Stay on Target
Our survey participants stress the need to really know the profile of every festival you consider submitting to. Though it seems obvious, some moviemakers make the mistake of applying to anything and everything, when a targeted strategy would save them both time and money. If, say, a prestigious European festival only accepts a small handful of American films each year and they all tend to be from prominent New York moviemakers, don’t assume you have a great shot at getting in as an unknown from the Pacific Northwest.
“Do your research. Don’t waste money submitting to festivals that don’t have the right audience for your film. See what they have programmed in the past and identify trends based on who programs where. Ask other filmmakers what their experience was like at a festival to evaluate that festival’s current status.” — Programmer
“Go to film festivals—that’s the only way to see what’s getting accepted and what your current competition is.” — Selection Committee Member
“Do your homework. Don’t just randomly send your films out to festivals you find on some list. If you truly care, research, reach out, and contact festival directors with real questions. If they care about you, they will pay attention and write back to you personally.” — Executive Director