If you’ve just finished a piece of work and you’re looking to submit it to a few film festivals, there are two great resources that can help you target a festival where your film may be a good fit.
Withoutabox – Withoutabox is an Amazon company, so they know how to make film submissions easy. All you do is register, for free, as a filmmaker then upload your work. You can upload HD videos up to 10GB for free, including film screeners, bonus footage, and trailers. And you’ll have control over who can view your uploaded videos. All of the festivals on Withoutabox are vetted for filmmaker value, before they go live for submission. You can use the info from Withoutabox to create your IMdB page. WithoutaBox boasts being home to such prestigious festivals as Sundance, the LA Film Fest, and the Toronto International Film Festival as well as many other festivals. The types of film festivals you’ll encounter run the gamut from Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror, to Shorts, Animation, and General submissions. Withoutabox offers the opportunity to filter on category, price, deadline or length of time the festival has been running. You can also set up a watchlist of festivals that interest you. Most, but not all, festivals have a fee. Of the 320 Festivals currently accepting submissions, the pricing ranges from $10 to $175. The majority tend to have a fee range in the $20 to $50 range. Once your work is submitted, you’ll be able to track its status: Submitted, Acknowledged, In Consideration, Accepted, Not Accepted, or Disqualified. If you withdraw it, that will also be indicated.
Caveat: Although it is free to submit and upload a film, and Withoutabox does not add on an additional fee, Withoutabox does offer additional services such as Submission Protection and Discount Packages. These services have a fee and are completely optional.
P.S. Scriptwriters can also find opportunities to submit their work on Withoutabox.
Filmfreeway – Filmfreeway fills itself as the go-to site for both filmmakers and scriptwriters. Except for the submission fees, there are currently no upsells for other services. One nice thing about Film Freeway is that if you’ve already uploaded your work to vimeo or youtube, you need not upload to Filmfreeway as well. You can simply link to your uploaded film and include the password on Filmfreeway (not the case with Withoutabox). Sign up for a free account, then upload your film or set up your vimeo/youtube link. Filmfreeway also has a substantial list of benefits that you can take advantage of. Filter the festivals for event types, category types (i.e., short, animation, music video, etc.), years running, or the total amount in prizes. You can also discover which festivals are Academy Award qualifying festivals. (Although the filters allow you to search on different things, at first blush, they did not seem to be quite as user-friendly, and it was not easy to quickly identify submission fees or specific categories, although that may just be due to lack of experience in using the filters). According to the Filmfreeway website, they host 2830 Film Festivals that accept online screeners vs. the 850 that they attribute to Withoutabox. Filmfreeway has become very popular with festivals, in part, because they currently allow the festival to retain a higher proportion of the submission fees.
For both of these film festivals, whatever you upload remains your personal intellectual property.