Film school students at the Savannah College of Art and Design have to write, direct, and produce a short film for their senior project. So would-be directors held a massive casting call in one of the buildings owned by the school. You go in, read for a dozen and change films, go home, and wait for the phone calls.

I was lucky to be offered some interesting roles in a few ambitious student film projects. Later on, I was surprised to learn that one of them, Sam Bargo and the Lacertilians, played a handful of film festivals.

I just had no idea how large that festival circuit was so immense and varied. As it turned out, the world of film festivals was considerably larger than what the iconic shows have to offer, such as Sundance or Cannes. I have no idea how Sam Bargo performed at the festivals it went to. I also have no idea if anything else I did ever went beyond a couple of screenings in Savannah. But as I kept up with Sam Bargo, I learned about the diversity of film festivals across the world.

If nothing else, use this list to remember that originality in film is far from dead. You just have to work through bullshit sometimes to find it. These festivals are committed to singularity, and they remind you that film remains a medium with a great deal to say.

Now in their 18th year, this extraordinary festival might just be one of the most diverse out there. Located in Long Island City, New York, Tromadance endeavors to make everyone feel like an equal, and as though they are truly part of a thriving, creative community.

Kaufman and the festival organizers succeed in brilliant fashion each and every year. Screenings are free, and there are no fees associated with submitting your own film to the festival.

Special programs are highlighted for indigenous films and French-Canadian films, and there are also sections dedicated to categories like Canadian Wave, Thrill Chill, and World Perspective. Held over the last days of April, the Speed Networking event might be the highlight for the truly ambitious. It gives young writers and directors the opportunity to impress industry reps.

The spirit of this festival is obviously a good deal different from Tromadance, which thankfully chooses to avoid Hollywood as much as possible. The National Film Festival for Talented Youth gives audiences a yearly indication that there are still new stories worth telling within the medium.

When I lived in Savannah, Connect Savannah gave me the opportunity to review the animated shorts that were being highlighted at the Savannah Film Festival that year. Amongst other highlights, screenings for this festival gives audiences the chance to watch breathtaking independent films in some of the most unique venues to be found anywhere.

Although accepting of both long and short film subjects, the festival seems to prefer the shorts. Twenty-five partners of the festival nominate a short film. The twenty-five short films then make up a significant portion of the festival.

The winning short receives the prize, which allows the winning filmmaker to continue to pursue their dreams. Given the prestige of the festival, simply being featured at this show is a better-than-average consolation prize. Strictly in terms of networking opportunities, Cinequest is something special. Comparatively more laid back than some of the other festivals featured on this list, the San Jose-based festivities begin February 28th, and it runs all the way to March 12th.

Screen Media, Netflix, and Magnolia are just a few of the companies that sends reps to meet with aspiring filmmakers and others. Yet it draws a sizable, passionate crowd each year, while also bringing together filmmakers from a wide range of backgrounds. Spread out across November 9th to the 13th, films are screened in the many unique venues that can be found throughout Wilmington. You can also find a pretty robust offering of documentaries, although the festival offers a number of different types of films.

Soundtracks are created from the festival highlights each year, and live music figures heavily into many of the events.Entering your film into festivals can be a long and emotionally draining journey. As filmmakers, we pour our heart and soul into our films, and by submitting them into festivals we find ourselves in a very vulnerable place. Getting the Congratulations! However, getting the Thanks for submitting but we had a lot of really good submissions this year email from a festival can be just as devastating.

Before we get started, keep one thing in mind: getting accepted into film festivals doesn't make your film good and being rejected doesn't mean your film is bad. Whether you have finished your film already or are getting ready to shoot one with film festivals in mind, just remember there is an art to submitting to film festivals. Film festivals aren't a place for mindless entertainment or for the most part a showcase of production value.

Festivals are looking to include films that make the programmers wonder, question, laugh, cry, or inspire. Therefore, find your voice and have something important to say. If you're not evoking some sort of emotional response from the audience, your film probably isn't personal enough. The last thing you want is for your film to be forgettable and lukewarm.

Even if a festival judge hates your film, that's ok because you evoked an emotional response. Sometimes it can be hard to read judges notes like this:.

