This year SIFF has been nice enough to allow open access to the press website. There's a nice bunch of info, photo's etc. I stumbled upon a pdf list of all the titles playing in the festival this year. One thing I wanted to do (and maybe this is already somewhere and I just missed it) was get a quick count of how many films are showing per country. During the preview there was a mention that the list was much broader this year than most. At first I felt that way as I flipped through the guide. But as I drilled in (the search function on the website lists both shorts and features) I started to wonder how much depth there really was. For example, India has a HUGE film industry - but how many slots did they take up at SIFF in 2008? I decided to play around with the pdf and see if I could do some basic counting.
Just a few minutes later thanks to Excel I had my answers. It's probably not perfect as many films are listed as coming from multiple countries in the guide - but in the source list only the first listed country is included. This makes analysis simpler, but may under count things which are cross border collaborations. Even so it's good for a quick bit of fun. I've posted the excel file that resulted so you can play around yourself or have a master list of films wanted that for some other purpose. The file includes fields for film name, country, director, and the series each movie belongs to (for example Face the Music, New American Cinema, etc.) From what I can tell shorts are not included in the list.
The data seems to show 56 countries represented with a pretty long tail (only 9 countries have 5 or more films playing). I would have expected slightly more depth but I realize I've got nothing to compare it against. The selection does look pretty good overall - so nothing here so far to lower my expectations. You should be able to click on the graph above to see more details about the distribution.
SIFF it turns out, like most things is all about the Pivot tables. ;-)