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Author - in - Residence : Film & Animation Festival Tips

As my first day as Author - in - Residence I've decided to share some tips for;

Screening Opportunities for YOUR film.

As many of you know I've been doing the festival rounds myself lately with my second year project, and it took me quite a lot of practice and research to learn how to get 'How Winnie got her False Teeth' out there and further than the university walls. So here's a post to share some "How To's" the way I've been doing it.

First off, your film. It needs to be finished and to a quality you are happy with, ideally the best it can be.
Also, Royalty Free Content
If there is a piece of music or footage or something you don't have the rights to you will need to either find something else to replace it with in your film or track down the company that you can purchase the use of the material from, which can be very pricey. Festivals you submit to will ask if you have full rights to your film, and you sign a disclaimer so if somebody sues you for using their work without permission, the festival is not held responsible. Meaning you're on your own, so don't do it.

Another popular request is that your film is not available anywhere, including online. This isn't the case for all festivals but the majority of them like to show pieces of work that are not readily seen so the screenings at their festivals are more exclusive. Also some festivals are fussy about premier status'. All of these terms and conditions of entry to each festival will be included in the submission pages for each festival so you should read through them. For example a lot of festivals, if it's in Spain, say your film MUST be at least a Spanish Premier if it is accepted into their festival, otherwise they will not screen it. 

Next up, useful sites to search for festivals you'd like to enter. 
There are thousands of festivals out there, some help is good.

Withoutabox has a MASSIVE selection of festivals signed up to their service so it's great for finding them, and it's really easy to submit your film, however, one big downfall I have found with them is they like to hide the cost of entering a festival until you're really interested in submitting to it, then you see the cost and as a student, in many cases it's a no-go. Some festivals I've seen cost around £170 just to enter. But they're not all like that, on average I'd say festivals are around $20 for entry, and remember, that's still not a guarantee that your film will be accepted, that's just to enter the whirlpool of competition.

Festhome is a good site and doesn't hide the charges of submitting to a festival. The layout of their site gives you a list of festivals to scroll through and with each festival name it shows the price, if it's an international festival or not which is important to know, a lot of festivals I've seen are for example, Latino only or American only etc. and if the festival will need subtitles in a particular language to be eligible, so it saves a lot of time as you can see all the information you need to either pass it by or go for further investigation.

This site is nice for finding more festivals which are possibly not on the other two sites above, however the service is not the same as the above ones as this site just shows which festivals are available to submit to, then you follow links to the websites of the festivals you are interested and fill in the individual forms according to the festival, which can be pretty time consuming. The other two websites offer a service where you upload a private screener of your film, fill out the forms ONCE and you're all set, find the festivals you're interested in, check you're eligible, click submit and pay. Job done.

Don't let this talk of fees get you down though, there are loads of free festivals out there you can enter, 
I've gathered a list of just a few incase this comes in handy for any students wishing to try the festival rounds next year :

Obviously check if your film is eligible if you look into any of these. 

So this post is some advice and links for getting your work seen via film and animation festivals. There are many other ways to publicise your work and try getting your name heard.





  1. Wow! What a bloody useful post, Nat - thanks so much - invaluable! :)


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