5 Tips for Submitting to Film Festivals

Although, painful to watch at times, the sparse, dreamlike dynamic somehow works. No matter how harsh these criticisms might feel, nothing can top the feeling of someone actually connecting with your film on a deeper level and feeling that energy during a screening.

Or another filmmaker coming up to you at a festival to tell you how you've moved them, inspired them, and made them reflect on their own life through your film. Saying something personal with your film puts you in a vulnerable position and opens you up to heartache, but comes with greater rewards.

This is a very bold and hypocritical statement coming from someone who made a minute short film, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong! I'm going to dance a fine line here so let me put it as simply as I can.

film festivals worth submitting to

Make your film as long as it needs to be, but as short as possible. Over and over again, I kept getting advice from people who hadn't even seen it yet to cut my film down to minutes, because that's the sweet spot for festivals. While that might be the ideal length for a film festival, is it the right length for your film?

Film festivals program long shorts all the time, but they have to be really good because you're taking up slots they could fill with multiple works.

If your minute film takes up four 5 minute slots, the festival is potentially losing more filmmakers that could be promoting their festival. Multiple festivals reached out to me and let me know that they liked my film and wanted to program it, but they just couldn't find a slot for it because of its length.I agreed, not expecting the request to come to fruition artists can be flaky.

To my surprise, the film was fully produced, successful at festivals, and our journey is still unfolding. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, especially in my attempts to get the film in front of a wider audience. To save you from similar troubles, here are five tips to improve your chances of acceptance when submitting to film festivals:. The author and Chad Clendenin at Joshua Tree.

For example, a submission deadline in not a good enough reason to submit half-completed work with the promise of later improvement.

What Are The Benefits Of Submitting To Film Festivals?

We submitted our film to the Banff Mountain Film Festival when the film was still under production and were flat out rejected. You can avoid these and similar problems by having a clear trajectory of where you want to show your film with attention to their rules and regulations and what you want to achieve by submitting to film festivals. Set yourself apart by establishing specific career development goals. Let the purpose of your submission dictate the strategy. For someone like me with a short film, major distribution was unlikely because a company like Netflix has no interest in a fourteen-minute piece not yet, at least.

We also appreciated that the likelihood of a Vimeo selection increases if a film has been shown at an Oscar-eligible festival—so we submitted specifically to a few of these festivals see the dropdown menu here.

As a writer, I had an alternative motive in all this: knowing our film was going to supplement my book, I focused on opportunities with an affiliated book component. This could mean asking a select audience for feedback: Chad and I held several pre-screenings with close friends who critically evaluated our story craft and production elements my first voice over was terrible and they let me know it.

Trading is another great way to get work done on a tight budget. Chad was a one-person production team on the film but knew a colleague who could perfect the sound engineering, so Chad reached out.

We also utilized Kickstarter to encourage community while funding the film. When submitting to film festivals, utilizing connections is essential. Knowing someone can move your film past this screener phase—theirs can be the deciding referral that tips your submission toward acceptance.

We had a connection at Mountainfilm, so we swallowed our pride, asked this friend to put in a good word for us, and it worked. Be yourself and let your passion for the craft drive your interactions—who knows where the new connections could lead? If you know some of the other participants that will be attending the festival, research their work there is nothing more flattering. These connections often compound to increase the success of your film.

For example, getting into one film festival can open the door to many others, with smaller festivals sending scouts to larger festivals.

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Because Chad and I premiered at Mountainfilm, we had four other festivals approach us to attend their festivals too and forgo the arduous submission process. Everyone is overworked and underpaid in this industry. Showing a little gratitude and appreciation goes a long way.

Thank everyone from the volunteers especially the volunteers to the festival directors. This mindset has led him around the world, to nearly all of the U. At his core he is a writer. The book that inspired the film.F ilmmakers looking to get publicity for their films have a lot of festivals to consider. Understanding the full range of the top film festivals is critical to finding the best fit for your film. Each fest comes with its own vibe, history, and entry fee. But where do you start?

With so many choices, finding the best film festivals for your film is like finding a needle in a haystack. Consider this your super-organized list of the best film festivals. The Sundance Film Festival is arguably the most well-known American film festival. Every year, more than 10, short and feature-length documentaries and narrative films submit for consideration.

