People ask us all the time how do we apply to film festivals? Is there
an order to follow? The truth, it's all a bit of a dance. There are
certain film festivals that will only accept your film if it is the
world premiere, and there are others that won't screen your film if it
has shown online. How do you keep track of all these rules, and
ensure that you don't miss out on a possibility to screen somewhere
while you're waiting to hear back from festivals.
Honestly, it's a hard call, and therefore a personal call. What's
right for us might not be the right choice for you. . Just recently
we were turned down from a festival because the festival was only
seeking NY premieres and we had already screened in Coney Island.
Here's my strategy - for year one, aim big. Target the big festivals
(Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Tortonto, Cannes, etc) that you want to
apply to and hold on your smaller ones. This will help to avoid any
scheduling mis-steps. For year two, (you're usually given a grace
period of 2 years to apply to festivals), reach out to your smaller
film festivals. Of course, you might know that your film will have a
hard time getting into a bigger festival but might shine in a smaller
festival. Plan accordingly. Mainly it's about strategy and
organization. You can save money by applying early to festivals rather
than waiting for their extended deadlines. You can find out more information on
most of the domestic film festivals at www.withoutabox.com.
Best of luck!