Every year I am amazed by some of the performances I see in Dances With Films movies, and every year I'm astonished by the lack of attendance by the professional casting community.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Festivals have become more about the supposed auteur than the team of people it really takes to make a movie. Actors can also get lost in the shuffle, since they might work as little as a day on a movie that takes a year to finish.
But there is no reason that a film festival can't be as much of a showcase for actors as it is for writers, directors, photographers, etc. There is a huge difference between a one-minute reel and carrying a film.
Yes, I know that most of the job of a casting director is negotiating contracts for the stars, but they also have to fill those hard-to-find supporting roles. They have to have files for when a director says, "I want a fresh face." They have to be ready to strike a balance between a director's desire for "someone no one has ever seen before," and a producer's need for a professional who won't hold up production.
So, filmmakers of year 15, let's see if we can't make this the year of actors. Add your cast to our Facebook page. Encourage them to have the same open, positive, promotional sharing of information between actors in all the films as you have done.
Who has an agent that's coming to see the movie they are in? Who doesn't have an agent, but would like to get them to their screening? Who is an actor/writer/producer/director that would like to scout cast & crew from the other movies? Who has a good relationship with a casting director who should come to the festival? Who is going to make sure that the casting director from your movie is going to come to the festival?
Filmmakers remember, what's good for your cast in other films is good for you in yours.