So should you submit to the Sundance Film Festival when there is such a small chance your film will ever be seen? First, Sundance is known as one of the top documentary festivals. It also touts narrative dramas with a bit of star power.

This festival is for directors who have honed their filmmaking techniques. This film festival also favors films that have been fostered in Sundance labs and fellowships. Another major consideration: Sundance tends to favor American films. You must get as specific as possible when choosing a film festival. Especially if you are a filmmaker with limited budget. If your film has a different theme or experimental element perhaps another festival is a better fit.

If your film is selected, your path for distribution becomes much clearer. At just 16 years old, the Tribeca Film Festival has quickly become one of the largest and most revered festivals in the world.

Like the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival brings together film executives, filmmakers and movie enthusiasts from across the globe.

film festivals worth submitting to

The mission of the Tribeca Film Festival is to bring independent films to the widest audience possible. But that also means the odds of getting into the Tribeca Film Festival are significantly better than getting into Sundance. The coolest city in Texas also hosts the coolest film festival in the US. Today, the Austin Film Festival still receives more script submissions than any other screenplay competition in the world.

Of course, with major hype comes major talent. In fact, Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, is well-beloved by the festival. They would go on to garner several Academy Award nominations and wins. Austin takes place in fall, however, while SXSW occurs in late winter. It combines all the glamour of Tribeca, the western sentiment of Sundance and the prestige of Toronto. No white board, no problem. You can create the calendar with StudioBinder software in a few minutes.

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Then, drag and drop interface is one of the features, you just click and drag to create events. Using a production calendar that automatically creates a timeline or gantt chart is the best way to keep track of all your submissions. The New York Film Festival was started by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in and has become a sought-after event for filmmakers around the world.

Though studio films are chosen for opening night, closing night and centerpiece presentations, let there be no mistake: This is not a festival for studio-sponsored fare.

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The main competition for feature-length narratives offers about 25 to 35 films every year. There are additional opportunities for experimental and documentary films.Next comes submitting your film to festivals in the hopes that your work is shared with the public and gains recognition or acclaim.

film festivals worth submitting to

Here is a list of 20 film festivals, both domestic and international, that are worth submitting to in the upcoming year:. This festival is the largest independent film festival in the US, with upwards of 50, guests annually. Sundance offers a number of different categories, in both feature-length and short.

To qualify for the Short Film competition, the work must be 50 minutes or less, including credits. The Cannes Film Festival is an incredibly well-known international event held in France every year. Their Short Film category accepts works of 15 minutes or less, with no fee upon submission.

This oscar-qualifying short film festival is the largest short film festival in North America. With a focus on nurturing new filmmaking talent, this festival is a must for submitting your short, especially if you are new to the game.

Over films have gone on to win an Academy Award sincewhich is evidence that this festival fosters success if you are so lucky to be accepted.

4 Ways to Get Your Film Accepted into Film Festivals

Your short must be no longer than 40 minutes to be considered. This festival is the largest international film festival for short films, and has been for the past 40 years. The event has two different sections, one National for French filmmakers, and an International for filmmakers from across the globe.

The maximum runtime for short film submissions is 40 minutes, and there is no fee that comes along with entering your film.

Your film submission can not exceed 40 minutes in length. This annual festival is a part of Film Independent, and hosts over 36, people every year—it is also a qualifying festival in short films for the Academy Awards, making this event a great opportunity for acclaim. Held in the beautiful Telluride, this international film festival is a bit smaller compared to those festivals mentioned so far, accepting about 24 shorts per year.

The festival comes just after Cannes, taking place each year on Labor Day Weekend. This festival gets thousands of submissions, but its a great option for those filmmakers who are new to the film festival scene, as they mainly focus on lower-budget films and emerging artists—of the submissions, 70 shorts are chosen.

The festival is the only event in Central Europe to focus intently on American independent film, and the festival was created to be a viable avenue toward European distribution and co-production. This festival is unique because the shorts only accept submission by artists who are 30 years old or younger at the time of the end of production. This Canada-based festival hosts overpeople annually, making it one of the most widely attended festival in the world.

