The following are tips and helpful advice about film festivals given by various people. Film Festivals are constantly growing and changing so please take the following information as it is. Enjoy!
HOW TO PACKAGE A FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSION By Susan Youssef (edited and updated by Sarah Gonzalez)
1. The Tape (or DVD)
Buy a gazillion blank tapes (or DVDs) from Pro-Tape or Media Toolbox. Both are in local shops that sell VHS (or DVDs) for much cheaper than Radioshack. I would say buy at least 50. Yes. 50. You will need to submit to at least 10 festivals, and then when you get in, you will give lots of tapes (or DVDs) out to new friends and contacts at the festival.
2. The Label
For tapes buy Avery label size 5199-F (Video Face) and 5199-S (Video Spine) from Pro-Tape or an office supply store. For DVDs this process may vary. A number of companies manufacture and distribute blank DVD and CD labels that are designed to be used with an inkjet printer. You will also need publishing software to design and print your labels. Using the “Labels” option under “Tools” Microsoft Word, make labels that contain the following information:
* Contact information (e-mail address and/or phone number)
* Total Running Time (TRT)
* NTSC or PAL (NTSC is American format; PAL is European)
* Subtitles (if appropriate)
Example: Here’s one of my spine labels.
Forbidden to Wander • Dir. Susan Youssef • firstname.lastname@example.org • (512) 555-1526 • TRT: 35 min. • NTSC • English subtitles
3. Write a synopsis.
A short one. Three sentences max. Some festivals require they be as short as 25 words. It’s okay to hint at the resolution in your synopsis but be careful to not give everything away. Don’t write a review. Make sure this captures the what the story is about.
Example: For my short film Las Amigas Bonitas, my synopsis is, “A young girl escapes from her own private hell to the grocery store.” This is closer to a log line because it hooks people. “The sheriff of an island town takes to the seas when a bloodthirsty shark invades the local waters.”
Have a longer synopsis ready and in your press kit just in case a festival requires it. Keep in mind the difference between logline and tagline because if a festival asks you for one and you give them the other, it shows you don’t know what you are talking about.
A log line is a brief summary, often providing both a synopsis of the plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest. It usually introduces you to the protagonist and his/her problem.
“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.” – Log Line for The Wizard of Oz
“When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.” – logline for Jaws
A tagline is a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising.
“We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!” – Tagline for The Wizard of Oz
“Amity Island had everything. Clear skies. Gentle surf. Warm water. People flocked there every summer. It was the perfect feeding ground.” –Tagline for Jaws
“Don’t go in the water” – Tagline for Jaws
4. Film stills
Send stills of scenes from your film—not photos of your production crew. Consider submitting a still from a scene that is nicely composed and interesting to the eye. A boring-looking or poor-quality still is not going to help you. Your film still may be the first thing that festivals happen to look at even before viewing your tape, so it’s worth your effort to try to make a good impression. Furthermore, the still you submit may be used for publicity in catalogues and web sites, so keep in mind that the image you select will be your face to the world.
If you failed to take film stills during your film shoot or the photos you took turn out badly, you may consider re-staging a scene with your actors at a later date.
If you are cheap or broke, you can opt not to send stills, but it is best to send one image. You need all the publicity help you can get to become the next Jane Campion or Wes Anderson or Todd Haynes.
You can send your still as a print or digital image. One of the best and most affordable options today is to submit a digital image saved as a 300 dpi TIFF file. You can submit digital images on CDR, or with permission, as an e-mail attachment.
5. Filmmakers’ Biography or Filmography
If you think that something significant has happened to you and /or your films, and you would like to let them know, write it down.
Example: Josh Khali’s work has screened at film festivals all over Texas, including the Cinematexas International Short Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, and the Dallas Video Festival.
Otherwise: Josh Khali is a filmmaker based in Austin, Texas.
6. Press Packet
If they ask for a press packet, don’t sweat. It’s usually not necessary to submit one for short films.
However if it comes up don’t sweat. Press Kits help festivals promote your film. A basic press kit includes the following:
You can submit a CD-R with :
* Film Synopsis – Text File (Write a short and long one)
* Director’s Bio – Text File (200 words maximum)
* main Crew bios (producer, Director of photography, etc) – Text File (200 words maximum)
* Photo of Director – Jpeg, Tiff, PSD (3inch x 5inch at 150dpi minimum)
(Optional but highly recommended)
* Project History – Text File (discuss any cute stories associated with how it was made. where else has the production been screened? Has it won any awards? )
* Reviews and Third Party Endorsements – Text File (Do you have any blurbs that other accredited people have said about the film?)
* Movie Poster – Jpeg, Tiff, PSD (3inch x 5inch at 150dpi minimum)
* Production Stills – Jpeg, Tiff, PSD (3inch x 5inch at 150dpi minimum)
Buy bubble envelopes from HEB, and be sure to mail them “media mail” from the post office. That’s the cheapest way for your tape to get there in one piece. Do not send them in fiber stuffed envelopes!
Priority and express mail are not necessary unless you are running late for a deadline.
Send a self-addressed, stamped postcard that they can mail you to let you know that they received and are processing your submission.
9. The Fee
Yes, this is expensive. Unless your particular work has already screened at lots of festivals or you have been invited to submit, suck it up and pay it. I do on occasion ask for a fee waiver or discount, but only from smaller festivals or from festivals where I personally know the programmers. (On the other hand, smaller festivals often need the fee money to keep themselves in operation more than the larger, more established festivals do. You decide.)
10. About “Without A Box”
It’s an online service that gives you a way to submit to tons of festivals, using only one form, and get discounts on submission fees. It’s also a way to find out about all the festival deadlines.
“Without A Box” may be good for you do if you don’t want to do a lot of research or fill out a lot of submission forms, and are seeking a very broad distribution plan (i.e. to submit to tons of festivals). Visit www.withoutabox.com.
If you miss the deadline for submission, write the festival an e-mail and ask if you can submit late. Sometimes they will accept it. Most of the time, they won’t. It doesn’t hurt asking.
12. “I won’t be done in time for the deadline!”
Send them a rough cut that makes the deadline. Then send them updated cuts as they come along. (Until you get in or rejected from the festival.) You can do this as long as you think you will finish the film in time for the festival. If the festival isn’t receptive to this then there’s always next year.
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Festivals you should know about
-by Susan Youssef
Think of applying to festivals as similar to applying to colleges–they cost about the same to apply to, some of the judging is arbitrary, and it is highly rewarding if you get in, but if you don’t–don’t take it personally.
There is a group of festivals referred to as the “A-List.” They are basically really, really hard to get into (think of getting into these festivals as getting into Harvard or Yale). They are a destination for major media people–distributors, reviewers, and film enthusiasts.
A-list festivals* include:
-Toronto International Film Festival
-Rotterdam International Film Festival
-Berlin International Film Festival
-Venice International Film Festival
*Note: Some people might argue about the categories I am creating; just use this a general guide to understand how to create a festival distribution
There are many other highly competitive festivals, where the odds of getting in are still pretty slim, but more likely. (Think of this as getting into UT-Austin or Rice) Below are examples from a variety of categories:
-South by Southwest
-Full Frame (documentary festival)
-Clermont-Ferrand (shorts festival)
-New York Underground (experimental film festival)
-Outfest (gay & lesbian film festival)
-Lunafest (women’s film festival)
-Ann Arbor (a destination for art films and experimental work)
Unlike applying to colleges, there is no SAT to gage where you belong. In deciding where I apply to, I handle it pretty much the same as I handled applying to colleges.
I have reach festivals, target festivals, and safe festivals.
For example for my first short “Las Amigas Bonitas,” I applied to:
-Sundance, Telluride, and SXSW–as reach festivals. As a first-time narrative filmmaker, without previous contacts with programmers or a previous film reputation to go on, I knew getting in would be really, really hard. (And I didn’t get in.)
-NYC Mix Festival and Cinematexas–as target festivals. “Las Amigas Bonitas”
is a queer experimental short. Mix and Cinematexas program a lot of experimental short work. It got into these festivals. Mix and Cinematexas are so well-reputed that other programmers from other festivals dialogue with them and review their catalogues. This helped me get into a lot of other festivals, including Slamdance.
-Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival-as a safety festival. I knew my film
would have a good chance of getting in because it is a locally made queer film. And it did.
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How do you gage where your film belongs?
-by Susan Youssef
It costs money to apply to festivals, and I suggest applying to about 10 anyways. It is really hard when you are a first-time or novice filmmaker to break into the festival circuit. But still if you break into just one, there is a very high chance that you will get into others. As I mentioned previously, programmers share resources.
I would not spend all of my money on A-lists. They are usually the most expensive festivals to apply to. Plan wisely: find your niche markets–be it Jewish, outdoors, children–whatever, finding your specific market will help A LOT. You will have a higher chance of getting in because the programmers arelooking for films like yours.
Examples of niche festival categories:
You can easily research these festivals online.
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Film Festivals I recommend
-by Susan Youssef
So what are the highly reputed festivals that are not the A-list festivals?
I will break them up into category. This is by no means the end all list of
great festivals. This is a general list to help you devise your plan:
Women in the Director’s Chair
Madcat International Women’s Film Festival
Gay & Lesbian:
Ethnic/Minority Film Festivals:
Arab Film Festival
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
San Francisco Asian Film Festival
NY Latino Film Festival
Urbanworld Film Festival (Black & Hispanic work)
Sundance-Native American Showcase
Festivals that I think UT students should DEFINITELY apply to because they are free/cheap to apply to, local, student-aimed, or all three.
-Texas Filmmakers Showcase-It’s free to submit and they will take your work to L.A. to screen at the Director’s Guild of America. All categories of work accepted.
-Cinematexas UT Competition-You can win cash prizes, and all people who apply get festival badges! All categories.
-Student Academy Awards-It’s free to apply, and who doesn’t want an Oscar? All categories.
-UT Filmmakers Hollywood Showcase-It’s free to apply, and they will fly you to L.A. if you get in. Work geared towards a Hollywood audience.
-NextFrame Student Film Festival-It’s a touring film festival.
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I GOT INTO A FESTIVAL. NOW WHAT?
