If you are closing in on completing a documentary or narrative and you are wondering how to select from the thousands of film festivals out there, here are some articles that give great tips on making those choices and on submitting your work. Below this list are two online tools to use to discover the best film festival fits for your work and easily submit it.
- 10 Tips for Submitting to Film Festivals (Premium Beat – Be sure to read this article! It offers lots of great advice about best practices) Top Advice: Do screen tests in advance of submission. Test your film with multiple audiences to make sure it doesn’t drag and that the production quality is where it should be.
- 6 Do’s and Don’ts for Submitting to Film Festivals, According to Programmers (No Film School) – Top advice: Tell the festival what’s in it for them. Make sure the festival knows what kind of research you’ve done or connections you’ve made regarding the target audience that your film would appeal to.
- 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2017 (MovieMaker)- Insights on the best film festivals to enter, and why.
- What an Indie Filmmaker Needs to Know About Film Festivals (Lights Film School) – Top Advice: Why you should even submit your work to film festivals…in other words, what’s in it for you.
- 16 Things Film Festival Hate About Filmmakers (Raindance) – If you want to be successful at submitting to film festivals, learn about the pet peeves of those receiving the submissions.
Two Easy Ways to Discover What Film Festivals You Want to Enter:
- Film Freeway – It is always 100% free to upload and submit work through Film Freeway.
- WithoutaBox – Upload HD videos up to 10GB for free, including film screeners, bonus footage, and trailers.
Note that fees may be charged by the film festivals, in both cases.
Overall, the very best practices for submitting to any particular film festival is to familiarize yourself with its rules and specs, and make sure you adhere to the festival’s guidelines. Finally, don’t get discouraged if your work is not chosen, and don’t take it personally. There are many considerations that go into selecting the films to be shown at a festival. Those elements include everything from historic audience interests and programmers’ tastes, to duplication of subjects and new directions for the festival. You may never know why it’s not chosen, but it’s usually about fit, and not about your work.