Distribution : Are there too many film festivals? by Randy Gordon-Gatica

Randy Gordon-Gatica

Are there too many film festivals?

Is it still the best route for a self made film? It's hard to get into a film festivals but it seems harder for film festivals to attract attention in their cities when they occur?

Ken Koh

It's not hard at all to get into a film festival there's a lot of them. If you plan to sell your film yourself then yes it's a good idea.

Randy Gordon-Gatica

Gracias hombre... I'll check out your page as well.

Ken Koh

You go to film festivals to get viewed and reviewed. Even if it's not the top tier festival, it helps your film by collecting all the 'official selection' emblems and any reviews from press, even reviews from nobody strangers can be used to promote your film and sell it. I once had a short film win 2nd place in the entire festival, but then there were only 2 films showing. You can use it all.

Elisabeth Meier

Well, if it's the first time you try to find a festival for your film then I would look for one in a smaller town. Look for the fees you have to pay and make a budget decision about how much money you want to spend on this. Then, look for festivals that match your film, your genre, your budget and apply. You can only learn from experience. Maybe you win a film festival somewhere in China - you never know. Smaller steps will bring you forward too.

Randy Gordon-Gatica

Elisabeth Meier and @ Ken Koh Gracias. It's amazing how motivating a few kind words are.

M L.

Are festivals still the best route for a self financed film? Definitely not. Great documentary on the subject called "Official Rejection". Check it out.

Ken Koh

I'll break it down how it works. Last time I sold a film domestic USA, there were 400-600 home video, video on demand, dvd distributors. I came on board an indie film at the end because their producer didn't know what to do. I got 5 emblems of the film festival they attended, got some positive quotes, hired a designer to create a kickass poster for the film, went to Kinkos and printed 400 double sided folders with all the emblems, official selections, quotes and graphics on it. This is your press kit. In it, you place the film's synopsis, bios of cast crew, cool photos, treatment and any interesting stories during production. Mail it to 400+ distributors. We got a lot of calls, which gives you leverage, and quickly got the film sold. The film was crap. You never send them a dvd, you host a proper screening and invite a bunch of distributors together in the same place for leverage. ( I simplify)

Randy Gordon-Gatica

Dear Ken:

@Ken Koh

Thank you for that. It's so generous and it took more than a few min. to share that info. And it looks like it took you more than a few years to learn that info, so thanks for sharing. It's going to take me awhile to absorb and work through. Really thanks.

Christopher McDonell

Ken's suggestion is interesting but I'm not sure I agree with Elisabeth. Targeting festivals should be part of your strategy, so don't just submit your film everywhere. You only get one worldwide opening, followed by international and domestic premieres. So target the big festivals first in hopes of getting the best premieres. If you think you have a great film, submit to Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance... If they say no, fine, then go smaller. But if you just submit to some small town festival and get in, well guess what, now you're ineligible to submit to the bigger more prestigious ones.

It's also worth realizing that in the same way that festivals can help you land distribution and get you lots of free press (not that it's really free), it can also jeopardize your film's potential if it gets rejected by lots festivals and/or is poorly received.

Ken Koh

Randy, you don't need few years. I can break it down step by step for you anytime just message me.

Ken Koh

Christopher you're right. You should always target the top tier festivals first and work your way down. However, if you cannot get into the big ones, the next one will do, it all helps with marketing and getting your film sold. Distribution is easy but extremely hard work, as hard as production. No one should approach it like a shotgun, but as a sniper. Start tier 1, then 2, then 3. Aim for theatrical first, then cable, home video....You have to be very strategic about it all. I am at a festival 2 weeks before it starts to work the town. I make sure every coffee shop, restaurant has flyers and post cards of my screening. Send the designs and have a local printer do all my press materials. I send press releases and setup local radio interview sometimes tv interviews for cast and crew before I even get there. Interviews with local magazines and newsletter, even supermarkets. It's a whole production. Sometimes I work with a publicist, sometimes I do it all. You budget for this before you even make the film. That's how it's done.

Christopher McDonell

Good discussion here. Thanks for all the tips, Ken!

Randy Gordon-Gatica

@ Ken Koh Deal. I will. It's a plan.

Ken Koh

You must put aside budget for distribution before you start production. If you don't have enough, wait until you do otherwise your film can drag on for years without getting anywhere. Know you can finish before you even begin.

James Drago

That's a great post Ken Koh

Hari Mehrotra

I agree with you Ken Koh

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