By Susan Youssef and (edited and updated by Sarah Gonzalez)
1. DO go to all the parties.
Schmooze. Make friends. Even if you sit at the bar, drinking alone and feeling pathetic. It’s good practice. You will make friends by just being out there. Compliments go a long way in starting conversation.
2. DO approach filmmakers whose films you liked.
Come prepared to meet people. Have cards and DVDs ready. Be ready to give them a copy of your film. Don’t be shy. You were good enough to get into this festival and so was this filmmaker. You are professional equals.
3. DO NOT GET DRUNK but do have a good time. It’s okay to drink but it’s not okay to be known for being a drunk ass in front of people you are trying to impress.
4. DO NOT go home with the gorgeous, super-hot filmmaker from a distant city.
You don’t want to burn any bridges or build bridges that go down the wrong roads. Remind your self that you want to come off professional. This isn’t just a normal vacation. You are a professional. Remember that.
5. DO go to panels and learn.
Take advantage of all a festival has to offer. Go into it humble and ready to learn all you can. South By Southwest, for example, has wonderful panels on things like festival distribution.
6. DO watch the films!
You are at this festival to screen your film but you are also there to network, learn something and hopefully be entertained. Make sure you attend other people’s screenings. That way you have something to talk about with all the people you are going to approach.
7. DO be courteous and respectful!
While you are at the screenings, be on your best behavior. Don’t get to a screening late. Try not to walk around during someone’s film. And as always, turn your cell phone off! You don’t want to be that guy who’s phone went off during the screening (especially if you have a ringtone that might make some sort of embarrassing statement). Make sure you sit through the credits. Festival rookies might not know this, but you always clap when the credits roll and see “directed by…”.
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FILM FESTIVAL STRATEGIES by Greg Pak
So you’ve finished your short and want to show the world.
What to do? As you know, there are a few giant film festivals which everybody’s desperate to crack: Sundance, Telluride, Berlin, the New York Film Festival, Toronto, Montreal…
Of course you should enter all of these huge film festivals, particularly if your ultimate goal is to get an agent, sell your screenplays, and make feature films. These are the festivals the big and small cheeses in the industry go to and talk about; it’s a great place to make a splash.
Do not agonize for more than half an hour when you get your rejection letter from Sundance. Sundance and these other giant festivals are not the be-all and end-all for independent films, particularly for shorts. Nor is getting into one of these festivals any guarantee of your film’s ultimate success—I’ve had friends who have taken their short films to Sundance and had little business result.
There are dozens, even hundreds of decent venues for your short film. Any one of them can provide you with the exposure and contacts you’re looking for to further your career. And all of them can give you that all-important experience of seeing your film screened before an audience other than your family and friends.
This point is worth emphasizing: you should jump on chances to screen your film not only for self-promotional purposes, but also because seeing your film screened will make you a better filmmaker.
Furthermore, I’ve often find that excellent experiences and business contacts come from the festivals or screenings for which I’d had low expectations. More and more cities these days have tiny micro cinemas specializing in independent films and shorts—if all of your expectations have centered on Sundance, you might have ignored these venues. But screening at small local venues can be invaluable, introducing you to a community of local filmmakers, programmers, and film buffs.
So where should I submit my films, you ask?
I’d recommend reading the festival listings in “The Independent,” the magazine of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers. On the west coast, the Film Arts Foundation has a similar magazine called “Release Print” with even more extensive listings. Indiewire regularly posts festival deadlines; if you do an online search for “film festivals,” you’ll no doubt come up with many other resources.
As you’ll quickly see, there are hundreds of festivals in the United States alone. Your next task is to decide where to send your film.
I have a few criteria I use.
1) Submit to the big fests.
You never know.
2) Submit to strong second-tier fests.
There are a number of well known festivals which, though not as huge as Sundance, are excellent places to show shorts and get a little attention. I always submit to South by Southwest, the Austin Heart of Film Festival, the Shorts International Film Festival, the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, the AFI Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival, Slamdance…
Clermont Ferrand, a shorts festival and market in France, is a great place to get screened—short film buyers from around the world pick up films there. And other filmmakers tell me that the Aspen Short Film Festival is an incredibly fun place to screen a film.
For documentaries, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the DoubleTake Film Festival, the Yamagata Documentary Film Festival, Cinema du Reel, and the Margaret Mead Film Festival are good choices.
3) Submit to places you like.
There are a few festivals which have shown my films in the past, which I enjoyed attending, and which I just plain like. Just because they know me is no guarantee they’ll accept my future films, but I like these folks, so I’ll always submit to festivals like Cinequest and Film Fest New Haven.
4) Submit to the appropriate specialty festivals.
I always submit my film to any specialty festivals which are appropriate. Many of my films have Asian American content—I always submit them to the many excellent Asian American festivals around the country. Do some digging around and you’ll find festivals which specialize in everything from Native American films to gay and lesbian films to nature films to underground/subversive cinema to digital art to dance.
I’ve found that some of the best festival experiences, particularly for short filmmakers, can come at these specialty festivals. These festivals often are run by idealists whose agenda is to celebrate their community and support their filmmakers. It’s a nice feeling, being celebrated and supported.
If you have a gay or lesbian themed film, by all means submit it to the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Since my short “Po Mo Knock Knock” played there, I’ve received emails or letters of interest from at least a half a dozen other interested festivals. I’ve had great experience at almost all of the Asian American film festivals—for contact information, visit the AsianAmericanFilm.com Filmmakers Network page.
5) Submit to places nearby or where you have friends.
I look for festivals I can actually attend (or which friends and family can attend). I live in New York, so I tend to submit my films to just about every venue I hear about in the five boroughs, no matter how small. As I’ve pontificated above, there are huge benefits to seeing your film in front of an audience. I’m also more likely to submit to festivals in places like Texas or the Bay Area—places I have loads of friends and family.
6) Submit to places with prizes.
Whether a festival gives prizes is an important consideration, particularly if you have a film like a documentary short or an experimental film which can fit into a less competitive category.
Here’s the way I think about it:
The vast majority of shorts submitted to festivals are fictional narratives, dramas or comedies. So if there’s a general competition category for “Short Narrative,” the number of films competing is enormous. Now, many fewer documentary shorts and experimental shorts tend to be submitted. So if there are separate categories for experimental or documentary shorts, your statistical odds are simply better. It may seem cold and calculating, but if you’re weighing the worth of coughing up another thirty bucks for another festival entry fee, a little cold calculation may be in order.
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The Top Ten Film Festivals
- by Chris Gore
1. Sundance Film Festival
2. Toronto International Film Festival
3. Cannes Film Festival
4. American Film Institute (AFI) Los Angeles International Film Festival
5. Berlin Film Festival
6. SXSW: South By Southwest Film Festival
7. Telluride Film Festival
8. Los Angeles Film Festival
9. Seattle International Film Festival
10. Tribeca Film Festival
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The Top Ten Film Festivals for American Independents
- by Chris Gore
1. Sundance Film Festival
2. SXSW: South By Southwest Film Festival
3. American Film Institute (AFI) Los Angeles International Film Festival
4. IFP Los Angeles Film Festival
5. Telluride Film Festival
6. Seattle International Film Festival
7. Tribeca Film Festival
8. New York New Directors Film Festival
9. Denver International Film Festival
10. Cinequest San Jose Film Festival
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10 important Factors to Consider When Applying to Festivals
- by Chris Gore
As the filmmaker (writer, director, producer or the combination of the three), your job is to act as the ambassador of your film. When you travel to a festival, you represent everyone who worked on the movie and the movie itself. Make no mistake, selecting the festivals to submit your film to is an important decision. You will be throwing away vast amounts of time and money if you do not consider these ten important factors before submitting to any festival. In order of importance, they are:
1.) PRESTIGE. Submitting your film to a prestige festival will give your movie its best chance to be sold to a distributor, receive loads of press coverage, get your next film deal, and (cross your fingers) launch your brilliant career as a filmmaker. Also , just getting accepted into a prestige festival can make a great quote on a DVD sleeve – something as simple as “Official Selection Sundance Film Festival.” I’ll bet you’ve noticed that on more than a few films. Prestige counts for a lot. Being accepted into one of the top ten film festivals is an honor, so keep that in mind.
2.) DISTRIBUTORS. Is the festival considered a “discovery” film festival – one that distributors attend? If the ultimate goal is to sell your film, this must be of paramount concern to you. Make sure to ask the festival staff which acquisitions executives will be attending.
3.) REVIEWS AND PRESS COVERAGE. Getting exposure in newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, magazines like Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, American Cinematographer, Filmmaker, web outlets like FilmThreat.com and IndieWire, and trades like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety is another important factor to consider. Your chances of being covered and/or reviewed by these outlets increases when they actually attend the festival. But it’s also your job to be sure that they see a screening of your film. Ask the festival office to provide a list of the journalists attending the festival. If the festival has only attracted local press, it may not be worth your time. Unless, of courses, that local press is in one of the Top Ten markets in the US.
4.) PRIZES AND AWARDS. From sizable cash awards to film equipment to lab deals, prizes should play a role in your decision to submit. The winner of the Grand Prize for Dramatic Feature at the Heartland Film Festival gets $50,000 – that’s a damn good prize. Cash awards are always a nice dividend. Be sure to research the prizes awarded and take them into consideration when submitting. Inquire about audience awards, judges awards, and so on. Any type of award that your film receives only serves to increase its overall value. While it’s an honor to receive a jury award, audience awards hold a lot of clout since they are the true gauge for whether moviegoers respond to your film.
5.) LOCATION. Could this film festival be a well-earned holiday as well as a chance to schmooze with the big-shots of the movie world? If it’s a choice between Hawaii Film Festival and a festival in Ohio, the choice is clear. Surf’s up! Hawaii!
6.) PERKS. How does the festival treat you? IS the flight paid for Are you put up for free? For example, The Florida Film Festival treats filmmakers like royalty, even offering passes to Disneyland and Universal Studios Theme Park while the filmmakers are in town. Be sure to inquire about paid expenses and other perks. Travel costs can add up fast, so research what expenses festivals will cover. Almost all festivals cover lodging , fewer cover airfare, and a small few will give the filmmakers per diem. Get the facts before you submit.
