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What Film Festivals Want: Festivals Tell Us Their Ideal Submissions and Pet Peeves

What Film Festivals Want: Festivals Tell Us Their Ideal Submissions and Pet Peeves

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What Film Festivals Want


Festival Location: Austin

Ideal Film Submissions: We showcase contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films and videos made by or about Latinxs in the U.S. or the rest of the world, as well as films and videos by or about Indigenous groups of the Americas. 

Film Submission Pet Peeves: Submitting films that have already screened in Austin, or have been broadcast with coverage in Austin, and films that are readily available for viewing openly online. Especially, when that information hasn’t been disclosed to us.


Cucalorus doesn’t have a lot of pet peeves. It just likes creativity.  


Festival Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Ideal Film Submissions: Cucalorus loves filmmakers who are taking risks and telling new stories. We embrace artists who are outrageous, wildly weird, and passionately strange — and especially films directed by women, Black and Brown filmmakers, and Indigenous artists. The ideal submission is an observational portrait that is both funny and expansive, experimental but also accessible, that encourages us to be braver and bolder while also comforting us about the strange world around us.  

Film Submission Pet Peeves:We love pets! We’ve been dreaming of a few pygmy goats or maybe a baby giraffe. Please send instructions. Do not send peeves. We don’t like. 

Also Read: 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee


Festival Location: Waco, Texas 

Ideal Film Submissions: The best submissions give us great characters. Whether it’s a comedy, drama or doc, we’re looking for dynamic personalities we can connect with and invest in their stories.  

Film Submission Pet Peeves: Update your film’s social media! We all have to get creative due to social distancing, and while we can’t meet in person, we can utilize social media to promote you and your work.  


Festival Location: Dallas, Texas 

Ideal Film Submissions: Feature, short films and emerging media that explore science, conservation, climate change, and the environment while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet. 

Film Submission Pet Peeves: Films that rush their creative process to deliver by our deadlines. We screen year-round on EarthxTV, so finish your film the right way, then submit it.

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  1. Ned Cordery says:

    OK we hear the Festivals now for the Festivals to hear this film maker. Tell us how many entries you receive and how many are screened for the previous year. Tell us now many entries are requested by the Festival to be screened by-passing the entry process. Detail your screening selection process. We are tired o being financial fodder particularly to the big name festivals where less than 5% of entries are screened.

  2. Pat Pawlak says:

    Great article but what about distributors/film makers pet peeves? Had a film that sold out at a certain film festival. THey wanted the print so I agreed if they paid for shipping both ways they could screen the film. Estimated they made $10,000 off the screenings but they refused to send the print back.

    Holy cow, I saw that four (4) programmers from that festival were staying at the Carlton in Cannes ($500 a night, minimum 10 night stay) right after their festival but they refused to honor their agreement to ship that print back (due to”lack of funds”?) but they had no problem spending at least $50,000 on themselves at the most expensive hotel in Cannes (air fare, food,etc.) .

    That film screened at another festival at 1,500 seat theater twice, standing room only. I was there estimating the film made that festival $35,000 +. I could go on how some of these festivals are really taking advantage now with these submission fees.

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