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.


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.

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  1. Pingback: DEADLINES • APR 2013 | FilmFestivalLifeLine

  2. Tiger

    February 27, 2013 at 1:32 am

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

  3. Aslan

    February 7, 2013 at 3:40 am

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

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