How do you get into a Film Festival?

January 22, 2018


Hello hello! Welcome back to the blog, and happy Monday! One of the most common difficulties in the world of film, is getting your work seen. Live screenings, Festivals, etc. It can be so difficult! Especially at first when you're not entirely sure what the process is. So today I thought I'd talk about the methods that I use for trying to get my work out there. As I've said in previous posts, I'm no expert! And everyone develops a routine or method that best suits them and their needs. But, if you've made a cool movie and just want to know the basics of sending it to festivals. Then hopefully you've come to the right place! There are a lot of different ways to go about this ranging from quite, easy to more difficult. So I'll start with one of the more simple methods. Google!. Just by searching "Film Festivals near me" you can find a lot of options. 



And if you specify your state, town etc. You can find even more. Some require a mail-in DVD or thumb-drive. Others, an online copy. And yes, Googling has it's up-sides, but here is the method I use every time to submit my films. It's a site called Filmfreeway. I absolutely love it! It makes the submission process as simple as a few clicks. When you first visit the site, you'll be prompted to create an account. After that you can browse the extensive list of festivals, from completely free submissions, to literally Academy Award Qualifying Festivals. They've got it all. And then some! In order to submit however, you generally need your film online, (YouTube, Vimeo etc.) that way you can add it directly to Filmfreeway without going through the upload process again. Filmfreeway isn't the only site that allows online submission. Other options are: Withoutabox, Submittable, Festhome, and many more! I've found that generally online submission is the fastest, most hassle-free way to deal with sending out your work. Something else I'd recommend is making sure your profile on these sites is completely filled out. I know it can be tedious and not the most fun, and yes, the festivals should really only be paying attention to your work, not the quality of your profile. But, I really feel it helps to have all the information you can up there. If the site asks for behind-the-scenes pictures, or a brief synopsis, etc. It's always a good idea to fill it all out. It just gives the festivals you submit to a lot more content to see, it lets them learn more about you and your film.



If your film is of a very specific genre, it's often helpful to search for festivals based off of that. For instance, when I submit my stop-motion film The Book Club, I generally look for Animation Festivals, or Shorts Festivals (as it is only 5 minutes long). This helps narrow the field and might make it more likely to get accepted. It's better to submit to a festival hosting films similar to yours, then to choose something on the opposite end of the spectrum. And one last tip, leave any expectations behind. This is something that you get better at with time (I still struggle with it a lot) but it's a great practice to get into early. If you go into submitting your work feeling entirely confident that you'll get into all the festivals, it's going to make the process a lot harder. These festivals get hundreds and thousands of submissions. Even if your work is amazing and you feel very confident, it doesn't necessarily mean it's exactly what the festival is looking for. Don't let it discourage you however, it'll probably happen a lot, I've been rejected from more festivals then I can remember (literally as I'm writing this post I've just been rejected from a festival!). But the times that I have gotten in, completely makes up for that disappointment. It's totally worth it, trust me! 


Thanks for tuning in! I hope you enjoyed the read, please do share this with anyone you think might be interested! If you'd like to receive an email twice a week with these posts, you can sign-up for my newsletter here or using the box below! I'll be back on Friday with another post! Have a wonderful week, stay safe, and be kind.






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