Which Film Festival is Right for My Feature or Short Film? How to Navigate the Growing Festival Market

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Hosted by Aimee Schoof

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Aimee Schoof

Webinar hosted by: Aimee Schoof

10 Sundance, 4 Tribeca and 3 SXSW Premieres - Producer at Intrinsic Value Films

Aimee Schoof Co-founded Intrinsic Value Films with Isen Robbins, and have produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale to name a few. The company develops, produces and sells independent lms that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance award, a Sundance Special Grand Jury prize, and being nominated 5 times by Film Independent as producers. They are currently both Sundance and Film Independent Fellows, have worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecture on film finance and production. They have expanded into Television and currently have a slate of scripted and unscripted projects and feature films in all phases of production. Aimee is a partner in comic book publishing company Red Giant Entertainment, developing comic book properties for film and TV.   Select films include: MIGHTY GROUND (Documentary: Random Media) AMERICAN SATAN (Malcolm McDowell, Boo Boo Stewart, Denise Richards: AMC/Weinstein) MARJORIE PRIME (Jon Hamm, Tim Robbins, Geena Davis: Film Rise) EXPERIMENTER (Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, John Leguizamo: Magnolia) TRUTH ABOUT LIES (Fran Kranz, Odette Annable: Blue Fox/Level 32) BLUE CAPRICE (Isiaiah Washington, Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams: IFC) RUN (William Moseley, Kelsey Chow, Adrian Pasdar, Eric Roberts: Millennium Entertainment) ALPHABET KILLER (Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Timothy Hutton: Starz/Anchor Bay) DEATH OF A DYNASTY (Kevin Hart, Rashida Jones, Chloe Sevigny: TLA Releasing) XX/XY (Mark Ruffalo, Kathleen Robertson: IFC) SKEPTIC (Zoe Saldana, Tom Arnold, Tim Daly: IFC) BROTHER TO BROTHER (Anthony Mackie, Daniel Sunjata, Aunjanue Ellis: Wolfe Releasing). Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Stop wasting money! Make no mistake, entering film festivals should be part of the overall strategy for just about any independent filmmaker or producer. There is tremendous value in getting in the right film festival, perhaps more than ever before. So how do you not only identify the best festivals for your film, but assure you give yourself the best chance of being selected? Get the answers from a producer of over 35 independent films and a veteran of the festival circuit.
 
With so many film festivals popping up year over year and many of the major festivals turning to higher profile projects, navigating which festivals to spend your dollars on can be daunting. Unfortunately, many filmmakers and producers today are overspending on festival submissions (or entering as many as possible) so they can say they've made it into something. This is an approach that can not only leave you light in the wallet, but can also put your film, the one you spent so much time and effort into, in a position to be branded incorrectly and actually hurting its chances of success.
 
Aimee Schoof has produced over 35 films, many of which have played at some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. But many others have played at festivals that may not have the marquee names, but proved correct for the content. By using this approach, Aimee and her producing partner have scored lucrative deals and distribution opportunities.
 
If you've seen Aimee's other Stage 32 webinars, you know she brings energy and knowledge to spare. She will teach you everything you need to know about where to submit, but also approaches on how to give your film the best chance of standing out from the crowd. She will also demystify and destroy some of the "false truths" that have become part of submitting for festivals (YES, you can submit a rough cut!) She'll tackle how to get press, how to run your social media, how to get your team involved, and much more, all in the name of getting your film seen and, ultimately, the attention it deserves.
 
This is a blueprint that will have you saving money, making it into more festivals, and smiling from ear to ear while walking the red carpet.
 
 
I've taken many Stage 32 webinars and they've all been wonderful, but Aimee's had me ready to run through a wall! So much thoughtful and intelligent information!
- Debra S.

What You'll Learn

Choosing the Right Festivals To Enter First

  • Understanding the top tier festivals for your short and/or feature film
  • Choosing the timing of the festivals and when your film will be ready to submit and how
  • Understanding the year cycle/calendar of the festivals and markets and how you should strategize best for your project
  • Understanding and strategizing what festivals will be right for you project via location, content, and demographics
  • How to get noticed in a sea of submissions

Stop Wasting Money on Festival Submissions!

  • Which festivals to pay for first
  • Getting to know the programmers
  • Rallying your network for those that have
  • Relationships with programmers
  • How hard to you push? Best approach as and after you submit. When and how’s…

Choosing the Right Festival and Market 

  • Understanding Tier A and B festivals
  • Do you have a genre film that may play better at a niche festival for horror or Sci-fi? What to do.
  • How your team can help you get in
  • Don’t be afraid to submit a rough cut…we’ll discuss in more detail on how this can help your chances
  • Being really careful on what festival you decide to premiere your film…there’s only one chance to premiere domestically
  • Do you go for domestic or international premiere first?

