Screenwriting : Festival Sequence by D. E. Jackson

Festival Sequence

If a screenplay is "Selected" by a film festival, what does that mean? Is it in competition? What is the sequence of advancement?

Beth Fox Heisinger

"Selected" can mean different things depending on the specific criteria of a particular festival. Typically, it means it has been given merit by the festival. The selected screenplay then may be included in competition, considered for awards, prizes, etc. For films, "Selected" means it has been chosen for consideration in the festival, to be included, listed. "Official Selection" means it has been given further merit and has been selected to be screened at the festival, and may be given awards, prizes, etc. Hope that helps some. I'm sure there are others who may be better able to answer your question. It also may be helpful to be more specific in your post, exactly which festival? Best to you. ;)

Doug Nelson

In years past, I was a screener & judge for a few film festivals. The basic process works like this: The Festival puts out a call for entries. They generally receive way more entries than screening time/space allows (Bend received over 1,200 submissions). Multiple screeners view each & every submitted film to select the most likely candidates (first cut). The process is repeated to distil the volume down to the allotted screening time. At that point the festival Director meets with the screeners to select the final cut entrants who are then notified that their film has been selected (some call it an Official Selection, but that doesn't matter). The competition part of the process comes into play during the final screening in which the audience votes for 'best film' in each screening segment. The audience votes are tallied and passed on to the judges; who review the highest ranking films again in order to select the top films in each genre.

Remember that each festival is unique - some favor certain genre, some favor documentaries, some are kid friendly, some stick to one genre only (horror, comedy...). That's the basics - it's up to you to find the best fit for your film - do the research.

D. E. Jackson

Thanks, Doug. Your apparently thorough reply is both interesting and confusing. I can't imagine how it's possible to screen a screenplay. Consideration relative to the schedule seems moot, as does the opinion.of an audience.

Doug Nelson

My bad - I assumed when you wrote 'film festival' that you were talking about a film - not just a script. When it comes to script writing competitions, that's pretty much an entirely matter. Unless you've ask & paid for notes/comments regarding your script, 'selected' generally means that they have received your script and payment - Thank you for your support. Some high school kid may read it (or not). If you've paid for notes/feedback, then someone who thinks they know something may read it. The competition comes into play when & if multiple readers think it's a worthwhile script.

D. E. Jackson

There are standalone writing competitions and there are film festivals with screenwriting as a category. To my limited observation, it looks as though they use different systems for narrowing the field. Perhaps there's no standard at all.

On FilmFreeway, a submission that met the requirements is termed "In Consideration," even though its judging status may be "Not Selected."

Doug Nelson

Essentially, there are about half a dozen worthy screenwriting competitions - maybe a few more., I think that the vast majority of the rest are simply not worth your time and money. I didn't say all.

D. E. Jackson


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