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Ten tips to look for when picking film festivals to submit to

by Spencer Hawken 2 months ago in industry
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There's more to think about than you might think

Ten tips to look for when picking film festivals to submit to
Photo by Chris Murray on Unsplash

Here's 10 quick tips for picking the perfect Film Festival

1) Is it IMDB accredited? If not, any awards you receive will not sit on your movies IMDB page.

2) Have you heard of it? Some people make a film, already knowing exactly what film festival they plan to submit to. However, some have no clue at all about where to submit, but if you have heard of it then that’s obviously a step in the right direction.

3) Are you punching? The best learning tool you will ever have is to understand the weight of your movie, is it a film you could see winning a prestigious award? Be realistic about what and where you are submitting your film. If you film looks and feels like The English Patient, The Revenant or even La La Land then by all means send it to the most famous film festivals in the land. But otherwise save yourself some heartache and a lot of money, by submitting to film festivals that play films of similar styling to yours.

4) On the film festivals Film Freeway page does it have pictures? A judge of a good festival is in its pictures, does the film festivals page show that it’s a real event, does it have pictures of people, do they look happy, does it appear to have an audience? Ultimately every filmmaker makes a film that they want an audience to see, so is the festival you are submitting to appear to have a good audience? If there are no pictures on their submissions page, think seriously about it, it might mean they are new, but worst of all it might mean they don’t care enough.

By Riccardo Lo Re on Unsplash

5) Does it get press? A quick google search should answer that, once you have found a festival you like the look of, Google search it, is there a decent volume of press? A film festival that is putting out no media probably don’t care too much about your film, you need help on your journey and its important that the festival is doing its best to get people to it.

6) Does it have good reviews? Each festival should if it’s been running longer than a year have reviews. Check them out, see what people have to say and see how the festivals respond to criticism.

7) How many years has it been running? This is a little less scientific, but in the same way you only have filmmakers that make one movie, you also have film festivals that only run for one or two years. Try to access from the dialogue used if this is about filmmakers (or film fans) helping filmmakers or if it seems like someone just hoping to make a quick buck.

8) Are they social? Check out their social media activity, do they promote the festival as a whole or do they put attention on specific films?

9) Does the festival have Q&A’s? An important part of your filmmaking journey is not just meeting an audience but engaging with them. If the festival has evidence that not only do they offer Q&A’s but they publish them, it’s a sure sign your onto a winner.

10) Are they personally accountable? You need to know the people who are behind the festival, does the Film Freeway page name them, does their own website list them? This is a sure sign that a festival will take accountability for the event, they want you to feel at home they want you to know who you can talk to, and they want to accept any criticism.

Bonus point: If the film festival has good branding and design, you know the festival is here for the long haul. The branding should not just be in the logo, it should be clearly present in everything they do.

industry

About the author

Spencer Hawken

A multi-award nominated filmmaker with a passion for travel, film, finance and social media.

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