If last time you got the chance to learn from our first guest more about taking risks, submission packages and what things can set apart your movie from the thousands same submissions, this time we are going to narrow it down a bit to one specific/niche section in a film festival.
Our second guest is Dimitris Kerkinos, the Balkan Survey Programme director at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and he is going to talk about what is he looking for in the films for his section, how he finds them and why the premiere status matters.
Since 1994 the Balkan Survey section is showcasing great films produced in the Balkan region and acts as a meeting point for those interested in a different cinematic experience. A lot of film festivals have a special section that cannot be found anywhere else and if you happen to stumbleupon one of those, take a moment and see if your films meets the requirements.
Mr. Kerkinos is very dedicated to selecting films for the Balkan Survey program and he is extensively researching for films that fit the program’s criteria. He asks for DVD and screeners, follows the work of directors or looks at other film festivals for potential submissions. Mr. Kerkinos also gets films submission send to him in an official way, by form completion or unofficially, sending the DVD with no attachments.
I asked Mr. Kerkinos the same question I ask every film festival programmer I interview. What are the factors that make it most likely for a student film to be accepted into a films festival? For Mr. Kerkinos the originality of the film, its narrative course, point of view and thematic approach matter the most. Also, because of the nature of the section he is looking for a film that has a sociological and anthropological background too.
First or second time film directors are often attracted to film festivals that have competitive sections, Mr. Kerkinos says and they are more attractive for premieres too.
There are festivals that only want premieres and in order to have a premiere they might have a film that it is not that great, I will never do that [..]. I prefer the film to be great and not be a premiere, than have a premiere and have a stupid film [..].
What I want you to pick up from this post is how different the film festival scene is and how a film festival section with a special program functions, how there are different ways a film festival programmer selects and puts together a program. I brought you this post because I want you to stop and think where you envision your film, what do you want for it, do you strive to get into competitive or non-competitive film festival programs. Sometimes you have to be selective, sometimes you have no choice than to target a specific audience.
Watch the VIDEO bellow to find out more about premieres and sales agents strategy and who has the final say in the selection process at TIFF.