A big part of filmmaking is getting your film seen and one of the best ways to accomplish that is through festivals. Ashley Blue’s “Wingboys,” for example, has been selected to screen in four festivals (Clifton, SENE, NOVA, Dawson City) and is currently pending for two. I spent some time talking to Ashley about her experience submitting to film festivals and compiled a list of things to keep in mind when submitting your own film:
1. Take advantage of tools like Withoutabox, but don’t limit yourself
Ashley used Withoutabox and FilmFreeway to submit “Wingboys,” the latter of which she preferred because it let her upload the video directly (as opposed to using IMDB, which lowers the quality). Both aim to streamline the submission process and provide a centralized way of distributing your film, but there are drawbacks. Such as, not every film festival uses these sites. Make sure to do a bit of old school Googling in addition to using sites like Withoutabox and FilmFreeway so you don’t miss out on anything.
2. Read the fine print
Always read the rules and guidelines before submitting your film, lest you risk the festival rejecting your film and keeping the submission fee. Some festivals might require that you not post your film online publicly, most have strict time limits or require that the film have been produced within the last year. Some festivals even require that entries be eligible for regional or statewide premiere. Tribeca Film Festival, for example, require that the submitted film must maintain a tri-state area premiere. This might mean staggering festival submissions, and planning where to apply first.
3. Think about why you’re submitting the film
Chances are, you want people to watch your film and recognize all the hard work you put into it. Often, you’ve stated in your Kickstarter/Indiegogo that you’ll use some of the donated funds on submission fees, and you don’t want to let down your backers. For Ashley, a big part of getting “Wingboys” into festivals is to actually go to those festivals and support the festival itself, as well as make connections with other filmmakers.
4. With that in mind, make an effort to go to festivals
In some cases, going to every festival your film gets accepted to might not be realistic. But, for the ones that are only a (relatively) short drive away, make a point to support other filmmakers and their films. Filmmaking is a business built on making connections – from connecting with producers who’ll help finance your next film, fellow filmmakers who will help make your next film, and audiences who will hopefully watch your next film, festivals are a great way to build and develop these relationships. Festivals provide a lot of great opportunities, but there’s more to getting accepted than just producing a quality film. The right tools, a healthy dose of research, and keeping your goals in mind can help simplify the submission process.
If you want to follow Wingboys’ festival run, then be sure to check back right here on HMDFilms.com, and like our facebook page, where we’ll be posting pictures and updates about any Wingboys’ news. And if you’d like to watch Wingboys, we’d love to see you at one of the festivals we’re showing at. The dates and times are listed below: