How to Submit Your Film to Festivals
André R. Coutu · From fps #7 · March 1, 2006 | 1. Finish your film.

Whether your project is a short-length film, documentary, TV commercial, music video or feature-length film, film festivals have categories for pretty much everything. The most important step is deciding which festivals best suit your film.

2. Research what festivals you should submit to.

If you have time, this should begin while completing step 1. If you don't, you'll find yourself rushing to make festival deadlines and potentially paying higher shipping fees.

While most young filmmakers love the idea of having their work shown at major festivals (Cannes, Toronto or Sundance), these festivals receive thousands of submissions, making it difficult to get your work selected. Therefore, the first thing to think about is the type of festival you are looking for. Do you want a festival that will help you find a distributor or build industry contacts? Do you just want to meet other filmmakers? Do you just want your film shown? Consider all of these factors when deciding which festival to enter.

Questions you should consider are: how long has the festival existed? Is it held yearly or biennially? This will help indicate your submission odds. Also, see what films they have shown in the past. Read past festival reviews and observe what they highlight (e.g., competitions, special programs, parties). Do they charge entry fees? Do they pay artist's fees? What do you receive if your film is selected? Also, see what festivals other filmmakers have had their work screened at. If you're a student, ask your teachers for advice. Festival research is time-consuming and tedious work, but it's a necessary part of the filmmaking process that will give you a wider perspective of international film festivals.

Want to read the rest of this feature?

You'll find it and many other articles in the March 2006 issue of fps, available for only 99 cents US.
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