7.) APPLICATION FEE. Festival application fees can be really steep. Upwards of $50 for some. At that price, enter 20 fests and you’ve spent a $1,000 bucks. With over 1,000 festivals world-wide, those application fees can add up fast. You could end up spending enough in application fees to fiancé your next film. Be sure to ask if a festival is willing to waive the fee. It’s always worth a try, and some of them will actually be willing to do it. If your film has no chance of being accepted anyway, why bother writing the check and submitting the film? Do your homework.
8.) RESEARCH AND RECOMMENDATIONS. There is a list of festivals in specific categories (on this site), but you should do your own research and contact other filmmakers who have either attended or had their films shown at that particular festival, if at all possible.
9.) CONTACTS. It’s vitally important to make useful contacts for investors in future films, distributors, acquisitions executives, agents, lawyers, and especially other filmmakers who can help you along in your career. Or simply to make friends in the industry. You never know how these contacts can pay off later.
10.) FUN. Yes, fun. If it’s going to be miserable, why bother? Working the festival circuit, plugging a film day in and day out, can be grueling after the fiftieth post-screening question and answer session. Select festival in places you’d like to visit – that way, if the festival is a bore, at least you’ll have the opportunity to explore a new city.
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Avoiding Mistakes on the All-Important Festival Application
-By Chris Gore
All you have to do is fill out the applicator, write a check, enclose a video, mail it off and your in, right? Wrong! Filmmakers who follow this path are only fooling themselves. There are some very simple things you can do to make the lives of the people running the festival a little easier and thereby greatly increase your chance of acceptance. Follow this advice and avoid the mistakes that turn many festival entries into recycled videotapes and DVD coasters.
1.) FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. The first thing that can leave a film teetering on the fence of rejection is not the following the direction on the application. This only serves to upset busy festival workers. If you have any questions or extenuating circumstances regarding your film, be sure to call the festival.
2.) LABEL CORRECTLY. A package sent to a festival generally includes the check, application, the film on tape or DVD, the sleeve and press kit, press materials, photos, etc. Be sure to label every single one of these things and include your contact information on everything. If you send a video, the contact info should be on the sleeve and the video.
3.) INQUIRE ABOUT A FESTIVAL’S PRE-SCREENING PROCESS. Most festivals won’t admit this, but many submissions are viewed, generally by subordinates, and only the first five to ten minutes are actually viewed. This is an unfortunate reality. However, when you consider that some festivals receive over 800 films, resulting in close to 1,500 hours of viewing time, you can’t blame them for rushing through the screening process.
4.) RESEARCH THE NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED. Your chances may be better at a smaller festival with fewer submissions.
5.) SAVE YOUR PREMIERE FOR THE RIGHT FESTIVAL. It’s something you’ll hear more than once: your premiere should be protected, as it is your film’s virginity (and you can only give it up once). When submitting to a festival, full disclosure is necessary, so be honest. Lying on the application is never a good idea since the festival staff will eventually find out anyway. If the film has screened elsewhere, you must include this information. One way to get around “premiering” too soon is to screen at a festival as a work-in-progress out of competition and be sure you are not listed in the program guide. This means you can still officially “premiere” at a bigger festival sometime in the future. Don’t hesitate to ask a festival whether playing at another will exclude you from acceptance. Play Toronto in September will not exclude you from playing Sundance in January, but if you play the AFI Fest in November, you chances for playing Sundance will be over.
6.) DO NOT INCLUDE A LONG APOLOGETIC LETTER POINTING OUT YOUR FILM’S FAULTS. Dailies are for you to examine, not the film festival. Send as close to a finished film as possible. Your cover letter should include all the basic details and should be no more than one page. If the film is an answer print, certainly point that out, but don’t dwell on it or go into exhausting detail.
7.) MAKE A PERSONAL CONNECTION. Any kind of connection you can make in your cover letter or follow-up phone call or email to the festival is helpful, Attaching a voice to a name make you human and not just another application. But don’t be bothersome by constantly sending letters asking, “are we in yet?” In the case of festivals, the squeaky wheel gets annoying really fast, so be understanding and respectful of festivals staffers’ time. There are hundreds of other filmmakers also waiting for a response.
8.) DO NOT INCLUDE PROMOTIONAL JUNK. T-shirts, sticker, pens and other promotional give-always will often make their way into the garbage. You’ll need this stuff later to promote your film – after it’s been accepted. Don’t send it in with your film.
9.) HAVE A STORY. I mean your own personal story. There is a reason you made your film, and your struggle to get in on screen can be as compelling as the film itself. It makes a great story in a festival program and will set your apart from the pack. Is the film auto-biographical? What makes your film so important that people should be willing to pay to see it? What hardships did you endure to tell your tale? The viewers of your film will look differently at it if they know you had to sell blood to get it made. If you really have no story, be creative.
10.) SUBMIT ON TIME. Submitting late will only give the festival staff an easy excuse to reject your film. It also means that most screening slots have already been filled and that your film will most likely not be viewed in its entirety.
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How do I find out about festivals deadlines?
Subscribe to any of the following:
- Without A Box (https://www.withoutabox.com/) a new way of getting down on the paperwork via on-line form filling which stays up-to-date with the film festival scene
-Film Festivals.com – a list (too big sometimes) of every festival worldwide
-Austin Film Society e-mail list become a member of the Austin Film Society and receive constant updates on film festivals, opportunities and screenings.
-Cage website and newsletter
A good book to help with your festival needs is Chris Gore’s Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide.
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Alan’s Tips for Student Films
-by Alan Hogan
I’m not a film student. But I’m the guy who mutters about how annoying your mistakes are while attending the student film festival — and I’m the guy who can’t stop talking about how great your film was when you get it all right.
These are some tips to keep me happy.
I swear a bit in here, but you film students are used to that. Mom, skip to my next blog entry.
1.) Spend more time writing your script than creating a logo for yourself.
* Read your script out loud.
* Don’t be afraid to rewrite your whole script. No cut-copy-paste superficial editing: rewrite the whole damn thing. After your first draft, you will have a better idea of what you are trying to say, and your next draft will let you really focus on saying that.
* You had better have a great point or make me laugh. Nothing is worse than a film with no point. I don’t give a shit if you used a camera angle you never used before.
* I’m serious about revising. Otherwise, you might end up like the poor sap who was laughed at by the whole theater for simultaneously attempting to reveal crucial plot information at the beginning of the film and pretending that no one knew that information and “suspensefully” building up to its disclosure at the climax.1 It’s idiotic, but even an idiot would avoid this mistake once he/she decided he/she wanted to go for suspense and rewrote the script to eliminate the giveaways.
2.) Seriously, about your logo. Don’t over-do it
You can create a cutesy “X Productions” name and logo2 for yourself if you really want, but if your film focuses on it for more than 2 seconds, I start choking on your delusions of grandeur. At 5 seconds, I throw up and can’t finish my oversalted bag of popcorn (no butter, if you’re buying to thank me for my brilliant and frank advice).
3.) Ask friends for feedback on for script. Have them focus on plausibility and dialog (or humor, if that’s what you’re going for).
4.) Lighting matters.
Don’t half-ass it. Keep your color balance consistent. And if your dialogue indicates it’s 3 A.M., don’t let me see light shining through the goddamn window.
Oh, and back-lighting is nearly always bad. When done well, it can really make your film shine; typically, though, it just makes it hard for us to see your actors. Which leads us to our next tip:
5.) Do not use effects because they’re cool.
In web design, we have a maxim that no design element should be used without a purpose. I imagine the same rule works for effects of all kinds in films. What does it do? Nothing? Take it out!
6.) Spend a lot of time editing.
Boring parts suck. Wow, you zoomed out from the detailed close-up to a wider action scene? Great, but if you take 30 seconds to freaking zoom out, I’ll pass out from a lethal case of boredom. Stop wanking while thinking about how classy your zoom-out is and cut to the chase already. If the audience is all aware of your camera work, you’re doing it wrong; they are missing your message.
Long speeches suck. You should have edited your drafts enough to prevent that, but for a documentary that isn’t exactly how things work — so play the money quote and skip the rambling.
7.) Get feedback on your edited film, then edit it some more.
Your friends have eyes that haven’t already seen this on-set, in rough cuts, or the script. Use those eyes. Ask them what parts didn’t make sense. DO NOT dismiss their concerns, as your ego will ask you to. Figure out why your friends were confused. Was dialog ambiguous? Did it contradict something visually? Fix it.
8.) Soundtracks are hard.
I am impressed by how well-done many of your soundtracks are.
Tips: Use music that suits your film, not just your taste.
Don’t use a song if the lyrics don’t fit.
Don’t layer a song with lyrics over dialog.
9.) The only default font you can use for your title and credits is Helvetica. If you haven’t studied typography, you probably shouldn’t pick anything besides the following ridicule-safe fonts:
* Helvetica (Arial works as a substitute. See Helvetica the movie if you have any doubts)
* Gotham (Though you should be aware this is now associated with Obama, at least when used in all caps)
* Gill Sans (for credits/scenes; great readability, but ugly for titles)
* Futura / Century Gothic / Neutra (for a modern feel; titles only, not credits)
* Large, beautiful, classical (not edgy) serifs
If all else fails, just remember to never use any of the following:
* Times New Roman
* Comic Sans (seriously.)
* Courier or any other unforgivably ugly monospace or typewriter font
* Bank Gothic (tempting since the pros use it, but it’s the most over-used film font since Trajan, and it’s wide as all hell anyway).
Also avoid “pure” (fully saturated) red, yellow, green, and blue (#ff0000, #ffff00, #00ff00, and #0000ff, respectively) for text. You’ll look like an amateur. Less-saturated colors, black, or white will do fine. We’re here for the movie, not to ooh and ahh over the fact you figured out how to change the font color for no bloody reason.
An uncommon font that directly relates to your subject is usually excusable, but let me stress that while it is a boring, vanilla choice, you can never go wrong with Helvetica.
Seriously, I cannot vote for you at the film festival if you use Comic Sans, and I will laugh out loud if your title is set in Curlz.
10.) Do not over-compress your movie or edit at a low resolution.
Your film should not look like someone is playing a YouTube clip on the big screen.
