Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Melissa's OTL Advice Corner - Entry #1 Film Festivals

A year and a half ago when Alicia sent me her film festival list I had no idea what film festivals were really about. I had absolutely no clue that they cost money, that some of the festivals are very exclusive and that there is an entire network dedicated to helping people enter their films into hundreds of film festivals all around the globe.

If you are looking into submitting your film into film festivals here are a few tips from a master submitter!

1. Get to know Withoutabox.com! The faster you can navigate yourself through this fantastic website the better. Get your projects set up and once you do you can submit your films to hundreds of film festivals in about 5 minutes. This site will also keep track of your submission history and keep you notified of up and coming deadlines etc.

2. Always make sure that you take the time to read the fine print details of what a festival is looking for. Often times the title alone with give you an idea about what special things each festival is seeking (but some do not). There is nothing worse then sending your hard earned cash along with your film into a festival that is only meant for a special interest group i.e. Spanish Language movies only!

3. Try to get your film submitted during the Early Deadline time slot. Watch the timelines for festivals that you are interested in and try to submit them during their early deadline submission process. Most film festivals will jack up their prices pretty high for Late Deadline submissions. By being early you can save upwards of $30.00 per submission. This will also allow you to submit to more festivals for the same amount of money that you would spend to submit to one festival during the late deadline.

4. Be realistic about the festivals you are submitting to. For example: I made a short film about a bird mascot and beer. I am not going to get into Sundance or Cannes with this type of film. This film is better suited to smaller underground festivals and very specific location festivals. Base your festival selection list on where you feel your film would do the best. You want to get as far as you can with the money you have. If you really, really want to enter your film into Sundance just because, go ahead and do so, but do a little research and find out what other festivals your film would do best at and submit to those as well.

5. Don’t be discouraged if your film does not get into a film festival. Festivals often get thousands of submissions so if you get a rejection letter don’t take it too personally.

Well that about does it for this entry. Check back in with our blog for more advice from Melissa’s OTL Advice Corner!



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