Distribution : STARTING A Film Festival - Legal Requirements, Incentives, and Workshops by Kris Monroe

Kris Monroe

STARTING A Film Festival - Legal Requirements, Incentives, and Workshops

I've always had a life goal of starting a Film Festival - who hasn't? My concern is missing some major steps and having it tank. PLEASE help and share your thoughts on starting a Film Festival! I'll thank you ahead of time for reading this. Thank you, very much for your time and knowledge! My vision is to begin by appealing to indie filmmakers who may not otherwise be able to afford or get accepted into larger Festivals. Here are my concerns: LEGAL REQUIREMENTS: What needs to be in place for a festival to get off the ground? - Are there tax requirements, or red tape, that a film festival faces? I'm assuming there is something that hinders a person from simply gathering filmmakers and spending a good time together, watching movies, networking, and learning. ... There MUST be something legal standing in the way, or else more festivals would happen. - What kind of release form do you suggest, in order to show a film? - If there is a cash reward, how is that handled - as far as taxation is concerned? BUDGETING: What does the budget platform of a Film Festival look like, large or small? - Do submitting films pay for the consideration of their film? - What’s a reasonable/professional cost of submitting a low-budget film for consideration, when there isn’t a promise for acceptance? - I am currently looking to local business for support, in return they will receive heavy advertisement in everything - printed or digital - involved with the festival. What other methods do you suggest? - I am not seeking personal profit, but the more profit this makes, the more a second year would have to start off with. INCENTIVES FOR FILMMAKERS & AUDIENCES: What do they expect to receive in return? - Awards for different film aspects (best film, best actor, actress, costume, cinematography, direction, genre related awards, etc..) are something I want to implement. What have you seen as awards? Cash? Free submission next year? etc.. - Winning Hierarchy: Would you suggest awards beyond 1st place? - I’m working on a discount for filmmakers/crews, with a local hotel. Is that a normal perk? WORKSHOPS: Is it expected for workshops for accompany a Film Festival? - Every festival I have been to have accompanying workshops. How do you pay for those professionals? How much do they expect? - Refer to Budgeting (above) for my other questions on financing. ANY Other Thoughts: This initial post is brief, but I hope it gets some thoughts bubbling. Please, please, share any input you have. I am not in any hurry to get a festival up next month, or anything. I am patient and know that a lot more planning needs to be done. Right now I am seeking experienced knowledge, so my groundwork can be better laid and things in place before even seeking submissions. Thank you! Also, if you don’t want to post directly under this post, feel free to connect with me and send a direct message.

David Leonel

I guess if I had the opportunity to start a film festival my only criteria would be to get rid of all the buerocracy....

Kris Monroe

David - So you would like to see awards based on audience voting, as opposed to festival staff picks? I can't agree more. Truly, that would be a good step. However, I have a genuine question for you: Do you have a suggestion for how to best carry that through? My concern with that is: how does a festival avoid a film winning - simply because those filmmakers had more friends that could attend the festival? Being a part of Theatre Festivals, that is a very common occurrence with audience based voting: the one with the most popular creators wins, instead of the best production. Thoughts?

Joanne Bentley

Hey there Kris - I've a good friend named Suzette Laqua who is currently organizing Vancouver WebFest 2. She's a wonderful person, and I'm certain she'd be happy to offer some thoughts and guidance to you. If you follow this link you'll see a little bit about what's coming up as they prepare for the WebFest: http://www.vancouverwebfest.com/ Under the 'About Us' tab is the 'Contact Us' link - please feel welcome to tell Suzette I pointed you in her direction. :0) Joanne

Chayah Masters

Hi Kris! Your questions are well founded. And, as someone who has just embarked on launching a film festival this year, and, who had the great fortune of attending the International Film Festival Summit in Austin in December, I can honestly tell you, there is no one way of putting a festival together. Basically, you need a vision for what you want the festival to be and encompass and then you need a team of volunteers and/or board of directors who share your vision and won't let personal agendas hijack the goals you've laid out. Easier said than done as I've come to realize. I would suggest starting small and focused and yes, if you can do it as a non-profit, you are probably more likely to find people willing to support your efforts. Bottom line, your vision for the festival will stipulate a lot of the answers to the questions you've laid out. Do your best on perks for filmmakers.. that will definitely help you in your efforts. Attend film festivals to learn what works and doesn't work. Our festival is June 4-7, 2015 and if you want to attend, use our hotel discount code ARTIF15 if booking a room at our host resort, the Peppermill Reno Casino Resort. We'll also have a discount code for Enterprise Rental car on our website in January at RTIFF.org. Feel free to email me with questions any time. Good luck!

Eve Edelson

audience based voting A belated comment - you could offer a judges' award, separate from & additional to the audience award.

Dean Gransar

It is always easier to find a film festival. There is one I'm helping with in LA: https://www.facebook.com/events/765894000164978/ I think there is still some time left if you have works you like to share.

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