Absolute Submission: Top Programmers Share the Secrets to Getting Into the Festivals of Your Dreams

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8. Be present, mentally and physically, at your film’s festival premiere. Many festivals have concurrent industry and educational conferences. “Stay for as long as you can and make the most of the festival experience,” recommends Toronto International Film Festival director of programming Kerri Craddock.

Clint Bowie, director of programming for New Orleans Film Festival, encourages filmmakers to bring as many members of the film team as possible. This not only amplifies your film’s presence at a festival, but it also puts your whole team in a position to take advantage of “opportunities to grow professionally and advance future projects.”

And of course, “enjoy yourself,” says Paul Sturtz, a co-founder/co-conspirator at True/False, which is pioneering an awesome “Pay the Artists!” initiative offering $700 to each feature filmmaker representing their films. “We’re told this is the most fun you’ll have in the entire process.”

9. Be open to new friendships and collaborations. It might be tempting to go into a festival with blinders on, focused only on your film and its success. But festivals are proud of the communities we create. We don’t just select movies; we are selecting a cohort of moviemakers. Festivals have alumni networks that can offer great connections and support even after the festival is over. At the LA Film Festival, we invite all the feature filmmakers in the competition sections to a two-day “retreat” where they are able to relax and connect with one another in a genuine way before the hustle and bustle of the festival. So many filmmakers who meet at these retreats become lifelong buddies and collaborate together on future projects.

10. K.I.T. (Keep in Touch) We always want to hear about your film’s successes, and awards, and the impact it is having in the world. With enough notice, we might also be able to promote the film on our social media channels when the film is released into theaters or on VOD. MM

 

Cut

A. Picture locked, color corrected, sound mixed

B. Between a fine cut and picture lock, without color correction or sound mix

C. Rough cut (within a month away from being picture-locked)

D. Rough cut (within six weeks to two months away from being picture locked, possibly with missing scenes, pickups, etc.)

Premiere Status (Features)

A. World premiere

B. North American premiere / International premiere

C. U.S. premiere

D. Regional premiere

Premiere Status (Shorts)

A. World premiere

B. North American premiere / International premiere

C. U.S. premiere

D. Regional premiere

Busan International Film Festival A, B D (Asian) A, B
Hot Docs D D, but B for competition D
International Film Festival Rotterdam D A for competition, D (European) for others A for competition, D (European) for others
Locarno Film Festival B A, B A, B
LA Film Festival D A D
Los Cabos International Film Festival A A for Mexican, D for other (Latin American) None
New Orleans Film Festival B C for competition, otherwise none None
Seattle International Film Festival A D D
Slamdance Film Festival B None None
South by Southwest B A E
Sundance Film Festival B A, B None
Toronto International Film Festival D B B
Tribeca Film Festival B, C A, B D
True/False Film Fest B None None

 

Entry Fee Waived for Special Circumstances?

Travel and Accommodation Covered?

Busan International Film Festival N Y, World and international premieres only
Hot Docs Y Y
International Film Festival Rotterdam N Y
Locarno Film Festival Y Y, some sections
LA Film Festival Y Y
Los Cabos International Film Festival Y Y
New Orleans Film Festival Y Y
Seattle International Film Festival Y Y, feature film directors only
Slamdance Film Festival N N
South by Southwest N N
Sundance Film Festival N Y
Toronto International Film Festival Y Y
Tribeca Film Festival N Y
True/False Film Fest Y Y

 

Fee: Feature

Fee: Short

Total Number of Films in Most Recent Program

Busan International Film Festival none none 300
Hot Docs $55-150 $25-55 170
International Film Festival Rotterdam $70 $40 252
Locarno Film Festival $100 $30 200
LA Film Festival $50-100 $30-60 60
Los Cabos International Film Festival none none 40
New Orleans Film Festival $40-75 $30-65 50
Seattle International Film Festival $50-115 $35-85 262
Slamdance Film Festival $50-100 $40-60 30
South by Southwest $60-110 $40-75 125
Sundance Film Festival $65-110 $40-80 125
Toronto International Film Festival $55-115 $25-85 300
Tribeca Film Festival $55-110 $40-60 85
True/False Film Fest $30-75 $20-35 38

 

Submission Platform

Episodic Content Accepted?

Augmented or Virtual Reality Content Accepted?

Busan International Film Festival Festival’s Own N N
Hot Docs Festival’s Own N Y
International Film Festival Rotterdam Festival’s Own Y Y
Locarno Film Festival Festival’s Own N N
LA Film Festival Film Freeway Y N
Los Cabos International Film Festival Festival’s Own Y N
New Orleans Film Festival Film Freeway, Withoutabox Y Y
Seattle International Film Festival Withoutabox N Y
Slamdance Film Festival Withoutabox and Festival’s Own Y Y
South by Southwest Festival’s Own Y Y
Sundance Film Festival Withoutabox Y Y
Toronto International Film Festival Withoutabox Y Y
Tribeca Film Festival Film Freeway and Festival’s Own Y Y
True/False Film Fest Festival’s Own N Y

This article appears in MovieMaker‘s Complete Guide to Making Movies 2017. Featured image from Hot Docs 2016, photograph by Sophia Burke.

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