11.Hope (or double-check well ahead of time) that the projectionist will show your film with the proper aspect ratio. Nothing is worse than all your hard work being ruined by the fattened look of your 4:3 actors being shown in 19:6. Yes, this happens, and it makes jerks like me want to walk out.
Written: Wed., April 29th, 2009
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NOT To-Do List For Film Festivals
- by Stacy Parks
…a list of things NOT to do when plotting out your film festival strategy
1. Do NOT haphazardly apply to festivals by bum-rushing
the entire list at one time.
2. Do NOT apply to festivals without a finished cut of your
3. Do NOT premiere your film at a small festival if there is
potential for you getting accepted into a Tier 1 or 2 festival.
4. Do NOT call the festival programmers and bug them about
your film getting accepted into the festival.
5. Do NOT screen your film at a festival without having all
your music rights cleared for ALL RIGHTS distribution.
These may seem like common sense to you all, but believe me
when I tell you, I see these mistakes made ALL THE TIME.
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Film Festival Advice from SXSW Fest Producer
By Janet Pierson
1. Now that you’re done, think very seriously about what you’ve made. Who’s it for? Not only who’ll enjoy it once seen, but who would want to see it in the first place? How original is it?
2. Consider your goals – what are you looking for? Appreciation of the work? That could mean many different things: either by appreciative audiences? Industry? or prize juries? They’re not all the same. And these days there are more varieties of the viewing experience. An entree to travel the world? Income?
3. Research the landscape. The film world is changing dramatically, both independent and mainstream. Research! What kind of films are getting attention. What kind of attention? What are the hidden costs of promoting your film? Is there any income stream?
4. Research festivals – try to find ones that fit YOUR film. Don’t apply indiscriminately. You can however, use more than one criteria: Where will your work be appreciated by fans? by industry? by press? Where would you like to go? Some festivals are in amazing places, some will support your trip financially, and others will provide a fantastic network and experience.
5. Pay particular attention to the length! Where will it fit? Eight minutes or shorter is considered a more programmable length for short films. Keep in mind short films are usually programmed in a group or singly in front of a feature. If it’s @ 30 minutes – where is it “showable?”
6. Read the submission guidelines carefully!! Follow them carefully!!
7. Observe deadlines.
8. Once you’re accepted at a festival (or festivals!), again, research the particular event and locale. Determine what kind of publicity and marketing is needed for that screening. Don’t expect the festival to do the work! They’re providing you with the date, time, locale. How are you going to take advantage?
9. Determine your web presence – whether that means creating a website or putting a trailer on YouTube. Pay careful attention to how much of your work to make available online, when. Even in these rapidly changing times, too much Internet exposure can harm your festival chances. By that I mean streaming the entire work, not talking about it.
10. Meet other filmmakers. See their work! I can’t stress enough how important that is. It’s not enough for you to make your own film! You have to watch other films and support fellow filmmakers as well.
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MORE FESTIVAL LISTINGS COMING SOON!!!
Muslim Film Festival (CA)
Muslim Film Festival showcases documentaries and feature films that explore the diverse images of films from Europe, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, America, Canada and more. Our organization is committed to showcasing the diverse views of Muslim cultures and perspectives around the world.
15/15 Film Festival
The 15/15 Film Festival is a multi-location event that is focused at providing emerging and independent filmmakers from across to simultaneously produce film across the world. It is held annually in July across 32 international destinations. The 15/15 Film Festival provides an excellent creative opportunity for filmmakers to make a short film that is up to 15 minutes in length in 15 hours!
The closing date for registration is usually seven days before Filming Day. We have an open policy for participants that would like to participate regardless of age, background or level of filmmaking experience. The only requirement set by the festival’s guidelines are:
* You must make your film between 08:00 – 23:00 on Filming Day
* Films must be no longer than 15 mins (including title and credits)
* Films must contain the secret object in 85% or more of your shots
* You must use the secret quote in an interesting way at least once
48 Hour Film Project
The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours. On Friday night, you get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. Then it will show at a local theater, usually in the next week. (Austin, TX is one of the chosen cities to host the 48 Hour Film Project) Free to enter!
A.K.A Shriekfest, The Los Angeles Horror/Science Fiction Film Festival
AKA Shriek Fest is dedicated to discovering new and overlooked artists in the horror and science fiction genre. $25-55 to enter.
A.K.A Shriekfest, The Los Angeles Horror/Science Fiction Screenplay Competition
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Thrillers narrative shorts and features scripts! $25-55 to submit.
Accolade Film Festival
The Accolade is an international, non-traditional, virtual venue. Awards go to those filmmakers who produce fresh, standout entertainment, animation and compelling documentaries. The Accolade is a showcase for cinematic gems and unique voices.
Action! Student Film Festival
The City of Slidell, Louisiana invites you to showcase your creativity in the Action! Student Film Festival, a competition open to college students from throughout the United States. Cash prizes! $10 to enter.
Aesthetica Short Film Competition
Aesthetica is looking for filmmakers who are driving the genre of short film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Whether you are fresh out of film school or have been making films for years, we want to hear from you. Accepting films in all genres: drama, documentary, music video, satire, comedy and artists’ film. This award offers the winner and runners-up a fantastic prize package, which will bring your films to a wider audience. £15 entry fee.
African Diaspora Film Festival
The ADFF is paving the road in the new millennium by breaking through boundaries that keep our communities from knowing their own stories as well as each others. Moreover, filmmakers, writers, actors, producers, and other Festival artists share valuable moments of insight describing their craft, style, and vision in a series of post-screenings conversations the ADFF features. By marking the methods that underscore the art of cinema, the Festival demystifies the traditionally “elite and exclusive” aura of the filming process. These forums give rise to spontaneous and meaningful interaction between the featured artists and the audience.
African Film Festival
African Film Festival seeks to introduce African film to non-African audiences to help create a dialogue. Free to enter!
All Roads Film Festival
The All Roads Film Project is a National Geographic program dedicated to providing a platform for indigenous and underrepresented minority-culture storytellers around the world to showcase their works to promote knowledge, dialogue, and understanding with a broader, global audience.
American Black Film Festival
American Black Film Festival is a festival that embraces and celebrates independent black films, either with black subject matter or by black filmmakers. $30 to enter!
American Black Film Festival
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is a four-day retreat and international film market created to spearhead distribution opportunities for independent Black filmmakers.
Anchorage International Film Festival
Anchorage International Film Festival establishes a diverse, provocative, compelling, and entertaining showcase of excellent international feature length, documentary, short, supershort, and animation films that will engage our imaginations and enhance our lives culturally and artistically through the art of independent film. $15-40 to enter.
Angeleus Student Film Festival
Angeleus Student Film Festival showcases student films of uncommon artistic caliber that explores that complexity of the human condition with creativity , compassion and respect. $25 to enter!
Ann Arbor Film Festival
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is internationally recognized as a premiere showcase for creative, inspiring, and influential films of all types: avant-garde and experimental, story-based narratives, documentaries, and animation. As the original North American independent film festival, the AAFF is steeped in a rich tradition of ground-breaking cinema. Thousands of influential filmmakers have showcased early work at the AAFF, including luminaries such as Kenneth Anger, Agnes Varda, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant, Barbara Hammer, Lawrence Kasdan, and George Lucas. $18,00 in case prizes to over 30 films in a number of different categories. $35 to enter.
Annapolis Film Festival
Annapolis Film Festival is an international festival catering to all genres, bringing independent films to the scenic backyard of DC. $20-50 to enter.
AntiMatter Festival of Underground Short Film and Video
AntiMatter Festival of Underground Short Film and Video is dedicated to the exhibition and nurturing of film and video as art. $10-20 to enter.
Arizona International Film Festival
A celebration of extraordinary films not seen on ordinary screens.
Ashland Independent Film Festival
The ashland independent film festival is five days of the highest quality independent film in this historic town the Washington Post called “a dream you’ll never want to leave.” Every Spring, Southern Oregon is buzzing with the excitement of the AIFF. Over 6000 film lovers gather at the historic art-deco Varsity Theatre in downtown to watch over 80 films in five days. Filmmakers of the documentaries, features and shorts come from around the world come to engage with the audience after each screening and at the festival’s Opening Night Bash and Award Celebration parties with local wine, beer and gourmet food. Special guests have included Helen Hunt, Albert Maysles, Bruce Campbell and more. The film festival is one of the reasons Ashland is included in the popular travel guide A Thousand Places to See Before You Die. $30-75 to enter.
Asian American International Film Festival
The first and longest running festival to recognize the works of Asian/American media makers, categories: Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Short Films, Screenplays, Works-In-Progress, Youth Films (under 20)
ASPEN Shorts Fest
Considered one of North America’s premier short film and video festivals, Aspen Shortsfest celebrates that most innovative and vibrant voice on the cinematic landscape – the short. $40-50 to enter.
aTalentScout TV Contest
aTalentScout TV Contest is accepting TV treatments, pilots and episodes for existing TV shows. There is no restriction on genre. Half-hour and full-hour time formats accepted. $20-40
Atlanta Film Festival
AFF has been a showcase for some of the most interesting, challenging and engaging work in film. $45 Features, $40 Shorts to enter
Austin Asian American Film Festival
he AAAFF’s mission is to provide a channel for International Asian/Asian-American artists to promote their work, and to support and bring awareness to the community. AAAFF is an Asian/Asian-American film festival committed to celebrating the best in independent Asian cinema from across the globe. For years, our festival has highlighted the complexity and vitality of Asian/Asian-American communities through cutting-edge narrative, documentary and experimental films. We aim at bringing awareness to important global issues like saving the environment and supporting other causes through the strong impact of media.
Austin Film Festival Film Competition
AFF keeps its focus on the craft of screenwriting, making it unique among festivals where the director is always king. The festival attracts the top screenwriters in the industry. AFF likes films with unique stories. $40 to enter.
Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition
AFF keeps its focus on the craft of screenwriting, making it unique among festivals where the director is always king. The festival attracts the top screenwriters in the industry because it is one of the top screenwriting festivals in the world. Accepting both screenplays and teleplays. $30 for teleplays/ $40 for screenplays.
Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival
The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) is the oldest and largest gay and lesbian film festival in the Southwest.
