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10 Tips for Submitting to Film Festivals

Get your project accepted to fests by following these must-know tips for film festival success!

Film Festival Tips

Film festivals provide a great way to get your film (and you!) exposure in the industry…but with escalating competition how can you increase your chances of acceptance? Cream rises to the top, so much of your success is reliant on your creative vision and execution – the film itself. BUT, there are certain steps you can take to insure that festival programmers and judges give your film a fair chance to be considered. Follow these 10 must-follow tips for submitting your film to festivals!

Is the Film a Fit?

Do your research when it comes to which festivals you’ll apply. Take a look at past films that have screened. Read reviews from past festival attendees. Do the programmers primarily accept narrative? Is there an emphasis on short films? Maybe a preference for the avant-garde or experimental? Is the fest geared toward a certain audience? Closely examine any film festival before you spend your time and money submitting to it. Is your project a good fit for the fests overall goals and theme? If it’s not, don’t try to ‘make it work’.

Niche Festivals

Instead, seek out fests that align with the genre or subject matter of your film. There are more festivals than ever before and many are micro-focused on a niche subject such as horror, environmental, documentary or shorts. These niche fests provide a great opportunity for new filmmakers to get their work in front of a captive audience. The big league film fests are for the ‘big leaguers’ . It’s great to dream, but remember that time and money are finite resources– set realistic goals and shoot for what’s attainable.  Check out our list of 15 Fests You Should Enter.

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About Winter Film Awards

Winter Film Awards (WFA) is a volunteer-run and operated celebration of the diversity of local and international film-making. Our Mission is to recognize excellence in cinema and to promote learning and artistic expression for people at all stages of their artistic careers with a focus on nurturing emerging filmmakers and helping them gain recognition and contacts to break into this difficult industry. We pride ourselves on our diverse collection of Festival selections, allowing our audience to enjoy films they normally wouldn’t think to seek out. WFA is a minority- and women-owned registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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