Independent moviemakers are renowned for having tons of creativity, scads of grit and boatloads of determination, but there’s one crucial element that most of them lack: Cash. If there’s one thing that’s music to a moviemaker’s ears, it’s the simple four-word phrase “No entry fee required.” For a film entered in multiple film festivals, submission fees alone can run into the hundreds of dollars, and it’s important to submit your film to a festival that won’t put you in the poorhouse. With that in mind, join us as we take a look at 10 diverse, cost-effective fests with zero dollar entry fees.
American Conservation Film Festival
November 1-4, 2012
This annual event (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year) champions films that focus on the natural world. ACFF provides a venue for conservation films from around the globe that rarely receive a wide showing. Set in a historic, artistic university town (and featuring special moviemaker forums so that you can discuss your film with an audience), ACFF is a perfect outlet for those whose work explores ever-pertinent environmental issues. Though there is a small fee for non-student submissions (enough to cover costs the festival incurs from Withoutabox), student films are 100 percent free to submit.
Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival
If you’re a deep thinker who makes philosophical, analytical films, then APFF is right up your alley. The fest, now reaching its 4th year, is dedicated to helping shape and define the cinema of philosophy, as well as preserving a collection of films that can serve as a sweeping, textured survey of the great philosophical questions of our time. For those who make movies about the bigger questions in life and are ardent followers of “thinking cinema,” the thought-provoking APFF will surely provide you with both a great environment in which to show your work—Atlanta’s historic Plaza Theatre (the city’s oldest continuously operating cinema)—and a wealth of conversation topics. APFF kindly accepts donations from the film lovers and free thinkers who help keep this soul-searching fest alive.
HorrorQuest Film Festival
October 19-21, 2012
Want to submit your horrifying new film to a freakily fun fest that takes place right around Halloween? Then check out the newly created HorrorQuest, held for a week of terror at the Cinefest Film Theatre in Atlanta. Inspired by TromaDance, HorrorQuest, which started in 2010 and offers a similar schedule of outrageous genre fare, is free to both moviemakers and moviegoers. The independent fest was, in fact, created with the notion that it was becoming entirely too expensive to submit one’s movie to a festival, especially when there were no guarantees of the film being selected or reviewed. In addition to its terrifying mix of features and shorts, the fest hopes to include more live music events, interactive screenings, moviemaking classes and guests from the horror community in order to achieve its goal of becoming the largest free festival in the Southeast.
Insight Film Festival
Based in England, Insight is an international short film festival that encourages moviemakers to explore the subject of faith and make films that challenge, explore, critique, reflect, celebrate or question this vital aspect of contemporary life. It is Insight’s mission to promote discussion and community cohesion through these faith-based works. The fourth edition of the Insight Festival will take place in Spring 2013 and will feature opportunities to win some amazing awards and prizes. Previous judges have included producer Gary Kurtz (Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal) and screenwriter David N. Weiss (Shrek 2, The Smurfs).