Avignon New York Film Festival
Avignon New York Film Festival celebrates French and American independent film with new films, retrospectives, round-tables on pertinent issues with industry experts, interviews with filmmakers and receptions, gourmet food and high caliber beverages and liqueurs and prizes for emerging filmmakers. roughly $25 entry.
Backseat Film Festival
A self-proclaimed “rock ‘n roll film fest”, the BFF showcases movies of all genres, lengths, formats and budgets, but specializes in upbeat, unpretentious work that may not find a home at other, more traditional film festivals.
Cost: varies for deadline and length: $5-20
Balticon Film Festival
Over 300 Hours of Multi-Track Programming featuring authors, publishers, editors, artists, scientists, musicians and other creative SF luminaries. Join over a thousand SF fans for the area’s largest and longest running convention of its kind! Visit our huge art show, dealer’s room, concerts, dances, gaming room and video room. Everything Science Fiction and Fantasy in one huge package. free to enter!
Baltimore Women’s Film Festival
This non-profit festival is held during breast cancer awareness month. 50% of all ticket sale proceeds are donated to breast cancer research and the outreach/survivorship program for Johns Hopkins breast cancer patients. $20-50 entry fee
Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival
Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival showcasing exceptional educational, inspirational and positive films and videos from around the world. $40 Features, $35 Shorts
BERLIN & BEYOND Film Festival
BERLIN & BEYOND is looking for new dramatic and documentary features and shorts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland in German with English subtitles Awards: Best First Feature ($5000); Audience Award; Lifetime Achievement Award Special screenings: Kinofest Lünen’s audience favorite & Restored Silent Film The screening format is 35mm or in special cases digital formats. The films main language should be German, English subtitles are required. Preview material should be on DVD in NTSC or PAL. No application form or entry fee is required.
Bicycle Film Festival
The Bicycle Film Festival celebrates and embraces bicycles through film. BFF travels to over 20 cities around the world, including Paris, London, Tokyo, New York, Austin, LA — and Sydney. Free to enter!
Big Break Screenwriting Contest
With cash, rewards, mentorship, and industry exposure, Big Break lives up to its name. $50 to enter.
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival has grown to become the largest film event in Montana, and are again pleased to present Missoula with the best in documentary film under the big sky. The 10-day event is centered in downtown Missoula’s historic Wilma Theatre, the 1100-seat venue that houses Montana’s largest screen, and plays host to the visual immersion into a world where reality plays itself. With packed audiences of avid moviegoers, most films are accompanied by Q&A with their respective filmmakers. Special Events include nightly parties with great music, panel discussions, informal gatherings and the Big Sky in Schools Educational Outreach Program.
Birds Eye View
Birds Eye View celebrates & supports international women filmmakers. Founded as a short film event in 2002, we registered as a charity in 2004, launched the UK’s first major women’s film festival in 2005, and are now developing year-round activity with our First Weekenders Club, BEV Labs, touring programme and online community. Birds Eye View is a dynamic, fast growing organisation determined to make a difference. We showcase the best features, documentaries and short films made by women around the world, alongside a Retrospective celebrating the pioneering women of cinema and an Innovation programme exploring the creative possibilities opened up by new technology.
Black Soil International Hip Hop Film Festival
Black Soil’s scope was across the board and puts Hip Hop into a broader perspective. Next to the presentation of movies inspired by DJs, graffiti, MCs and break dancers, movies derived from Hip Hop were shown, as well as movies which have served as a source of inspiration to Hip Hop artists and to movie directors. In addition to films, Black Soil offered an extensive program, including i.e. panel discussions, exhibitions and battles, concerts and after parties with prominent DJs, MC’s and B-boyz and girlzzz.
BlueCat Screenplay Competition
Since 1998, BlueCat Screenplay Competition has built a large community of writers passionately committed to writing original, unforgettable work. This starts with our exchange of feedback to each writer who enters BlueCat. EVERY SCREENPLAY RECEIVES WRITTEN SCRIPT ANALYSIS!
PRIZES: Winner receives $10,000, Four Finalists receive $1500 each.
The screenplay with the best title submitted in November and December, as voted by the public, will receive $1000
Canadian Short Screenplay Competition
The competition is open to people all over the world and of any nationality, as long as the screenplay is written in the English language. It’s a wonderful opportunity for aspiring screenplay writers to get their work noticed and produced, as the top prize is a professionally produced live-action short film of the winning screenplay by Year of the Skunk productions, which is then submitted to festivals worldwide! $25 CAD to enter.
Chick Flicks Film Festival
In October, Women In Film Dallas hosts our Annual Chick Flicks Film Festival at Studio Movie Grill Movie Grill in Dallas on Royal Lane. Proceeds from submission entry fees and ticket sales benefit the WIF.D scholarship fund. Scholarship winners will be announced the evening of the festival. Check out our website at www.wifdallas.org for more details as the festival approaches.
1. Film submissions must be by a female filmmaker with Texas roots – either producer, director, or crew member with a key role in the production. (Crew members must submit an explanation describing their key role(s) in the production.)
2. Submit a DVD of your film, labeled with the film title, year of production, total running time (30 minutes or less) and filmmaker’s name.
3. Filmmaker’s brief bio, contact address, email, and phone.
4. A brief synopsis of the film (50 words or less).
5. One (1) production still (digital file on CD or printed image high resolution)
6. A mailer if you would like your DVD/CD returned to you.
7. Entry fee: $15 for WIF.D members and $30 for non-members.
For more information about submissions or festival sponsorship, please contact Chick Flicks Chair, Elise Graham at email@example.com.
Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
Works made by or about Latinos and native groups of the Americas are eligible to participate. $20 to enter
Cinema Touching Disability
The vision behind CTD’s short Film Competition is to empower emerging filmmakers by providing them an opportunity to create and express a multitude of images portraying people with disabilities in their most creative way. Competing filmmakers highlight the role of disability through documentaries, comedies, dramatic genres, music videos, claymation and animation. It is our hope that these films will illustrate how people with disabilities lead both ordinary and extraordinary lives, filled with equal hopes and dreams. The competition is for short films (5-20 minutes) about, starring or made by a person with a disability. Cash Prizes! Free to enter!
CineMart: International Film Festival Rotterdam
International Film Festival Rotterdam celebrates independent, innovative and experimental cinema and visual arts. CineMart gets a select number of directors/producers to present their film projects to co-producers, bankers, funds, sales agents, distributors, TV stations and other potential financiers.
Cinequest Screenwriting Competition
Cinequest Screenwriting Competition is a prestigious screenwriting competition that offers cash prizes to the top winners.
CINESTORY Screenwriting Competition
CINESTORY Screenwriting Competition is a screenwriting competition that supports and celebrates the most important part of movie-making — the story! $70 to submit.
CineVegas Film Festival
The CineVegas Film Festival is a platform for artists and art lovers who are drawn to the edge. [WithoutABox discounts available for festival fee]
$40 Features, $25 Shorts
Cucalorus Film Festival
Cucalorus, named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals” by Moviemaker Magazine, is celebrating its 15th anniversary as an international film festival located in the historic, port city of Wilmington, NC. The festival is non-competitive to create a laid-back atmosphere and to foster open dialogue where filmmakers and audience feel free to share stories and socialize. Cucalorus provides a forum where film becomes a player in the social and political arena and offers a new voice for the South. $30-50 to enter
Dallas International Film Festival
The Dallas International Film Festival, hosted by the Dallas Film Society celebrates films and their impact on society and will run for a ten days in April. A non-profit organization, the DALLAS Film Society celebrates and honors filmmakers for their achievements in enhancing the creative community, provides educational programs to students to develop a better understanding of the role of film in today’s world, and promotes the City of Dallas and its commitment to the art of filmmaking. $40-65 to enter.
Dance on Camera Film Festival
DOCFF celebrates the immediacy, energy, and mystery of dance as combined with the intimacy of film. This Dance Films Association’s festival is the oldest dance film festival in the world that sparked a global explosion of activity. $50 to enter.
deadCENTER Film Festival
Named one of the top regional festivals in “The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide,” the annual festival will take place at seven locations over five days with more than 8,000 film enthusiasts from around the country expected to attend. A $2,500 cash prize will be given to the winner of the Best Narrative Feature. Fees vary with deadline and length.
Democracy Video Challenge
Create a video short that completes the phrase “Democracy is…” and win a trip to Washington, NY and LA to attend screenings of the winning videos, gain exposure to the U.S. film and television industry. FREE to enter
DOCUMENTA: Documentary Platform Film Festival
This is a non competitive documentary showcase, organized by Fundacion Octaedro, a non-for-profit organization based in Quito-Ecuador whose main objective is the enhancement of the arts and sciences in our country.
Duluth’s Film Festival’s Short Short Film Festival
The Play Ground would like to invite independent filmmakers nationwide to participate in our 5th Annual Short Shorts Film Festival. These short shorts, which must be no longer than 5 minutes, will be viewed by a panel of judges, and cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 films.
They must be in DVD format. For complete contest rules and to download an application visit www.duluthplayground.org
Duluth’s Short Shorts Film Festival
Independent film makers nationwide are invited to submit their short, short films to Duluth Play Ground’s annual film festival! Cash prizes for the top three winners! • Film must be no longer that 5 minutes in length • Film must not contain any nudity or any content that would give the film an R-rating. • Film MUST have original or royalty free music that you have obtained permission to use. • Film content must be original (no adaptations) $15 to enter.
EngLits Short Film Festival
Create a short film, video, computer animation, etc. not to exceed 60sec that must promote EngLits. cash prizes!
Environment Texas Solar Power Video Contest
Environment Texas Solar Power Video Contest hopes to help get the word out about Texas’ solar power potential… Cash Prizes!
Expresión en Corto
Expresión en Corto is Latin America’s largest, most competitive and prestigious film festival. Acting as a platform for launching new careers, our national and international competition pits newcomers alongside the industry’s most seasoned veterans. $25 per enter.
Fair Use & Free Speech Video Contest
UFVA is hosting a contest for the best short documentaries employing fair use, made by higher education students and faculty.
Fantastic Fest is an eight-day festival in Austin, Texas spotlighting the best in new horror, sci-fi, fantasy and genre film as well as genre retrospectives. $15-30 to enter!
