One of the best places to get your video, film, animation or multimedia work exhibited and known by distributors and the public is at a film or media festival. There are hundreds such events around the world each year that welcome, most often for an entry fee, new work by young media professionals. Your first efforts may not qualify for a Sundance or Cannes event. But there are many others such as the Chicago Underground Film Festival which might just be the ticket. Also check out local cafes, coffeehouses, and independent movie houses. They sometimes host monthly screenings. There is also the Internet where independent film and media producers are increasingly exhibiting their work.
Some people take their films on the road such as the award-winning "toxic comedy" Blue Vinyl recently shown at Churchill High School in Eugene. Check out Blue Vinyl (http://www.bluevinyl.org/ ) and see how the producers of this film are marketing their work known by hitting the road and showing it in festivals, conferences and events.
This week's discussion provides information about festival events, how to participate and what to expect as a result of your having a film or media project exhibited. First, some online articles that explore the strategies and issues of festival life.
Film Festival Strategies: So you've finished your short and want to show the world. What to do? A film maker's perspective about entering film festivals. Provides tips and links to important festival information sites.
Submitting Your Film to Festivals "Film festivals are a touchy subject. Many filmmakers make a film thinking all they have to do is submit their work to a major festival and soon they will be rich and famous. Well it just doesn't work that way. If you think you can make a low-budget film with no connections and no stars, submit it to Sundance and be accepted, you're wrong. Plain and simple, Sundance is an insiders game, and if you're not an insider you won't be invited to the party."
Is It Time For Festivals to Pay?" Independent filmmakers traveling on the festival circuit gain much from the experience. Aside from often receiving free travel, filmmakers make useful contacts, they learn important lessons about marketing and publicity and they get their film seen by paying audiences receiving vital feedback about their work. But the ultimate goal for a filmmaker taking their movie on the festival circuit is to close the all-important distribution deal. The disappointing truth is that most films playing at festivals become Òcine-orphans,Ó films left without distribution. For most, the festival tour ends with a wealth of valuable experiences, and an empty bank account." However, there may be a silver lining in the hopeless pursuit of distribution as the article explains..
Once you've decided that the festival route is for you, the question of how to locate a festival event appropriate for your particular production is asked.. There are many online resources to help you find an event appropriate for your work. Here is a brief list of festival directories and databases:
- The Directory of International Film and Video Festivals - Lists over 500 international film, television and video festivals, giving details on how and when to enter these events.
- Film Festival Information - Links for film festivals, organized by category.
- Film Festival Source -Searchable database of international film and television festivals.
- The Film Festivals Server - Searchable database of international film and television festivals. Listings include news, articles, interviews, film details, and multimedia.
- Holycowboy.com - Includes links to websites for independent, short and digital film festival organizers.
- IFilm: Film Festival Guide - Lists popular festivals alphabetically or by month of event.
- International Directory of Design - Links for schools, organizations, conferences, festivals, journals, and magazines.
- International Film Festival Calendar - Search for festivals by name, location and date, then view by year, month, week.
- Moviemaker.com: Film Festivals - Links arranged by country.
- Screen Digest Film Festival Diary - Continually updated and current calendar of film festivals and film markets. With web and e-mail links.
- ScriptFly: Festivals - Links to film and writing festivals around the world.
- Wildlife Film Makers - Magazine and directory for wildlife film makers. Includes wildlife film festivals and events diary.
Additional Resources of Value:
IndieDVD is an independent DVD label committed to producing the best of independent film including both shorts and features for DVD and VHS distribution. IndiDVD is a collaboration of filmmakers and enthusiasts determined to creating an honest deal for filmmakers and a great product for the consumer. IndiDVDis an independent film label founded by independent film makers to find the best undiscovered cinema and release it to home video audiences. Check out the web site and look for info on "Free postage for starving artists"
Article Festival and Market Listings. Author: Patricia Saperstein, Variety August 28, 2000. This millennium edition represents the largest and most up-to-date directory of festivals available in print or online, with more than 600 gatherings for festival goers of every stripe.
Information about film festivals and how to enter them. Good place to go if you are considering entering into a film festival. There are thousands to choose from in your country, city or state. Subscribe to our Newsletter
Studio 22 Festival and Distribution Listings A comprehensive guide with general information about individual festivals plus links to festival web pages.