Festival Location: Shreveport, Louisiana
Ideal Film Submissions: In order to have a shot at the world’s largest cash prize for a short film, filmmakers must shoot an original 5- to 15-minute short film in northwest Louisiana. All narrative genres are accepted. To compete at the festival and win the $25,000 grand prize, your rough cut must be selected into the Top 20 films. The Top 20 Film Prize Finalist films are then judged during Prize Fest by industry folks and a general audience looking for innovative indie filmmakers wanting to elevate to the next level. Winning films have always featured strong stories with good sound.
Film Submission Pet Peeves: The Film Prize selection process is one of the most thought-out and well-executed processes in the indie filmmaking world. If chosen for the Film Prize Finals, filmmakers are tasked with creating a sales and marketing campaign for their film tailored for the Film Prize Jury (50% of the vote) and Film Prize attendees (50% of the vote). One of the biggest mistakes a filmmaker makes is when she/he doesn’t engage with the magical Film Prize process of emulating the real-world experience of creating and promoting the film. The filmmaker misses out on the chance of winning $25,000 cash, and on a one-of-a-kind film festival experience.
Festival Location: Mammoth Lakes, California
Ideal Film Submissions: Films that have a strong visual style, heart, specific point of view, and a fresh approach to the medium. Risk taking.
Film Submission Pet Peeves: Derivative style. Predictable storytelling. Films with stock characters. On the nose writing. Bad sound. An overly long and poorly written synopsis.
Festival Location: Naples, Florida
Ideal Film Submissions: Films emphasizing the visual and performing arts, inspirational films, and films that have humor and heart.
Film Submission Pet Peeves: When the password changes on a submitted film screener without anyone letting us know the new one.
Festival Location: Atlanta
Ideal Film Submissions: Filmmakers who know what kind of festival we are and who take the time to send a cover letter addressed to individuals on our programming team.
Film Submission Pet Peeves: Filmmakers who don’t know what kind of festival we are (specifically non-LGBTQ titles) and send cover letters with the salutation “To Whom It May Concern.”
Festival Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Ideal Film Submissions: Tightly edited, cohesive, gorgeous, fantastic unique stories.
Film Submission Pet Peeves: “Dear sirs” in the cover letter, sending the trailer but not the film, putting a faulty password to “test” if we are watching; and submitting in the wrong category — no, your 5-minute short is not a feature.
What Film Festivals Want continues on the next page.