Fearless Film Festival
The MAIN ST. Arts Festival of Fort. Worth is proud to announce Fearless Film Festival as a part of the OFF MAIN! series of its Festival. Short films up to 20 minutes long in the following categories will be considered: Documentary, Narrative, Experimental, Animation, Foreign, Dance, Music Video, and Trailer.
$15-20 to enter.
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Competition
FilmMakers International Screenwriting Competition is a prestegious writing competition focusing on story. The top 50 scripts will be read by The Radmin Company* and Consideration for representation
Flatland Film Festival
Flatland Film Festival cultivates an appreciation for independent film, video and digital moving-image expression. Based in Lubbock, Texas. $20 to enter.
Flicker Film Festival
Flicker Film Festival brings together artists with diverse backgrounds and styles. $20-30 to enter.
Focus on Children in a Healthy Environment Shorts Competition
Focus on Children in a Healthy Environment Shorts Competition is a theme-based on the environment film Competition. The festival is supported by INCHES which promote healthy and supportive environments that protects the fetus and child from environmental and safety hazards. Cash Prizes!
Frameline Film Festival
Frameline Film Festival strengthens the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and further its visibility by supporting and promoting a broad array of cultural representations and artistic expression in film, video and other media arts. FREE to enter!
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Full Frame’s mission is to support the documentary form and community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers and by preserving film heritage through archival efforts and continued exhibition of classic documentaries. cash prizes!
Gene Screen: A Night of Film on Health and Genetics
Gene Screen: A Night of Film on Health and Genetics is looking for shorts and features (up to an hour) that focus on some aspect of health and/or genetics. $10 to enter.
Going Green Film Festival
Going Green Film Festival was created to reward people’s efforts in going green. Cash prizes! $25 – 65 to enter.
Hamptons International Film Festival
The festival is committed to exhibiting films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences, provide invaluable exposure for filmmakers and present inspired entertainment for all. $40-55 to enter.
Heartland Film Festival
In 1991, a group of visionaries united to create a unique film festival to honor beautifully made films that celebrate the positive aspects of life called the Heartland Film Festival. The Heartland Film Festival started in 1992 as a small event in Indianapolis and has expanded over time to become one of the fastest growing film festivals in the country. Today, the annual film festival is a ten-day event full of independent films, a variety of special events for film enthusiasts of all ages, and a one-of-a-kind experience in one of the Midwest’s most inviting cities.
Hill Country Film Festival
The Hill Country Film Festival takes place in Fredericksburg in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. A town unlike any other in Texas, Fredericksburg is filled with unique shopping and an artistic warmth. HCFF is dedicated to bringing Independent Filmmakers and their films to this charming city, as a celebration of the city’s artistic spirit and it’s people. The wonderful people of Fredericksburg, TX have built a city dependent on attracting and welcoming tourists. Their commitment to showcasing themselves and the city is evident everywhere. $15-55 to enter depending on length and submission deadline.
Hiroshima International Animation Festival
Our festival has been held under the spirit of LOVE & PEACE, long since its establishment in 1985. It is our pleasure to serve as a place of true international cultural exchange through the development of animation art, and also, it is our sincere happiness to serve as a stepping stone for your successful future.
Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF)
The Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) is an annual 6-day celebration of black cinema drawing together established filmmakers, popular film and TV stars, writers, directors, industry executives, emerging artists and new audiences from Southern California and around the world. Attracting such stars and industry insiders as Academy Award® winners Forest Whitaker and Sidney Poitier, John Singleton, Spike Lee, George Tillman, Tina Andrews, Reuben Cannon, Anthony Anderson, Blair Underwood, Sanaa Lathan, Bill Duke, Kasi Lemmons, Vondie Curtis Hall, Tisha Campbell and Nicole Ari Parker, the festival has become a hotbed for the Black Hollywood creative community. The festival aims to enhance the careers of emerging and established black filmmakers through a public exhibition and competition program. The festival’s goal is to play an integral role in discovering and launching independent films and filmmakers by bringing them to the attention of the industry, press and public.
Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmakers Showcase
Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmakers Showcase is a special screening event consisting of the best of Texas short films and videos under 45 minutes in length, presented to studio executives, agents and producers in the Hollywood film community. free to enter.
Imago Film Festival
The Imago Film Festival showcases faith-based indy film that emphasizes image and story. The festival films capture the full spectrum of human emotion, experience, and spirituality. Cash Prizes! $30-40 to enter.
Imperial Beach International Film Festival
Imperial Beach International Film Festival’s mission of advocating for a greater artistic and cultural presence at Imperial Beach will help to establish our city as a great place to visit and invest. $15 to enter.
The Indie is about helping independent filmmakers gain publicity and secure distribution, the Holy Grail of filmmaking. $50 to enter
For over five years, NY Artists Unlimited has been presenting the International CringeFest®, including Bad Plays Festival® and Bad Musicals Festival®. The ’09 festival at the Producers’ Club was the biggest one yet, attracting local theatre-goers, tourists, Broadway producers, agents, and major media, including The New York Times, New York magazine, TimeOut, 7:00 TV News with Chuck Scarborough, WNBC and WCBS Radio. Liz Smith wrote up the festival three times. Wanted are works that are REALLY GOOD, HIGHLY ENTERTAINING, NICE ‘n NAUGHTY, e.g., politically incorrect, political satire, bad language/ puns, or material otherwise frowned upon by “polite society.” Productions vie for the Golden Pineapple, Silver Tomato, and Bronze Banana. Five to 45 mins., produced/ unproduced plays, musicals, or films. Scripts read aloud two to three times by professional actors before decisions made. If selected, your work receives three to four fully-produced performances, a director, cast, crew, and close supervision. No participation/ production fees.
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
IDFA looks for documentaries that are interesting from a stylistic point of view, or are particularly innovative, relevant to social issues and successfully manage to communicate with their audiences.
International Student Film Festival sehsuechte
International Student Film Festival sehsuechte in Potsdam-Babelsberg is presenting films by students and amateur filmmakers from all over the world in April. We accept both short and full-length films in the categories feature, documentary, animation, music video, children’s film as well as films for the special competition films against discrimination and our regional focus on South Africa. All films in competition have the chance to win prizes with a total value of more than €50.000. Students and amateur filmmakers are eligible.
Jay Sanders Film Festival
The Jay Sanders Film Festival is a yearly event in which the finalists in the Movie Gallery Student Film Competition are publicly presented and judged.
Jewish Film Competition
Seeking the best in Jewish themed short films! Have you already made that masterpiece? Do you have a great idea a film that you want to make? Want your name to join the ranks of Spielberg, Allen & Coen? Enter a short film on a Jewish subject and you could win $CASH$. This nationwide film competition is for young, “amateur status”* filmmakers . All films will be eligible for the the Grand Prize, 2nd place and 3rd place. Winners will be chosen by a panel of veteran filmmakers from Hollywood and New York. Selected films will be shown at Jewlicious Festival and Jewish Film Festivals around the world.
Jewish Women’s Film Festival
Films must focus on the experiences, aspirations and accomplishments of Jewish women through the ages and throughout the world. Films submitted for consideration may not be screened in the New York Metropolitan area from October 1-December 1, 2010. The “Ellie” Award will be presented for the Best Film. $35.00 (covers submission of 1-5 films) to enter.
Josiah Youth Media Festival
Josiah Miles Neundorf passed away as a result of Osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone. In honor of this artist, who only wanted to share his wonderment with the world around us, his parents, Marcus and Nancy Neundorf with the URBAN-15 Group have created the Josiah Youth Media Festival, an annual event designed to showcase outstanding works by young film, video and media artists.
Lights. Camera. Help. The Non-Profit Film Festival
Lights. Camera. Help. is the premiere film festival for non-profit and cause-driven organizations. Through this annual event, films and videos with a cause directly related to a non-profit or cause-given organization will be subject to a rigorous criteria by a panel of judges. The films and videos will gain recognition by being considered the best in one of several distinct categories.
This festival is the first of its kind in the nation and reflects the spirit of Austin, a prominent city in the non-profit, cause-driven and activism communities. These organizations, along with filmmakers, will use the festival to spread the word about their cause, develop a community of followers, and expand the film-for-a-cause genre.
London International Documentary Film Festival
The LIDF arises from a commitment to what it calls ‘Conversations in Film’. These conversations bring together diverse audiences and go beyond the films themselves in order to engage with social, cultural and political issues in the company of relevant experts as well as the filmmakers themselves.
Lone Star International Film Festival
The Lone Star International Film Festival (LSIFF), Fort Worth in Sundance Square is a presentation of the Lone Star Film Society. In addition to showcasing the best in American independent cinema, LSIFF is committed to being truly international as well as establishing itself as an authority on emerging talent. Categories include narrative feature length, documentary feature length, short form, and animation.
Los Angeles Film Festival
LAFF held annually for ten days in June, showcases the best of American and international independent cinema. $70 Features, $50 Shorts
Los Angeles Latino International Film festival
Los Angeles Latino International Film festival aims to support and promote the development and exhibition of diverse visions by Latino filmmakers.
Lunafest Film Festival
Lunafest looks for filmmakers and producers from around the globe with unique films by…for…about women! $20 to enter!
M.A.L.I. Women’s Film and Performance Arts Festival
The festival is an outlet to view, interact, network and purchase the works of female artists of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
MadCat Women’s International Film Festival
MadCat Women’s International Film Festival exhibit provocative and visionary works that are original in their use of the medium. MadCat is committed to showcasing women directors who challenge the use of sound and image and explore notions of visual story telling. $15-40 to enter.
Manhattan Short Screenplay Competition
The competition is for screenplays for short films. Screenplays much be 20 pages and under. $35 to submit.
Marfa Film Festival
Cowboy culture meets high-art! For the intrepid, Far West Texas is an unforgettable place, far from the world, urging visitors back time and again to its awe-inspiring wildness and serenity. Screening over 50 features, shorts and experimental works. Because Marfa’s wide-open plain, distant mountains and incomparably starry sky are part of the draw, Marfa Film Festival will have outdoor screenings during the festival. Indoor screenings will be anchored at the state-of-the-art Goode-Crowley theater. Features $45, Shorts $35
Method Fest Film festival
The Method Fest independent film festival in Calabasas, Calif. The Method Fest is dedicated to showcasing breakout acting performances in story and character-driven independent feature and short films. The Method Fest provides a great opportunity to receive Los Angeles reviews, to have your student films seen by Los Angeles based distribution companies and to honor the actors in their films.