Setting Your Film up Right for Success

  • Have you gotten any press? Do you have any market for your film already? Awareness helps.
  • Do you have a social media presence? Do you have your talent supporting you and following? All of this helps a lot.
  • Do you have your website set up with all correct contact info and info about your film
  • Set your self up for the life run of the film but setting all these things up early. You want to make your film hard to say ”no” to. You create the buzz first…

Q&A with Aimee

About Your Instructor

Aimee Schoof Co-founded Intrinsic Value Films with Isen Robbins, and have produced more than 35 feature films. Of those, nine have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, four at the Tribeca Film Festival, three at SXSW, and one each at LA Film Festival, Toronto, Venice, New York FF, New Directors/New Films, and Berlinale to name a few. The company develops, produces and sells independent lms that have been distributed worldwide, have won many awards and been honored with numerous nominations. Accolades include winning a Sloan Sundance award, a Sundance Special Grand Jury prize, and being nominated 5 times by Film Independent as producers. They are currently both Sundance and Film Independent Fellows, have worked in international sales attending all major markets, and regularly lecture on film finance and production. They have expanded into Television and currently have a slate of scripted and unscripted projects and feature films in all phases of production. Aimee is a partner in comic book publishing company Red Giant Entertainment, developing comic book properties for film and TV.
 
Select films include: MIGHTY GROUND (Documentary: Random Media) AMERICAN SATAN (Malcolm McDowell, Boo Boo Stewart, Denise Richards: AMC/Weinstein) MARJORIE PRIME (Jon Hamm, Tim Robbins, Geena Davis: Film Rise) EXPERIMENTER (Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, John Leguizamo: Magnolia) TRUTH ABOUT LIES (Fran Kranz, Odette Annable: Blue Fox/Level 32) BLUE CAPRICE (Isiaiah Washington, Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams: IFC) RUN (William Moseley, Kelsey Chow, Adrian Pasdar, Eric Roberts: Millennium Entertainment) ALPHABET KILLER (Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Timothy Hutton: Starz/Anchor Bay) DEATH OF A DYNASTY (Kevin Hart, Rashida Jones, Chloe Sevigny: TLA Releasing) XX/XY (Mark Ruffalo, Kathleen Robertson: IFC) SKEPTIC (Zoe Saldana, Tom Arnold, Tim Daly: IFC) BROTHER TO BROTHER (Anthony Mackie, Daniel Sunjata, Aunjanue Ellis: Wolfe Releasing).

FAQs

This webinar will be using Zoom conferencing. You will just need to click this link at class time and it will download the Zoom software (takes 10 seconds). You will be able to be seen on camera (unless you don't want to be) and will be able to mute and unmute yourself.

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
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A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

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A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Creative Ways to Find Financing For your Film

When looking for financing on your film, you need to think about your audience. What attracted you to the project? Who would like the film and why? Why are you making it? Who are your ideal partners, from the creative to distributor? These are all the questions important to also figure out who your investor/finance partners will be as you figure out your plan of attack. There are more options than ever now with Streaming platforms and Crowdfunding to find the right finance partners, it’s up to you to design the right pitch that makes others feel as inspired as you did about your project, then do your homework to target your best potential partners. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will get creative ideas on how to find and attract the right finance partners. You will learn techniques for putting together your pitch deck, making lists of who you know, who you don’t know but want to know and how to get to them, and having enrolling conversations with investors. Your host, Aimee Schoof, is a prolific independent film producer with 9 Sundance, 4 Tribeca and 3 SXSW premieres.   

How To Be a Power Producer In Today's Market

When choosing what to produce, you first must be passionate about the subject matter. What is interesting to you? What is interesting to others? Any story you are making into a film will take a long time - much longer than you think - so you must believe in the story. A great original story is always exciting to watch, but today’s marketplace is relying heavily on stories based on underlying properties in order for you, as a filmmaker, to get the greenlight. Articles, books, graphic novels, podcasts are more important than ever to get a project to the finish line. A great script and cast are essential, but having a built in audience is crucial these days. Your host, Aimee Schoof has adopted this strategy and has become a power producer making over 35 films and having 9 films premiere at Sundance, 4 at Tribeca and 3 at SXSW.  Aimee will give examples of films that have been made from underlying IP, and she’ll go over some personal experiences from films she’s made that are based on real people and their stories, as well as graphic novels/comic book properties.

