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Film Festival Submissions?

Old 07-26-04, 11:07 PM
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Film Festival Submissions?

Not sure if this is exactly the right place to post this but I figured what the heck...

We have 1 more weekend of shooting till we're finished our short film. After all the editing is done and it's ready for the world to see, we plan to submit it to film festivals all around the country and are confident that we have something great on our hands.

However, we've never entered or even submitted anything to any festivals before. I remember reading somewhere that you should send screener copies of the film, which would be the film on DVD or video with "Screener Copy" text on the whole film from start to finish. Is this true and/or how it is normally done?

We are planning a full featured DVD for this film which will be professionally duplicated and sold on our website and several online outlets such as Amazon.com (No price set yet but we're thinking no more than $10 right now). The film will only be around 45 minutes so we will be filling the DVD with behind the scenes footage, cast/crew interviews, trailers, music videos, commentary tracks, etc. It's going to be an awesome package. So, would it be best to wait until said DVD is complete and available and send one of them in as our submission? Or would it be "too much" and we should just submit the film itself?

As far as what festivals we plan to enter, I'd have to say just about any of them big or small, but mostly on the east coast. Our goal is to get it shown at the US Comedy Arts festival this winter in Aspen, and their deadline is the beginning of November so we shouldn't have a problem making it.

Anyone have any ideas, hints or advice?
Old 07-26-04, 11:22 PM
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My advice is to only send it to the bigger festivals. It could start to be costly with shipping costs and entry fees piling up. I would send just the film itself. I'm sure every festival lists the criteria of what they require with every entry. Oh and most of all good luck! If you ever plan on giving away any copies drop me a line. I'm interested in seeing it.
Old 07-27-04, 12:10 AM
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http://www.withoutabox.com
Old 07-27-04, 12:15 AM
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WAB is a great site, good call phyre.... putting "Screening Copy" text on the whole movie is ridiculous... do not do this... usually you have to label your envelope as "Screening copy - not for commercial use etc."...but certainly not the actual flick... usually just a vhs copy of the short is what most festivals want (in addition to entry form, stills, bios etc.)

As far as the dvd for festivals go, skip the bells and whistles... I've put my films on Special Edition discs for friends etc. but for festivals, they get the barebones edition.... that's the way to go. Good luck, hopefully it turns out great!

MATT
Old 07-27-04, 12:53 AM
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Thanks for the Without a Box link, I'm signing up right now
Old 07-27-04, 12:39 PM
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be careful about making your film public (that includes selling dvds) before applying to festivals. many require that you be making your north american premiere to be eligible for their festival -- telluride, sundance, etc have this rule. private screenings are okay, but pretty much anything that you would charge money for would be making the film public.
Old 07-27-04, 12:52 PM
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Oh.. hmm, I was worried about that. We were hoping to have the sales of the DVD help pay for our festival tickets (us comedy arts is gonna be like $1500 per person with air fare, etc). So, if it played in another festival first, but we don't sell the DVDs, then we still wouldn't be able to do a festival like Sundance, since it won't be a world premiere anymore?

We were also planning to do local screenings, like a private premiere for friends and family of all the cast, etc, and there's a few indie theaters that we might even be able to get it shown in too.. but now that you mention that I don't want to jepordize any chances we have of getting into the big festivals
Old 07-27-04, 01:23 PM
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The best way is to go and read the submissions guidelines for each festival - just go to their websites and find out!

Some advice, however, since I work for a Film Festival myself:

1) Make VHS copies of your screener. Believe it or not, most of the big festivals still only accept VHS! Why? Because usually 35mm to VHS is cheaper than a DVD copy.

2) But before you make those VHS copies, pick a few festivals you want to have it shown first, and find out their requirements. Don't always go for the big ones - Sundance, for example, is a waste for you. It's very expensive, going there is expensive, it's a madhouse, and most likely they will be watching features, not shorts.

Go for those that are more specifically for shorts. Or if you want a bigger profile, go for Telluride. In fact, plan out your schedule so that you can take your festival to a few festivals in a row (yes, you can do that, as long as you give the premiere to only one).
Old 07-27-04, 02:50 PM
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Well we're not really planning to do Sundance and the major fests, but if we can do it we will may try. As far as our goals with this film and some of our future films, which are mostly comedies (though we do have a few drama and/or horror (not gore) projects planned).. we're shooting for US Comedy Arts as our big festival beause for this film it just makes sense since it's a comedy short and all... I would imagine that would be our "World Premiere", and we would focus on mostly east coast festivals after that. We're from Philadelphia so New York, Boston, Baltimore, D.C., etc, are all areas we could do. Basically places we can drive to to keep costs down, that sort of thing.

I do know US Comedy Arts will accept DVD submissions, that's what we'd like to use for as many submissions as possible just because it's easier for us to burn a new DVD and since my one partner has access to a CD printer, we can make it look professional still and not just send them a plaine ole DVD-R.

Last edited by necros; 07-27-04 at 02:52 PM.
Old 07-27-04, 03:23 PM
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i've never experienced objections by a festival for private screenings held for cast/crew, investors, etc. i've only had features on the festival circuit, so check the rules for each festival you're interested in as shorts may not have the same requirements.
Old 07-30-04, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for the into one last question ...

If we were to sell DVDs of our film "privately" (like not on Amazon.com and other sites and/or stores or even our own website) would that mess up the world premiere thing for festivals? I'm sure it will come down to the festival's details in some cases, we are planning our "world premiere" for US Comedy Arts in february. We had planned to have our local private premiere for cast & crew and their friends & family around November sometime and we wanted to sell our DVDs there to help cover the cost of going to the fest, which will be around $1500 per person for the full package (festival ticket, plane fare, hotel). At the very least we'd like it to pay for the cost of making the DVDs so we can feel good about giving them away to investors or using them for other promotional things.

So, if we just sold the DVD at our private premiere, think it would be OK?

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