25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee: 2012

Making the decision to screen at a festival is easy. But which fests are truly worth a withdrawal from your hard-earned Entry Fee Bank Account? Here are 25 festivals worth the entry fee.

Be the Film Underground Film Festival

New york, NY; BeFilm.net

Plenty of BeFilm titles have gone on to further acclaim (read: Oscar recognition). But what makes this short film fest truly stand out is its focus on forward-thinking artists; BeFilm was the first U.S. short fest to create a Stereoscopic 3-D category.

Big Vision Empty Wallet

Online; BigVisionEmptyWallet.com

Think your script will really make a great movie? Let BVEW be the judge. One grand prize winner will claim a package worth more than $100,000—including a 30-day DLSR rental from Canon and free music licenses from konsonant—to move his or her movie from script to screen.

Central Florida Film Festival

Ocoee, FL; CentralFloridaFilmFestival.com

It’s not often that a rejection letter can be worth the cost of an entry fee. But CFFF takes a transparent stance when it comes to the judging process, delivering a detailed—and insightful—critique with each rejection letter that explains why a film was not accepted.

Creative World Awards

Online; CreativeWorldAwards.com

Lionsgate and Morgan Creek are just two of the industry heavy-hitters who get first looks at the finalists in this screenwriting competition. But even if you don’t come away a winner, entry alone gets you a year of online access to such invaluable tools at “The Business of Storytelling” video series and Q&As with top scribes.

FirstGlance Film Festivals

Los Angeles, CA & Philadelphia, PA; FirstGlanceFilms.com

With annual events in Philadelphia and Hollywood, FirstGlance offers double the chance of landing a distribution deal. Always looking toward new platforms, the fest offers its moviemakers non-exclusive, no-cost distribution opportunities via handheld devices, VOD, streaming and theatrical outlets. Since the fest’s inception, 90 percent of its selected features have gone on to secure distribution.

Hawaii International Film Festival

Honolulu, HI; HIFF.org

If high-powered networking is your end game, there are few better fests than HIFF. Founded in 1981, HIFF has welcomed hundreds of boldfaced names to the event (like longtime fan Roger Ebert) and premiered the work of such celebrated artists as Julie Taymor, Lee Daniels and Pedro Almodóvar. Could you be the next big thing?

HollyShorts Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA; HollyShorts.com

Short films and A-list names (think David Lynch and Josh Brolin) collide at HollyShorts, a celebration of cutting-edge content—animation, documentary, student and narrative shorts plus Web series, music videos and commercials—where there’s more than $75,000 up for grabs. New this year is the HollyShorts Film Market, a distribution free-for-all where companies like Shorts HD and Lionsgate will be on the hunt for short-form content.

Hot Docs

Toronto, Canada; HotDocs.ca

As North America’s largest documentary fest (more than 150 projects are screened), Hot Docs’ size alone is impressive. But its Forum, which runs during the fest, is where moviemakers can really benefit, as 200 industry execs take part in this international market, where a pre-selected slate of projects are presented for feedback, financing and distribution offers.

Manhattan Film Festival

New York, NY; ManhattanFilmFestival.org

Schmoozy parties can be fun, but aren’t you really trying to make a living from your passion? The MFF’s Filmmaker Revenue Sharing Program allows moviemakers to promote and sell festival tickets, and take home 50 percent of their earned revenues.

MOFILM

Various Locations; MOFILM.com

Looking to jumpstart your career as a commercial director? MOFILM cuts out the middleman by connecting indies with top brands like Chevrolet and Coke via a series of year-round video competitions, with millions of dollars in prizes (and future gigs) at stake.

NBC Short Cuts Festival

New York, NY & Los Angeles, CA; NBCShortCuts.com

Diversity is the key to winning this short film and video showcase, where your work is seen not only by the gatekeeepers of NBC Universal, but key agents, managers and producers as well. The goal of the fest is to discover diverse new voices both in front of and behind the camera for future development within the NBC Universal family.

New Media Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA; NewMediaFilmFestival.com

Incorporating a variety of popular themes, trends and products into its lineup, NMFF aims to keep on top of the trends you’ll be Tweeting about tomorrow. Mobile, Web Series, Shot on RED and 3-D are just a handful of the 17 categories you can submit to—with more than $45,000 in prizing on the line. 

Share the MovieMaker love!

3 comments on “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee: 2012

  1. Pingback: DEADLINES • APR 2013 | FilmFestivalLifeLine

  2. Please re-post the entire list of 25. Thank you so much.

  3. hey, you owe us 13 more festivals! There’s only 12 here.

Latest Stories
50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee 2014: Savannah Film Festival

It’s finally here: MovieMaker‘s annual list of the 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2014 edition! We’ll be releasing the list in five alphabetical installments, a new one every Wednesday, for the next month – so keep checking back to see if your favorite festivals made it in. Or read the full article in [...]

Beware of Images

In the spirit of our upcoming Spring issue’s Activism in Film theme, this week’s crowdfunder pick is the socially-conscious Beware of Images, a feature-length, fully animated documentary that warns audiences to digest media with caution. While public education strives to develop English language literacy among its students, serious attention to media literacy is neglected in [...]

Obvious Child

At first glance, Gillian Robespierre’s feature-length independent comedy might seem like another “first-world-problem”/bourgeois New York City drama about the general malaise hitting affluent members of the young artistic community. However, when we delve more deeply into the first official trailer for Obvious Child, the genuine heart and sense of humor that emanates from lead actress Jenny [...]

Living Things directed by Eric Shapiro

Eric Shapiro is the writer and director of Living Things: A Vegan & Meat Debate. A prolific horror writer, Shapiro translates his experience crafting scares into a tense drama about the politics of food, with Rhoda Jordan as a liberal yogini and Ben Siegel as her more conservative father-in-law. In this interview with MovieMaker Magazine, [...]

Rick Castaneda 11 Tips For Filming in a Small Town - Featured

It’s often said that creating a boot-strapped, no-budget independent film is a lot like raising a child – it takes a village. But why stop there? If you’re as lucky as we were when we shot Cement Suitcase, you might be able to enlist the muscle of quite a few villages. We shot in seven [...]

NFMLA

This week’s edition of New Filmmakers LA is filled to the brim with juicy moviemaking wisdom. Featuring interviews with directors Solvan Naim, Carol Rhyu, Sam Cooke, David Aslan, Charlie Anderson, Noah Mucci, and Collin Blair. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles [...]

Willem Defoe in Bad Country

Writer Jonathan Hirschbein worked for years on the film Bad Country with the late director, Chris Brinker, who passed away only days before filming completed. The two met when Jonathan was freshly out of college at the ripe age of twenty-two, with little career prospects besides the odd job here or there. Chris quickly took [...]

HankandAsha_09

Hank and Asha is an epistolary film about a filmmaker in New York and an admirer in Prague, who correspond solely through video messages – with actors who never met, though their characters fall in love. Director, James E. Duff, and writer, Julia Morrison, recount their experiences developing the concept and maximizing their story within the [...]

Babar Ahmed in Mongolia AMKA AND THE THREE GOLDEN RULES

Amka and The Three Golden Rules is the story of a Mongolian boy who learns the dangers of greed and materialism, themes that parallel the recent boom of commercialism in the country’s society. But how did Pakistani director and producer Babar Ahmed find himself telling this story in such a foreign, ancient land – which was [...]