05/02/2016 05:34 EDT | Updated 05/03/2017 05:12 EDT

Top Reasons Why Film Festivals Are Important

I love film festivals and love documentary films even more. I find this genre of movies more engaging and interesting that major box office flicks. They matter, and here's why.

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Festival hall and pavilion for annual film festival showings. The red carpet leading up steps for the Cannes Film Festival celebrity event.

I love film festivals and love documentary films even more. I find this genre of movies more engaging and interesting that major box office flicks.

In the next few weeks, I will be attending the DOXA film festival in Vancouver and I am excited. Why? Because the festival will be hosting films that reveal stories I am truly interested in.

The first film I will be seeing is, "Lampedusa in Winter." This documentary shares what happens when the rest of the journalists and film crews have left this tiny isolated island and the refugees' experience. For years, I have been reporting on migration issues and this film is the perfect extension to learning more on this topic.

The next film on my schedule is, "Cameraperson" I could write hundreds of blogs on my fascination with documentary cinematographer.

Film festivals are unique, in that there are few places where you could view films like this, in one place.

Here are a few more reasons why film festivals are important:

Showcasing new talent - An up-and-coming filmmaker can get her/his name out there and increase their acceptance into film festivals. The filmmaker can get acknowledgement purely for completing a work and getting it screened. There is also the potential for further awards and recognition.

Promoting tourism and the city - Film festivals draw in tourists from all over the world. It can also attract media and film fans who could potentially return again to the city for a visit on another occasion. Or they could share with their friends about how great the experience was and the city, encouraging new tourism.

Encourage community - This is probably one of my favourite aspects to film festivals, is the opportunity to meet like-minded people, discuss films and get to know people you wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to speak with.

Benefits local merchants - Tourists spend money. A film festival will attract tourists and during their stay, they will most likely visit local stores and restaurants.

Film festivals have not only proven effective in serving the interests of a community, but also increase their reach to other groups. Film festivals have an ability to grow and attract new and engaged audiences.

Another key ingredient to a successful film festival is the programming, so the festival is inviting and engaging.

Through the influence of compelling stories, film festivals can penetrate to the heart of what moves us and at the same time, reveal stories which we may not be able to see in other venues.

Film festivals are the ideal platform for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of experiences.

I would love to hear why film festivals are important to you, please feel free to share your comments below.

Let's have the very best 2016 ever!