Getting your film accepted into film festivals can be tough. A big part of being accepted into festivals is not only making a great film, but making a good impression with the materials you send to the film festival. Here are a few tips for making your film festival worthy.
Make sure before you send your film off that you have read, and re-read all the instructions for entering the film festival, and are following them to a tee. If you don’t follow some instructions, many film festivals will simply discard your film without ever even putting it in the VCR. You want to be treated like a professional, so act like one and make sure you are doing everything exactly the way the festival has requested. If you have a question about some part of the application process then call the festival and ask. It’s better to ask and know you’re doing it right than guess and get penalized for doing something incorrectly.
Submit the Right Length and Format
Most Film festivals will accept a VHS entry tape. If your film is selected to be shown in the festival however you will often be required to submit your film in a different format, in some cases in 35mm film. Read the directions and know what is going to be expected of you if you do successfully make it into the festival. 35mm film copies can be expensive, make sure this festival is something you are willing to make the financial commitment to should the need arise.
Make sure you look at the length requirements as well. If they will not accept films over one hour, make sure your film is not a second over. With film festivals the rules do matter, so adhere to them.
Clearly Label Your DVD and Tape
Unless the festival instructions specify not to, you want to clearly label your DVD or tape with your name, address and telephone number, as well as the name of the film. Having copies of your movie professionally made can make you and your film look much more professional in the eyes of the festival. In some cases a professional tape can get you a small leg up on the competition. Of course what’s on your tape needs to be professional quality as well for you to make it in.
Submit a Press Release with Your Film
Your films press release is a place to toot your own horn. Talk about the premise of the film, the background of the director and what other film festivals (if any) the film has been in, as well as any award that it has received. A lot of the film industry is about who you know and where you’ve been. Highlight in your press release any special recognitions, or mentions in newspapers that your film has gotten. In submitting your film to the festival circuit, it can also be a good idea to submit some press releases and copies to some small print publications as well. A good review can help give you an edge on the competition and build public interest in your film.
Send A Postcard
Want to know when your film gets there? Send a self addressed stamped postcard along with your film package to the film festival. The festival can then drop the card in the mail, and let you know they received your film.