In terms of reputation, it is a notably prestigious event, with many celebrities and stars coming from across the globe to be a part of the festival. There is a 60 Euro fee for shorts, as well as a 40 minute maximum runtime for the submission.

In its 74th year, this festival has consistently been named one of the most reputable film events in history. Another Austin based festival, the SXSW is a 9 day event that strives to feature a diverse set of film selections by directors who are new to Hollywood. The short must be under 40 minutes, and SXSW does not accept rough cuts, meaning your film must be completely polished by the time of submission. Encounters International Short Film Festival.

The maximum runtime for shorts can not go beyond 60 minutes, which is quite generous for a short, and there is no submission fee, which makes this festival a great option for a longer work without the risk of losing money in the process of submitting.

20 Film Festivals You Should Enter Your Short Film Into

The festival features fictional, experimental, animated, and documentarian works, giving it a wide range of possible submissions categories.So what can you do to increase your chances? Beyond that, here are some of the fine print to look out for to increase your chances when the next round of submissions opens up. Worldwide there are almost 10, unique film festivals. From the best-known like CannesVeniceTorontoBerlin and Sundanceto hundreds of thousands of smaller festivals scattered across the globe.

Before submitting your film to a particular festival, make sure you do some thorough research as to what type of films they usually screen. Do the programmers primarily focus on documentary features? Or is the festival specifically aimed at showcasing new indie horrors? If you have any doubts, rather not submit your film to that festival at all.

Most film festivals exist for a reason, often to differentiate it slightly from other, similar festivals. Unfortunately, many filmmakers seem to completely ignore this important document before submitting their film. Even though you can submit your film at any point during the submission period, it would be beneficial to do it as early as possible.

The longer you wait, the harder it can be to land one of the coveted slots on the program. Understandably, the people responsible for compiling the final list of films to be displayed at the festival will need to watch many, many movies and short films before making their final decisions.

They will likely begin to view and assess films long before the end of the submission period. Slots will be filled quickly and the competition for the remaining ones will become more intense. There will always be next year.

Similar to applying for a job and attaching a cover letter with your resume, filmmakers need to make sure festival programmers take note of and understand their submission. If you can, send materials about why you think your film will be an ideal fit for their program; tell the organizers why the attendees to the festival will be an ideal audience for your movie.

Try to qualify the kind of attention your film could bring to the specific festival you submitted to. Remember to be enthusiastic but not pushy. It might seem archaic but many smaller film festivals still prefer filmmakers to submit their work on physical DVDs. However, some of the bigger festivals like Sundance and Toronto have modernised to digital submissions via platforms like FilmFreeway and Withoutabox.

If you do submit your film on DVD, make sure the disc arrives without any scratches that might hinder its playability. Also, make sure to test the disc on multiple players beforehand, including a computer and different commercial DVD players. Should you go the digital route and submit your film via a streaming link, be sure to use a protective platform like Screener Copy to protect it from the potential threat of piracy. It will merely distract the programmers.

Film festivals literally receive thousands of entries with only have a handful of slots to fill. So all hope is definitely not lost. Now it is time to go forth and submit your latest film to as many film festivals as possible. With confidence. To sign up visit screenercopy.

View Larger Image. Ask yourself: Is my film a fit for this particular festival?

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Related Posts.Film festivals require a strategy. Sure, some good luck can be a tipping point in your creative career—it almost always is—but the same careful deliberation that went into your artistic and financial decisions during production still needs to guide each of your fest applications.

You owe yourself, and your work, at least that much. For one submitter sitting at that proverbial table, an ideal film festival audience consists of a few industry decision-makers; others are seeking film festivals made up of thoughtful, engaged cinephiles; and for some, the perfect fest includes a group of professional peers with whom you can bounce ideas. Already know which film festival audience is yours?

Great, dive into this list. Ron Tucker. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In his must-read tome Adventures in the Screen Trade, the late, great author William Goldman states Connect with us.

Continue Reading. Ryan Betschart April 24, at pm. San Diego Underground Film Festival!!!!! Ron Tucker April 24, at pm. Lucifer April 24, at pm. Tommy April 25, at am. No film festivals of diversity, not event the American Black Film Festival? Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

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