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by Zach Daulton, nofilmschool

Entering your film into festivals can be a long and emotionally draining journey. As filmmakers, we pour our heart and soul into our films, and by submitting them into festivals we find ourselves in a very vulnerable place.

Getting the Congratulations! email from a festival is an amazing feeling that can make your entire day if not your week. However, getting the Thanks for submitting but we had a lot of really good submissions this year email from a festival can be just as devastating.

“Festivals are looking to include films that make the programmers wonder, question, laugh, cry, or inspire.” 

Find all 4 Ways to Get Your Film Accepted into Film Festivals here.

A few more quick tips…

  • Avoid Clichés. Does your film start with an alarm clock going off? Was someone dead the entire time? Is it the apocalypse? In the book How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets from a Sundance Programmer, Roberta Marie Munroe gives a long list of clichés that festival programmers are tired of seeing.
  • Get good sound. People are more willing to forgive a film that is ugly over one they can’t understand.
  • Don’t give your actors material they can’t handle. Find the weaknesses and strengths of your actors before filming, and give them material that will seem natural for them.
  • Use FilmFreeway. This is by far the easiest and best site to use when submitting films to festivals.
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