With so many festivals out there, and more and more appearing every day, it’s sometime confuzzling to figure out where to spend your budget. After all, you’re an indie filmmaker and doing things on a budget is your specialty! Festivals are no different. So here is are a few things you need to ask yourself to help breakdown the Everest of festivals at your disposal.
I’m going to dive right in to Prizes. Yes you read that right. Prizes! After all, it isn’t a called a film festival for nothing. A great way of figuring out if a festival is right for you, is to weight the submission costs to the prizes your production is eligible to win. Sometimes you’ll see the cost for festivals are ridiculously high, but then they offer ridiculously amazing prizes. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes the submission fees are wonderfully low, but prizes? Wonderfully non-existent. Weight the two together and see if it’s worth it for you.
Another important question to factor in is “How much visibility will this give my production?”. I’m not just talking about “How many people can view this?”, although important, but I’m also talking about “What kind of media outlets are likely to cover the festival?”. Now remember, it doesn’t have to be of “Cannes” calibre, but there should be some kind of buzz going on. You want to make sure the festival producers are doing their bit to get word about their festival out there so that you the filmmaker feel comfortable handing over your money. So do your homework first and see if the cost of the festival is worth the possible publicity being offered.
Finally, where is this festival taking place? Don’t get trapped in the thinking “My production’s multi-national and talks to all audiences from all countries”. If you can find me one film that does that, I will buy you a chocolate bar – And I want to watch that film! Every production has their audience, and a huge amount of the time, that audience differs from country to country. For example, a person’s comedy preferences tend to be very reflective of the nationality they identify with. So don’t expect your dry, sarcastic, all-British comedy film to go down well in Germany. Nein!
Directed a dark comedy? Why not submitting to Houston Comedy Film Festival, Toronto After Dark Film Festival or Los Angeles Comedy Festival? Directed an amazing horror? Try Atlanta Horror Film Festival or Screamfest Horror Film Festival. Made a mockumentary? How about Mockfest: The Mockumentary Film Festival or The Sham Film Festival? The list goes on and can easily go on and on right after you give a search on Google depending on your area of interest.
I hope this has helped you not only save a few $$$, but also to raise your chances of getting your awesome production screened to the audiences it deserves.