Adapting a Book Into a Film or Television Program

Learn directly from award winning non-fiction producer, Jim Young, who's produced 8 films based on books, including Lovelace (James Franco, Amanda Seyfriend), The Man Who Know Infinty (New York Times best Seller), The Catcher Was a Spy and Layover Some of the recent best feature films were based on books, including Hidden Figures, Lost City of Z, Unbroken, American Sniper, Inherent Vice, Wild, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything. Some of the top recent television series based on books include Game of Thrones, True Detective, Pretty Little Liars, The Leftovers, Boardwalk Empire, Justified, True Blood, Dexter, the upcoming Fresh Off the Boat. As you can see, great books often make for great films and TV programs. The first step to beginning an adaptation is to find a book that lends itself to being turned into a film or television project. Discovering an adaptation-worthy subject can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting title at a bookstore or airport newsstand. Another way to find possibilities include reading the magazine Publisher’s Weekly, which profiles new books hitting the market each week along with short synopses. Many other magazines and newspapers give mentions of new titles each month as well. In this on-demand Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Jim Young will go over how to adapt a book into a film or TV series! Jim will cover everything from acquiring the rights, to script development, to pre-production, to production, all the way to the finish line. Having produced films such as Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and the upcoming The Catcher Was a Spy (directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat) and Layover (written and to be directed by Toni Kalem) all based on books, Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish. Jim Young is an independent producer and the president of Animus Films. He has produced over eight films, with upcoming productions including Cut Throat City, directed by RZA. Young is currently developing many other film and television projects with independent companies including Lynda Obst Productions, Ruby Films, Tollin Productions, Tribeca Productions, Underground Films, and Pressman Films.

The Mechanics and Art of Being An Assistant Director

CLASS 1 Section I: THE OVERVIEW 1. Introduction to Jason 
 2. Creative Aspects of the Job Prep – Breakdown & Scheduling from Script to Game Plan 
 Shooting – Set Management & Directing Background 
 Differences between Film&TV; Day & Night; Stage & Location
 Working Relationship between the AD and Director, Producer, DP & Actors 
 3. Why We Do It What I’ve learned over the years 
 We are a mix of; Traffic Cop, Bartender, Kindergarten Teacher, Cheerleader, Psychologist, Juggler & CEO 
 Day to day Energy, Pace, Crew Moral and Motivation 
 Tools of the job. Shoes and what to carry in your pockets 
 The need for outside influences and a life away from the work 
 Section II: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS  1. Prep (In this section Jason will share his computer screen to show how to actually breakdown a script using two scenes from Jurassic World as an example. Inputting it into Movie Magic Scheduling and then using that material as a launching board for teaching call sheets and other paperwork) 1st AD – What is Expected
 (Schedule, Scout, Dept Meetings, Background and how to do it) 
 2nd AD – What is Expected
 (Assist 1st, Rehearsals, Fittings, Interface with Actors, Tech Scout, Background Casting) 
  2. Shooting 1st AD – What is Expected Run the Set, Move the Company Forward, 
Execute the Schedule 
 2nd AD – What is Expected Assist 1st, Set BG, Prep Next Day, Run 1st Team, Communication Liason with Office and Rest of World 
 3. Safety Meetings 
 Legal Responsibility 
 Knowing When to Say No, Knowing how to say no 
 Know all the Equipment 
 Know what it takes to get it done 
 Trust in your Departments 
 Live Q&A with Jason - bring your questions!    CLASS 2  Section III: THE FUN PART - PAPERWORK 1. Paperwork Call Sheet 
 Production Report 
 Exhibit G “Sag” Sheet 
 One-Line Schedule 
 Shooting Schedule 
 Cast Day Out Of Days 
 Section IV: ON-SET STORIES & PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Practical stories to show good and bad days of the job Live Q&A with Jason - bring your questions!

Pro Tips For Producing A Winning Short Film

Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.

Visas & Beyond: How to Navigate Cross-Border Co-Productions

International co-productions, or “co-pros,” can be the perfect tool for bringing dream projects to life. But these ventures come with their own unique rules and requirements, which not everyone has experience with. In this webinar, attorneys Lorraine D’Alessio and Liz Profumo will deconstruct the co-pro process, sharing practical tips for launching a successful cross-border production. Participants will learn about key steps such as finding business partners, capitalizing on tax incentives, protecting creative rights, and securing work visas for foreign staff. The webinar will also explore the impact of current U.S. policies surrounding trade and immigration. Lorraine has practiced law since 2010, with a particular focus in entertainment immigration. She is the Founding Partner and CEO of D’Alessio Law Group, a global firm which has helped thousands of artists and entertainment professionals to launch careers in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Born in Canada, Lorraine was a successful Ford model before turning her focus to law. Her entertainment background, as well her personal experience with immigration, allows her to deeply understand the legal and logistical needs of global artists. She is excited to partner with the Stage 32 community and help support its members in achieving their goals.

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