Whichever way you look at it the Oktoberfest, October Fest, Beer Fest, equals beer and the infamous lederhose and Dirndln…
It is, as few of you may know who do not live here, also one of the largest networking events in Munich. Everyone who is anyone who depends on business relationships to go forward, reserves a table at the Oktoberfest and invites clients, potential clients, their own employees and business relations to attend. That is, if the business depends on the Bavarian Market in any way. With that said, the film business is no exception. The difference between the Oktoberfest and Cannes, another major networking event, is that in Cannes it’s pretty much a free for all divided into two classes: those who are hugely successful and everyone else. So if you aren’t hugely successful, you are bound to bump into anyone, at any given minute, who might be someone for your project in the “everyone else” category which ranges from amateurs to recently short listed for something professionals. At the Oktoberfest it is a bit different. The class stratification is obtrusive. You are specifically invited to a table, where you probably already know the people. It’s not like you can get a ticket or simply know someone who knows someone to get you in (of course there are exceptions to the rule). You must be invited. If you don’t know them or have no business relations with them, you don’t get to sit with them, and unlike Cannes, the Oktoberfest is not a great introduction networking event, unless you happen to be at the table next door. I mean, with only 14 large tents that seat between 2000 – 7000 people on any given hour, it’s not completely impossible to bump into someone “net-worthy”.
Since a lot of the film business depends on pure luck, you may get lucky, so why not?
If you are looking to co-produce with Bavarian companies I would suggest you meet them in Cannes, keep in touch and hope to get invited to their table during the Beer Fest. You might be that much closer in sealing a deal. To everyone else in the business, who happens to be in Munich during those crazy 3 weeks, attend the Oktoberfest, enjoy it and keep your eyes open, you never know who might be standing next to you.
Do decide quickly though if you are coming, as the Festivities begin in exactly 5 days.