10 Things Every Filmmaker Should Know Before Submitting the Film to a Festival

Things Every Filmmaker Should Know Before Submitting the Film to a Festival

Time flows and peoples’ preferences change, but when it comes to art – there are certain standards, according to which, numerous film festivals annually award the best motion pictures and bring them world-wide popularity. Why certain movies win such festivals? And why numerous filmmakers strive to enter such events?

Well, as for the second question, when you have finished your new masterpiece, you probably have one and only desire – you want the world to see and accept your art, and there is nothing wrong about it! Before we go on, let’s see what the biggest advantages of submitting your video to an international film festival are:

  • Your creation will reach the target audience;
  • If the movie is good, you can get popularity with it;
  • Film distributors may notice it;
  • Maybe organizers of other film contests will see your movie and will want to include it in their program.

How to make a good movie and succeed at film festival? Before we can talk about success, there are 10 important things that you must know before you enter a contest, and in this article we are going to discuss all of these nuances.

1) Find the best film festivals to submit to.

 free film festival submission

Make a list of fests to which you can submit your film. Pay attention to different genres, whether the festival accepts short or long movies, at what date the contest is held, for example, if you are looking for the closest upcoming events, you should look at something like Liverpool Film Night 2016, which will take place on the 23 of November this year or Austin Film Festival 2016. According to many guides, it is preferable to search contests with a specific genre; a list of genres and themes can be found on the website Withoutabox, and also, through this website you can send out your applications. It`s worth to remember you’re free to submit your fest throughout the submission period, but the truth is the later you wait the harder it may be to land a spot. So don`t let your chance run away from you!

2) Make a list of contests.

Once you know all your options, cross out all events that you don’t like. Don’t forget that you have deadlines to send the screening copy, so don`t hesitate to  write your paper . Thus, you have to plan everything carefully, or otherwise you may not have enough time latter if the film will go to several contents.

4) Make a calendar.

This will be useful to see what else you have to do. You should arrange your options by the date of the deadline and, in addition to the names of festivals and deadlines mark the following things in your calendar:

  • Date of submission;
  • Application status (accepted or not);
  • The time frame in which you expect to receive a response from the festivals;
  • The start and end dates;
  • The time by which you must provide a copy of the adopted screening (usually festivals require that a copy came a few weeks before opening);
  • What formats of screening copy are accepted;
  • Fees for processing applications;
  • Location (Berlin, New York, Cannes, or other);
  • Types of contest (animation, music, short films, etc.).

4) Know how to enter film festival?

You must conduct a research and find out what are the correct ways of submitting your film; for example, some events require online film festival submission. Different contests accept different formats. Besides, some events offer free film festival submission, while others will require you to pay certain fees (this information should be included later into your budget plan).

5) Plan your budget.

You must calculate all expenses that may be required from you, including fees, flights, accommodations (if you have to be present at the award ceremony, food and beverages, or any other things that require funding.

6) Build a strategy.

After you had defined your budget, you can define the number of contests to which you can you’re your applications, also, you must analyze your movie in terms of the contest potential.

7) Prepare all necessary files and documents.

Write down what documents you need to provide for each application and get them ready as early as possible because this will rid you of unnecessary rush later.

8) Send out applications.

Although some festivals ask you to send application forms by mail, in most cases, it will be enough to fill out the form on the festival’s website or apply through websites like Withoutabox, Shortfilmdepot, Reelport or Spotrights. Don’t forget to update the profile of your film created on these sites, adding information about the events in which the movie had participated or will participate soon. Learn what you have to note when submitting a movie.

Usually, when completing the application form you will need the following information:

  • The name of the movie;
  • The country of origin;
  • Original language;
  • Synopsis;
  • Filmography of the Director;
  • The story of the film;
  • Contact details.

9) Waiting for a response.

Representatives of most (but not all) of the festivals themselves report that the request was accepted; anyway, emails do not always reach the addressee, and it makes sense to personally inspect the sites of the festivals and view lists of the selected films. If the film was included in such a list, you need to contact the organizers, to confirm attendance and note the date of the screening copy, frame high resolution and other things.

10) Don’t stop!

Film festival is just a contest and sometimes organizers may reject your application not because the movie was bad, but simply because it didn’t fit the program of the certain year. In any case, we advise you to keep moving forward and we are sure that you will succeed!

Good Luck! Be yourself and love your work! These are the main rules you should follow while submitting your film to a festival.