Monterrey International Film Festival
Monterrey International Film Festival one of the most important film events in Mexico. It screens international feature films in competition (fiction and documentary), retrospectives, international short films in competition (fiction, documentary and animation), documentaries with social relevance and homages to personalities of world.
Moondance International Film
Moondance’s objective for this competition and film festival is to promote and encourage screenwriters and independent filmmakers, and the best work in stage plays, radio plays, TV scripts, musical scores, lyrics, librettos, musical videos, & short stories.
Mosaic LA Film Fest
It is a thousand short films back-to-back that illuminate our victories, tragedies, and revelations. Each life intersects others until it becomes apparent that the whole of a person is not an abandoned room full of reels, but an epic. That’s why the creative minds at Mosaic and Awaken are bringing you the Mosaic LA Film Fest (MOLAFF) where we are challenging visionaries with Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit, a theme that encourages artists to bring the broken things of the world to the cutting room floor and explore what remains: the raw, often-hidden beauty of the human story. Our vision sprang from the need for truthful filmmaking and personal expression that is at once wildly imaginative and unflinchingly introspective. We want work that skims the surface but plunges unexpectedly into a story that speaks to the heart. We want to hear what an epiphany sounds like to a character who has never heard a word. We want to see the future in the flash of a child’s eyes. We want to see what the hand shooting heroine would look like administering a vaccine. Cash Prizes!
Mountainfilm in Telluride Film Festival
Mountainfilm is America’s premier festival celebrating achievement in mountain, adventure, culture and environment. We accept and screen films – doc and narrative, feature and short – on a broad range of subjects. We like quirky causes and indomitable spirit. $25-60 to enter depending on length and deadline.
Muslim Film Festival (MA)
The Muslim Film Festival harnesses cinema to explore Muslim affairs beyond the headlines for audiences of all backgrounds. Pressing social and civic issues – including terrorism, women’s rights, censorship, political repression, and multiculturalism – come into focus through screenings, panel discussions, and artistic performances. Held every spring and fall, the festival also provides a forum to advance public understanding of Muslim American cultural identity.
Nantucket Film Festival
Films are selected with an eye for great screenwriting and storytelling. Costs vary on length.
Nantucket Screenwriting Competition
Submit your script to the Nantucket Film Festival Screenplay Competition and have the opportunity to have your script read by a prestigious jury, receive top industry recognition, participate in a festival focused specifically on screenwriters and win an incredible, all-inclusive month’s stay on stunning Nantucket at The Screenwriter’s Colony where your every need is catered to and all you’re asked to do is write!
The winner also receives:
* Custom leather bound copy of the script, courtesy of Showtime
* VIP week-long festival pass to all events, including air travel and accommodation
* $2,000 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival
* Name appears in Festival catalogue and on website as a competition finalist
* Print and media coverage
National Film Festival for Talented Youth
NFFTY showcases work by filmmakers age 22 and under from across the U.S. and the world. It is the largest multi-day youth film festival in the United States, featuring 100+ films, filmmaking panels and workshops, and opportunities for young filmmakers to network with industry professionals and each other. NFFTY is increasingly being recognized by industry and film fans alike as an inspiring and energetic event. Accepting feature and short narrative, animation, documentary, music video, and experimental films. Submission Fee $20 – $35
Netflix Screenwriting Contest
Netflix and Film Independent are looking for talented new filmmakers to submit their scripts for a chance at having it produced and distributed.
New Port Beach Film Festivals
Blending the best of classic and contemporary filmmaking, an exclusive selection of award-winning independent and studio films representing a truly unique mix of culture and genre.
New York International Latino Film Festival
New York International Latino Film Festival showcases the works of the hottest emerging Latino filmmaking talent in the U.S. and Latin America, offer expansive images of the Latino experience, and celebrate the diversity and spirit of the Latino community.
NewFilmmakers Spring Series
NewFilmmakers screens year-round in New York, 51 weeks a year. Programed quarterly a few months in advance in order to give filmmakers a chance to promote their work. $20 Student, $25 Short, $30 Feature to enter.
Noise Pop Film Festival
The Noise Pop Film Festival began in 2000 to expand the week-long Noise Pop Music Festival which began in 1993 in San Francisco. The Film Festival accepts any kind of film or video narrative feature, documentary, short, animation, experimental or music video, that explores a connection to music, either in its subject matter, the talent behind or in front of the camera, or with an exceptionally prominent soundtrack. $15-25 to enter.
NYC Horror Film Festival
America’s largest and most recognized genre film festival focusing solely on Horror and Science Fiction. Each year the NYCHFF celebrates both the horror classics we grew up with and the new horror films & filmmakers who created them. the NYCHFF fills the city with special screenings, parties, celebrity guests and free giveaways. The New York City Horror Film Festival is the Halloween time event not to be missed.
Off Centered Film Festival
Once again, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Off Centered Film Festival teamed up with the fantastic folks at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Lake Creek in Austin, Texas to put together our annual film competition. It will again culminate in a two-night fun, funky festivity of film and beer in Austin. Your film can be no longer than 5 Minutes in length. All submissions must contain a theme of “off-centeredness”. This can be interpreted however the director sees fit. All submissions must include a reference to Dogfish Head in the script or have Dogfish Head product placement in the film. Directors submitting films must be at least 21 years old by the submission deadline. CASH PRIZES!
One-Minute Horror Video Contest
One-Minute Horror Video Contest: The Winner will have a chance to see their video shown on AMC during a future Fear Friday and will receive $4000. The 10 finalists who receive the most number of votes in the final round will win horror movie DVDs.
Outfest is the leading organization showcasing, nurturing and preserving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film images and artistry.
Phantasmagoria Film Festival
Do you have a short film or movie that explores the world of the supernatural, the super-powered or the super-eerie? There are two areas: Trailers and Shorts: Trailers must be 30 to 180 seconds. Can either be an actual trailer for a longer piece or a mock trailer. Shorts must be 3-25 minutes. Short films or trailers that explores the world of the supernatural, the super-powered or the super-eerie. Cost $5-15
Phoenix International Christian Film Festival
The purpose of the Phoenix International Christian Film Festival (PICFF) is to bless, celebrate, and encourage the production and distribution of films and media expressions that feature Godly Kingdom values and shine as reminders that love is real, hope exists, and there is always an answer.
Politics on Film Film festival
Politics on Film Film festival’s mission is to highlight political film broadly, providing a platform for filmmakers who focus on government, the electoral process, or pressing public policy issues, and establishing an entertaining and educational opportunity for the community. $40 to enter
Portland Women’s Film Festival, POW FEST
The mission of the Portland Women’s Film Festival is to celebrate the art and cinematic contribution of women filmmakers from around the world, in any format, with any content and in any genre.
Power Flickers Short Film Showcase
Power Flickers Short Film Showcase presents a collection of comedic, documentary, narrative, and animated short films from Texas filmmakers. Free to enter!
PSAid: Public Service Announcements for International Disasters
PSA theme-based film festival competition with Cash Prizes!
Reel Women International Film Festival
Reel Women International Film Festival honors and advances the careers of accomplished and emerging women filmmakers by providing them a forum to showcase their films in the heart of the entertainment industry. Our goal is to help increase opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds to share their stories with the world.
Reel-Exchange.com present REEL IMPRESSIONS—a joint partnership to showcase the projects created by industry professionals using products they’ve seen or purchased as a result of attending the NAB Show. REEL IMPRESSIONS could show your reel in a big way—on a 24ft. silver screen in a state-of-the-art 300-seat digital theater in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the NAB Show.
Reynolda Film Festival
The mission of the Reynolda Film Festival has always been to entertain, inspire, and challenge people of ages. The festival places an equal emphasis on both its worldwide student film competition and its unique opportunities presented through speakers, panels, and special sessions. Past speakers have included directors, producers, artists, documentary filmmakers, animators, production department managers, studio supervisors, and Academy Award nominees.
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is a film festival to support and celebrate women filmmakers and women subject matters. $25 to enter.
Rooftop Films Summer Series Film Festival
Summer Series will run from May through September and will feature more than 200 daring new films, all screened outdoors, in front of big, loyal audiences in parks.
San Antonio Film Festival
Once named the Golden Showers Film Festival with the spirit of “pissing” on Hollywood and formerly The San Antonio Underground Film Festival — is held annually in June at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico en San Antonio & is looking for 100% DIY narrative, animation, doc, or experimental shorts or features. Supporting independent filmmaking, SAFF is a three-day event held every summer in San Antonio, TX. Prizes! $40-60 to enter.
San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
The vision of the Jubilee Awards and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival is to make one of the many steps needed to lead men to Christ, to train Christians to actually think like Christians, and to take back the culture for the Lord Jesus Christ in the area of film by encouraging, motivating, and rewarding those uncompromising, creative, and innovative filmmakers who are willing to take the narrow path.
San Diego Asian Film Festival
SDAFF continues looking for the best in Asian American and international cinema to showcase. The festival is also offering a minimum $1,000 cash prize to the top film of the festival in 2009. $25-40 to enter!
San Diego Latino Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival is seeking innovative works that are ‘by’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ the Latino community. $25 to enter.
San Diego Women’s Film Festival
Southern California’s most notable and longest running women’s film festival was a big success! They showcased over a hundred films from around the world, offering a diverse selection of features, shorts and documentaries that competed for both Judge and Audience awards.
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
The Center for Asian America Media presents the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) every March. The SFIAAFF is the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, annually presenting approximately 120 works in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose. Since 1982, the SFIAAFF has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers as well as a vital source for new Asian cinema.$20-35 to enter.
San Francisco International Film Festival
Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. Held each spring for two weeks, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in the country’s most beautiful city, featuring some 150 films and live events with more than 100 filmmakers in attendance and nearly two dozen awards presented for cinematic excellence. The Festival attracts an annual audience of more than 80,000. $40 – $180 varies for deadline and length to enter.
