Film festivals are popping up like popcorn popping at movie theaters. These festivals are part of an explosion of film festivals all around the world. Why the movie mania? Everybody loves a film festival! Towns and cities, as well as local merchants and individuals, are sponsoring and supporting local film festivals just for the opportunity to host them, to bring in tourism, promotion of their town and their business or services, encouraging film production in the area, and for the myriad of local cultural benefits.

There’s a tremendous financial impact and economic development for any town, and, for the people who live there, it’s an opportunity for cultural enhancement, and a well-regarded film festival can often triple a town’s population for the duration of the event. And once the festival-goers visit the town for the film festival, they come back. Plus, for towns whose busiest season is summer, an early fall film festival event can mean more off-season tourism, and more money spent on lodging, meals, rental cars, shopping, and so on, during an often slow time.

Movies, movie stars — and moviemaking — still create that magnetic, even magical aura that’s drawn many millions of fans to movie theaters, ever since the silent-film days of D.W. Griffiths.