Submitting to Film Festivals

 by Kelanie Aragon

When you are finally ready to share your film with an audience, it’s time to navigate the daunting world of festivals. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way.


1. Research the festival category description

When deciding on which festival to submit your film, make sure it has a good chance of getting accepted. Every festival has different categories and genre preferences. For the best chances of success, make sure your film fits the description the festival is looking for.

Film festivals require high-quality level short films, if you don’t have the equipment, remember that a good story can take you there. Just remember to keep getting better.

2. Have a submission budget

There are only a few festivals that are free. Most have expensive submission fees and require DCPs. When budgeting for your film, set aside funds specifically for festival submission.

3. Have an EPK and materials ready to go

When your film is accepted, there are some common things every festival will want you to have. Typical items include a short film poster, tagline, synopsis, movie stills, and a trailer.

4. Know the technical stuff (Or hire someone who does)

Knowing the technical information of your film is important. This includes the format, aspect ratio, color etc. If you don’t know that information, make sure to keep in touch with whoever edited your film, because you will need to answer these questions. You could create a form that your tech fills out so that you have all that information in one place.

5. Be prepared to get rejected

There are a million reasons why film festivals will give you a no. It might be that your film is too long, maybe they received too many submissions on the the same topic, or it simply didn’t fit the programming. You will probably be rejected more than accepted at first, so improve your odds and submit to as many as possible.

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