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Founded in 1980, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is the first and largest of its kind in the world. Today, we are more than a festival: we are the leading advocate for independent Jewish cinema. Our hallmark program is a renowned three-week summer Festival, screening in four Bay Area venues, featuring the highest quality Jewish films from around the world. As the first of more than 100 Jewish film festivals worldwide—and still the largest, with some 30,000 attendees—SFJFF is an influential showcase bringing together filmmakers and audiences to celebrate Jewish cinema and explore its new frontiers.
San Francisco Women’s Film Festival
San Francisco Women’s Film Festival accepts films/video of all lengths and genres: experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation. Films/videos must be directed or co–directed by women.
Santa Barbara Minute Film Festival
The Santa Barbara Minute Film Festival’s goal is to provide a showcase for a wide spectrum of filmmakers to exhibit very short form video and film works. Both experienced and novice directors, writers, animators, artists, designers and producers are encouraged to submit 60-second films and videos for inclusion in the festival. All genres of film will be considered–documentary, animation, experimental. student work, nature, sports, trailers and so on. The only guideline is the length: One minute. $20-30 to enter.
Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
Scriptapalooza’s goal is to seek out that storyteller and honor his or her script with a grand prize of $10,000. Each year dozens of production companies and literary representatives sign on as participants to read Scriptapalooza’s winners, finalists and semifinalists. $50 to enter!
Sheffield Doc / Fest’s MeetMarket
MeetMarket at Sheffield Doc/Fest is a unique pitching initiative which uses online systems to match-make documentary makers’ most innovative project ideas with UK and international buyers for one-to-one meetings in a fully supportive environment. Submit your project online, along with one-page treatments and a one-minute teaser clip, in advance of Doc/Fest, allowing buyers to view your submissions of innovative documentary ideas. The application process is fully online.
Shorttakes Student Film Festival
Shorttakes Student Film Festival celebrates short films by students. Students are welcome to submit films (both live-action or animation) under 10 minutes long. Multiple submissions are allowed, but each requires its own submission fee of $5.
Honors excellence in filmmaking, supports the diverse voices and free expression of independent storytellers and celebrates the power of documentary to improve our understanding of the world.
Cost: $25 Shorts, $35 Features
Slamdance Film Festival
The Slamdance Film Festival is dedicated to new filmmakers. SFF accept films in every genre, on any topic from every country around the world.
SLANT: Bold Asian American Images Short Film Festival
SLANT, an annual film festival of short films, seeks works by Asian American filmmakers. $10 per short, limit of 3 entries
Sonoma International Film Festival
The Sonoma International Film Society presents events and programs celebrating gourmet food, fine wine, the best in new independent filmmaking, and the remarkable richness of life in Sonoma Valley.
SPCA of Texas Pet Flix Film Festival
Calling all dogs, cats and dog and cat lovers, the SPCA of Texas is issuing an open call for pet films produced by new or established filmmakers or pet enthusiasts with an eye for cinema. Cash Prizes! $10 to enter.
St. Cloud LGBT Film Festival
St. Cloud LGBT Film Festival celebrates films that focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or LGBTIQ-friendly characters and issues, and must be suitable for general audiences.
STARZ Denver Film Festival
The Starz Denver Film Festival, an invitational exposition of film, presents approximately 175 films over ten days and plays host to more than 125 film artists. New international feature releases, independently produced fiction films and documentaries, animation, experimental works, children’s programs and short subjects are included in the festival. $20-40 to enter.
The Streamy Awards is co-hosted by a consortium of leading new media companies — Tilzy.TV, Tubefilter, and NewTeeVee — to recognize outstanding achievement for shows produced originally for broadband distribution. Nominations in 24 categories are reviewed by members of the International Academy of Web Television, an independent organization whose membership is comprised of leaders in the field of web television, web video and the digital entertainment industry. International Academy of Web Television Every year the Academy also selects one recipient the for Web Television Visionary Award. Each spring, the nominees, the press, industry luminaries, celebrity guests, and members of the academy, come together at the Streamy Awards in Los Angeles to celebrate and honor outstanding achievement in the space.
Student Academy Awards
The Student Academy Awards is an annual competition for college and university filmmakers. Winners – selected by the professional filmmaker members of the Academy – receive trophies and cash prizes. Free to enter!
SunDeis Film Festival
Looking for film submissions from students at the undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate level, including those who graduated in the last academic year.
SXSW Film Conference & Festival
SXSW is the most prestigious film festival in the south. SXSW considers any and all categories of filmmaking, from Narrative to Documentary, Experimental to Music Video, Short to Feature. $35 for shorts, $45 for features
Talking Pictures Festival
The Talking Pictures Festival is produced by Percolator Films, a new non-profit media arts organization founded by independent filmmakers Ines Sommer and Kathy Berger. Percolator Films grew out of our work presenting the free Reeltime film and discussion series at the Evanston Public Library and Northwestern University’s Block Cinema for the past decade. Percolator Films engages audiences with high caliber independent films that are challenging, intriguing, entertaining and prompt the viewer to think outside the box. We collaborate with community organizations and bring independent filmmakers and audience members together to create a space for public dialogue about the films we screen. $15-35 to enter.
Telluride Film Festival
What are the prizes? There are none. The real prize is to be accepted from hundreds of entries as one of approximately 15 shorts and 20 features that will be showcased at the Telluride Film Festival. That’s right — once your film is invited to join the festival, by the time the event rolls around, you can stop biting your nails and enjoy the company of some of the best directors in the world.
“This is really the only filmmaker’s festival.”
– Kathleen Kennedy
Texandance International Film Festival
If your production can hold our attention and has good production values, your creation may be selected to show at the festival. Send your best trailer, short, doc, music video, or feature! $25-65 depending on length.
Texas Black Film Festival
The mission of the Texas Black Film Festival is to provide film makers from around the world with:
(1) an opportunity to view the vast film industry resources waiting to be utilized here in the state of Texas; (2) an opportunity to display works that express the African-American experience; (3) networking with industry professionals; and (4) opportunities to sharpen those film production and marketing skills through workshops. $30 to enter
The First National Career Video Contest
The student challenge is to interview a person from a wide variety of careers and draw out the essence of the role on video.
The International Buddhist Film Festival
The International Buddhist Film Festival (IBFF) presents, archives, preserves and promotes Buddhist-themed and Buddhist-inspired cinema of all kinds: features, documentaries, animation, experimental work, children’s films and television programs. IBFF is a unique resource serving audiences, educators and filmmakers in partnership with presenting institutions around the world (see Events). The International Buddhist Film Festival offers cinema as a vehicle for wider appreciation and better understanding of Buddhism by general audiences, particularly for the remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity evident among Buddhists worldwide today. Works to be exhibited are chosen through a combination of program committee invitations as well as through an international Open Call For Entries solicitation. Films include English language or subtitled works from all over the world, and embrace a very broad and fluid definition of “buddhist.” $25-35 to enter.
The Really Independent Film Channel
DFD-TV, the world’s first web-based entertainment company, launches The Really Independent Film Channel. the newest venue for current indie films and emerging filmmakers. RIFC seeks strong content in shorts, features, documentaries, animation, experimental, and more, as it builds its archives of diverse and current indie film work. DFD-TV there is no cost to filmmakers or audience; it is nonexclusive and seeks no rights. We build a unique page on the site for each filmmaker, where they can direct audience, prospective partners, distributors or financiers, and the filmmaker is able to have links to their own website, as well as get feedback from the audience in the site’s interactive web ability. The channel’s goal is to support emerging artists and build an audience interested in independent film. There will be a standard non exclusive agreement, which can be canceled when you need. visit our website at http://www.reallyifc.com/home.jsp
The Webby Film and Video Awards
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the NY Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile web sites.
Toronto Documentary Forum
$45 (CDN) to enter
Toronto Film Festival
TFF vision is to lead the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image. $75 to enter!
Tribeca Film Festival
The Festival’s mission focuses on assisting filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience, enabling the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promoting New York City as a major filmmaking center. $40-65 to enter.
True/False Film Fest
True/False Film Fest accepts submissions that cross the boundary between fact and fiction. The festival highlights innovative work with a cinematic scope, creative takes on contemporary currents, and most of all work that provokes dialogue about its subject and the documentary form itself. $15-20 to enter.
U-FRAME International Video Festival
The Telecommunications & Information Policy Institute and the University of Texas Film Institute are sponsoring undergraduate or graduate students in their participation in the U-Frame International Video Festival in Porto, Portugal. U.Frame, International Academic Video Festival, is an initiative of the undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences of the University of Porto (Portugal), aimed at taking advantage of its infrastructures and technical and human resources. At the same time, and in association with the University of Coruna (Spain) and the University of Texas (USA), the Festival intends to build a bridge between different audiovisual and multimedia degrees worldwide, in an effort to stimulate the creativity of university students.
West Branch Children’s Film Festival
The West Branch Children’s Film Festival is a festival celebrating the creativity of children. Submissions must be original child friendly movies of any type, made for children under age fourteen. Film makers of all ages are encouraged to submit film entries.
Women’s Film Festival in Brattleboro, Vermont
The festival’s aims are to promote choices by showcasing films that depict women’s multi-faceted lives and to give a more human and humane context to world events….to show how those events impact on women’s lives, and how women’s lives impact on the world. $15 to enter.
Women’s Film Institute Shorts Tour
Women’s Film Institute Shorts Tour accepts short films/video 30 minutes or under in length and all genres: experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation. Films/videos must be directed or co–directed by women. Tour locations include: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. $25-50 to enter.
Woodstock Film Festival
Each year film and music lovers from around the world gather at the Woodstock Film Festival for an innovative variety of films, first-class concerts, workshops, celebrity-led panels, an awards ceremony, and fantastic parties. At the Woodstock Film Festival, participants and visitors find themselves in a friendly, casual environment, one that is conducive to creativity, networking and a good time, surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. $10-50 depending on entry deadline.
Wyoming Short Film Contest
The only content requirements for submissions is that the story takes place in Wyoming, presents Wyoming as a major character in the storyline, or features Wyoming in some way. free to enter!
YOBI Film Making Contest: Film Student Opportunity
online video filmmaking competition that anyone can enter and that YOU can judge.
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