I’ve decided to compile all the things I’ve learned so far as I’ve gone through all the film festival submissions process. I’ve been tracking this info down for a while now, and this is what I tell filmmakers when asked about applying to festivals.
Here are three sources that I found to be useful:
Film Festival Secrets – Christopher Holland
The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide – Chris Gore
Official Selection, dir. Paul Osborne
Now one of the problems with those books and movies is that they all came out in 2009 and so are almost 10 years old now. Information moves fast, and some of the stuff in there isn’t quite applicable. That’s why there haven’t been any new books (or even new editions). Supposedly, websites were supposed to take the place of these new books, giving us more up-to-date information. To some extent, that’s true, as there are some good things to find online, however, Chris Gore’s Ultimatefilmfest.com (advertised in his book) isn’t there anymore, for one. Christopher Holland’s Filmfestivalsecrets.com is still up, but I have no idea how long it’s been since it was last updated.
One of the problems I’ve found is that most of the information out there is directed towards people making feature films, and especially narrative feature films. I made an experimental documentary short, and while the information I found was still applicable, it wasn’t directed at me. So then, why write books, articles, etc toward helping people that have made a few shorts and are on to their first feature? Why let people struggle through film festivals with a short and then give them information for taking their feature to festivals?
Here are some articles that I’ve found informative:
A few of those websites have lots of past articles about festivals and have proven useful.