Hi Everyone. I shared this with a friend recently and realized it might be helpful here. For context, I‘m an emerging filmmaker and I make genre (horror and sci-fi) and made some esteemed genre fests like Fantastic Fest (huge fest, JoJo Rabbit premiered there last year), FrightFest and FilmQuest. Un...Expand post
Hi Everyone. I shared this with a friend recently and realized it might be helpful here. For context, I‘m an emerging filmmaker and I make genre (horror and sci-fi) and made some esteemed genre fests like Fantastic Fest (huge fest, JoJo Rabbit premiered there last year), FrightFest and FilmQuest. Unless you have a PR company, you’ll be doing the work yourself to get into festivals. Getting in is harder than just clicking the submit button on FilmFreeway . Don’t worry if you don’t get into Sundance, work on finding the festivals that can help YOUR film THRIVE. Here are some recommendations: 1. Make a free profile on FilmFreeway and Festhome (more international, like Sitges). Fill it out completely with bios and photos and posters - make your profile rad! (One trick - use a link to your video file, such as Vimeo, instead of uploading directly to FilmFreeway/Festhome so that you can change out your video thumbnail on Vimeo to include your festival laurels as you get them without disrupting the submission file!) 2. Check out the MovieMaker magazine top festivals - we basically submitted to everyone on the list of top horror festivals - there are a few lists each year. 3. It’s better to screen at festivals with a proven record - so research each festival. Just google search to see if any blogs or publications cover the fest. Also, search google images and look for photos of their red carpet, theater or just if people look happy! Just because a fest has a small theater, doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. Two of my favorite fests were in very small theaters, but, had the best filmmaker events, networking and press! 4. Don’t submit “below your grade” just to win awards, such as online events that do weekly or monthly awards - it won’t be as good as being at a festival with real visibility, real networking, real promotion - don’t fall into that trap - festivals have ONE purpose for emerging filmmakers - visibility of your work so you can make more work. 5. That said, some online fests or competitions ARE really good. For example Stage 32 has an amazing online film competition and sends its winners to very prestigious festivals, an example of one that WILL help your career! 6. PRESS!!!! Find a blog or publication that will watch your work (or sample of your work) and write a review! When you can add press to your Film Freeway submissions, it will help! Festivals like to see that people care about your work. Look for bloggers who talk about the things you talk about in your project, or a publication that might find it interesting. Find reviews of films like yours and get in touch with the author of that review through social media. 7. Related to the above, make it easy for press and festivals - send a simple EPK with all the info they need to reference. 8. When you find another project at a festival that you’re excited about see what other laurels they have on their posters and check out those festival - maybe they’ve already done the leg work and they’ll turn out to be cool festivals! 9. Chose festivals you want to attend - it’s really about the networking and being able to be there to talk about your work with people! If you’re not going to the festivals you get in to, there’s almost no point in your film screening. 10. Make a submission schedule - you don’t have to submit to all the festivals at once! Pick your top 3-5 and submit to those, but, the rest, submit over time depending on if you get into the festivals you want. You’ll have to pay attention to submission deadlines, and sometimes you won’t know in time, but make a schedule! It will be easier to budget that way! 11. Again, go to the festivals if you can! If you can’t ask your team if anyone wants to go. Having representation at the festival will make a world of a difference for your film. If you’re more the quiet and shy type, you still have to show up to the events and try to talk about your work. Everyone at festivals are there to celebrate films, so, you at the very least, know you have that in common with every other person there! Hope this is helpful to anyone checking out festival submissions! Your film has a home somewhere, I promise! Best of luck and keep making stuff!