Welcome dear reader, broke enthusiastic film student and overwhelmed film festival submitter!
I hope you will find what you are looking for on my blog and that your quest for how to submit to a film festival will become less daunting and confusing because of my posts. To initiate you into the readings that will follow, let me tell you why I decided to touch upon this topic and what should you expect from my guidance.
Everything started with the summer of 2013, when I was lucky enough to intern for Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (TDF) and Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) in Athens, Greece. I loved everything about my internship and I am not exaggerating,when I say everything, I mean everything. I learned so many new things, and met new people, watched hundreds of documentaries, archived, researched, read, wrote articles, contacted filmmakers and took part in organizing events.
In the beginning, my job was to meticulously archive the previous edition of TDF, assist other departments, research documentaries and send out a request for them. Then, submission packages for the next TDF started to pour in and I had the task to put them into the festival’s database. Oddly enough, it was quite enjoyable to open the submission envelopes. I was always squealing in excitement when I was reading the press kits or recognizing a title I wanted to watch for so long.
While the submission pile next to my desk was getting higher, my responsibilities were getting bigger. I was allowed to try my hand at pre-screening docs and I started to enjoy it a bit too much. I always had a documentary on my mind. I ate and breathe docs 24/7.
My supervisor and colleagues were helpful and showed me how to make the best possible decision, what to look for in a good documentary and how to preview under a deadline while you have 1000 submissions and counting. In the end I got to truly learn the meaning of three words: yes, no, and maybe.
Because of my internship I got my life changing answer. I want to be a film festival programmer, hence the topic of my project, A Film Festival Guide for College Students. Through it I hope to help emerging student filmmakers to take into consideration certain factors (to be discovered) that will increase the likeliness of their film in getting accepted into a film festival.
In the next 14 weeks I will take you through my journey and experiment, which is me picking up three student films and submitting them to film festivals around the world, observing what works and what does not work. I will try to give you useful tips and invaluable insight from film festival programers.
Next time, I will let you know what are the most important tips I’ve learned form my internship at Thessaloniki International Film Festival and I hope you will find them applicable to your situation.