Film Short: Finding the Best Film Festivals for Your Project

Published On October 20, 2009 | By admin | film, film distribution, film marketing, film production, Film Short, filmmaking

For the past few days I’ve been checking out film festivals determining which ones may be good fits for the short I’m co-producing “Accused”.  It sounds easy enough, but the truth is there are lots of them out there and they all offer different benefits and they all have entry fees.  So, how do you decide which ones are best to submit your film to?  Here are a few suggestions.

First of all,  join and become familiar with Without a Box (www.withoutabox.com).   The site is one-stop shopping in terms of finding out details and intel about most, if not all, of the reputable film festivals being held.  It  provides info about submission deadlines, fees and other requirements you’ll need to know.  Check out Fest21.com (http://www.fest21.com/) and Sqirrl (http://www.sqirrl.com/) too.  An article I also highly recommend is the Coolest 25 Film Festivals: 2009, which ran in MovieMaker Magazine and is available on line at: http://www.moviemaker.com.  

Check out the website of any festival you are considering and determine if it is a good fit for your film in terms of events being held, movies previously screened and awarded prizes to and types of people who have attended.   If you’re not certain that the genres highlighted are a match for your project, then chances are it’s not the best choice.  In addition, be sure to double check the basic requirements and submission dates to ensure that they allow enough time for you to prepare your entry following the production and post-production of your film.  It’s better to choose another festival, rather than rush your work in order to try and meet an unrealistic deadline.

Be clear as to what fees are being charged.  Most indies, whether they are shorts or features, are on a limited budget and submittal fees add up.  Make sure you include the shipping costs for sending out your DVDs or videotapes, as well.  Keep a running total of what you’re planning to spend and rate the festivals you’re considering, so, in case you need to make cuts, you’ll have your top choices covered.  Stay focused on the criteria.  For example, you may be drawn to a festival specializing in fantasy and sci-fi genres, but if your movie is a comedy, then the event won’t provide the best chance for your film.

Make notes on each festival’s technical requirements.  You need to know which formats are acceptable for both submitting and presenting at the festivals and ensure that your film meets the guidelines. which I’ve noticed can change from previous years.  Also, be aware of how each festival requests that you package and label your entries.

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