Learn more about WILDsound on the official website, http://www.wildsound.ca. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-568-9046. Follow WILDsound on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Listen to the WILDsound podcast for exclusive interviews. Submit your script or film to the festival on FilmFreeway.