Today I am going to give you an intro into my experiment which started when professor Melody Gilbert suggested I take the Student Assistant position she had open in the Spring of 2014. My main job was to pick 3 or 4 student films and submit them to various film festivals. When I started to prepare the packages for submissions, I realized that I would have to start from zero because most of the films did not have a press kit(a supplemental package of publicity material that you submit with your festival entry form), no production photos and even no real copies of films except the online upload.
First, I had to research for student film festivals or regular film festivals where our student films would fit. The film festivals had to be still open for submissions and ask for no fees. To ensure the likelihood of acceptance, I also researched the programmers of each film festivals and send them an email with a short synopsis of the film, its premiere status and a Vimeo link, password protected.
Preparing the submission packages for each film was a bit daunting when you don’t really have what to work with. I had to contact the filmmakers to task the basic information about their films, sound and picture format, general DVD format, copies of the film, stills, loglines etc. When I didn’t have enough things to put in the application package, I had to trace every filmmaker’s social media activity to pick up dates and information about their films and then go back and double check with them. I had the filmmakers transfer their films to Vimeo or make them unlisted on Youtube.
After a period of fixing, putting together the press kits, researching for film festivals, writing dozens of emails and sending numerous online applications and DVD’s to film festivals, it was time to wait for answers. There were a lot of rejection letters, most of them were very nice and polite, some film festivals didn’t even send a rejection letter, but you know it’s a rejection when you go to their website and the festival has started and your film is in not the program. But there is always good news; from the bunch you applied to someone for sure you will get a positive response ( later on I will write a post about rejection letters vs acceptance letters and give your some examples).
Applying to film festivals is never easy, you have to keep track of many details and you never know which factors can get your film selected. It literally can be anything but I am here to help you narrow it down to most important ones, to the ones you have to pay more attention to and consider, while you fill in the submission forms or when deciding to which film festivals to apply to.
Next time I will start introducing you to the films I’ve selected. I will give you a short intro of each film and a list of film festivals to which they were submitted. Stay put!