Money cannot buy happiness but it can buy practically everything else. Today EEFF launched its crowd-funding campaign, in order to keep on offering free parallel activities, along with its main programme. A few months ago, the festival became constituted as a non-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC). CICs, according to the official website of the UK government, are social enterprises that use their surplus for the public good; they reinvest any profits they have in their business instead of taking advantage of it by dispersing it among shareholders.
That, of course, puts limits to what activities the festival is able to organize and what kind of films it can attract. In other words, financial deficiency puts restrictions into EEFF's creativity. However, EEFF wants to stay independent, which is an honourable choice, and for this reason, a crowd-funding campaign seems like a rational venture. It is a smart move, as EEFF takes pride in being a festival for and of the people. Headline sponsors and stakeholders are unnecessary.
Source: http://xmedia.ex.ac.uk/wp/wordpress/what-your-uni-years-will-be-like-a-filmic-narration-through-gifs/, taken from 'Bridesmaids' (2011), directed by Paul Feig
All this brings in mind some of the main issues we discussed in one of my optional modules, Art of Management: Management of Art. According to Justin Lewis 'Art, Culture and Enterprise' (1990, p.5), art is a 'cultural practice' that entails the production of a particular object, which functions 'as a self-conscious, personal, or collective expression of something'. On the other hand, economics is a science which analyses social behaviour 'as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses' (Robbins, 1945, p.16). For me, the combination of these two is the essence of what my job and every job in the Cultural and Creative Industries ensues. Even though profit might not always be the purpose, the cultural industries, as all other industries, need an financial basis on which to prosper (Frey, 2003).
Source: http://xomeli.tumblr.com/, taken from 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (2013), directed by Martin Scorsese
What do all of these mean in a practical level? Relentlessly negotiating screening fees and trying alternative deals with sales representatives, venue owners, and so on. Insufficient funds can sometimes lead you to deadlocks. It is true that the commercialization of art can degenerate it, and undermine its value and its mission (Austin and Devin, 2009). However, as Jonathan Swift said 'a wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart'. And that's EEFF's mentality in a sentence.
- Austin, R., Devin L., 2009. It Is Okay for Artists to Make Money. No, Really, It's Okay. Harvard Business School: Cambridge.
- Frey, B., 2003. Arts & Economics: Analysis & cultural policy. Springer Verlag: Berlin.
- Gov.UK, n.d.. Community Interest Companies. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-regulator-of-community-interest-companies [Accessed 16 April 2014].
- Kickstarter, 2014. East End Film Festival. Available at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eeff/east-end-film-festival [Accessed 16 April 2014].
- Lewis, R., 1990. Art culture & enterprise. Routledge: London.
- Robbins, L., 1945. An Essay on the Nature & Significance of Economic Science. Macmillan and Co: London.