When you finish post production of your film it can be exciting to start showing off all your hard work. Submitting your film to festivals is a great way to do this. Film Festivals cover the globe and the people in attendance are supportive and diverse. Some provide education and competition along with the showcasing of your finished film and some are focused on supporting local artists in your province/state. It’s tempting to go onto “WithoutaBox” or “Film Freeway” and hit submit on each festival suggestion that pops up or submit through social media links. Before you do, here are a few things to think about that will help you get more out of your film on the festival circuit.
Read these carefully for each festival you wish to submit to or you will be wasting yours and the festival’s time. Some festivals demand premier status in their city, county, or the world. Make sure you prioritize festivals and research when the festivals will screen your film to make sure there is no overlap that will disqualify your film. Make a list of festivals you are considering and figure out what order you should submit in. Many festivals have rules about length, age, and content of the film. Finding festivals that are looking for niche films that your film fits will increase your chances of being accepted into that festival. Look for Red Carpet Galas that offer the greatest chance of your film being screened and offer more value than just a screening.
2. Submission Fees
Submitting your film can be expensive, but there are ways to save money and make submission fees work for you. Some festivals have Early Bird, Regular, and Late Deadlines. For some festivals, like the Okotoks Film Festival, Early Bird fees can be as low as free. Find out when submissions start for a festival and get your film in quick before prices increase. Some festivals also offer bonuses with your submission, the Edmonton Short Film Festival offers a Filmmaking Master Class Workshop with lunch to all filmmakers who submit. If you can attend, this is a great way to get something for your submission even if your film does not screen.
3. Can and will you attend the Festival?
This is not necessary but is something to consider when choosing your festivals. By mentioning this in a cover letter with submission festivals may be more inclined to accept your film if it comes down to this one or this one. Having filmmakers in the audience boosts the festival experience. But attending a festival is great for more than just the festival, it is good for you too. Distributors, Festival Directors of other festivals, and filmmakers are in the audience. By traveling with your film you are able to network at festival galas and promote your film. This can lead to you being asked to attend another festival, finding new people to work with, or learning about opportunities to distribute your film. Many festivals offer question and answer periods with filmmakers in attendance, this allows you to put your face on the film and helps audiences remember it among a blur of other short films. Some festivals are offering new initiatives like the Family Fun Film Festival where you get the opportunity to meet sponsors, try new technologies and have an excellent chance to get your family friendly short film screened.
Now that you have had the chance to think about what you want for your film GO GET IT OUT THERE!!!