When film producers Scott McKay and David Barras decided to launch Scotland’s first national Youth Film Festival in Armadale we knew we wanted to be involved!
Hot Tap had managed the digital and print marketing, content and PR for a range of film screenings and events, including the Freeze Frame project and The Network event, and plenty of events with somewhereto_. But this was to be our first full film festival.
We knew we had our work cut out for us. Film festivals typically take years to gain traction and build up a following, but we were starting from scratch, mostly screening films that nobody had heard of, in a small town in the central belt that (apologies to born and bred locals David and Scott) many people did not know existed! Oh yes, and we had just over a month to do it all in.
First of all we created a new branding package for the festival, to better reflect their core audiences and portray the DIY, fun, atmosphere of the festival. We created a solid PR and digital marketing strategy targeting film fans and families in the central belt, with more targeted activity in the town of Armadale itself, working with schools and libraries to get the word out. Social media was key, and we attracted 300 new followers in the short timescale, with a reach of almost one million.
Two great feature films, He Named Me Malala and Electric Man, were the cherries on the top of the schedule, and we used them to create content that would draw visitors to the festival.
Scottish Youth Film Festival had two awesome patrons – the actor Kevin Guthrie from Sunshine on Leith and Sunset Song, and local writer Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One and Redemption Road. We arranged a press photo event and interviews with a twist – the youth film-makers themselves got to ask all the questions, and join in the photoshoot fun – and used this to create a package of content that would draw people to the festival’s social media platforms. The young people themselves had to be at the heart of the festival though, so we interviewed them too, cutting the interviews together with clips from their films. They were delighted and all their friends commented on, and shared, these videos.
We worked closely with the programming team to ensure that changes to the schedule were updated on their website and reflected in the social campaigns, and to ensure that the growing number of partners were accurately presented.
In the end, well over 300 tickets were sold and a group of creative young people in Scotland got to see their films on the big screen – result! Hopefully SYFF will return again this year – we’ll be ready.