When you finish a short and you want to join the festival circuit, keep in mind that for some films the first screenings are crucial for the film’s further festival run. If you think that your film fits A-list festivals, you should prioritise them before moving on to genre or smaller festivals. Certain fests only program movies with premiere status, therefore films that have screened before or are online publicly may not be eligible for submission any more. Even if a festival has no premiere status rule, its curators still might give preference to debuts. For other films it might be a better approach to skip the world premiere festivals, and head for country premieres or festivals without premiere requirements. Often it doesn't make sense to waste too much money and waiting time, as your film's lifetime in the festival circuit is limited to 2.5 years. Here is a short overview of the various types of film festival premieres.
And how many festival acceptances should I expect with that budget?
Engrossed in shooting, postproduction, distribution and marketing, filmmakers tend to underestimate the efforts and budgets needed for a decent festival run. Film festivals still are the main distribution option for short films. And besides the opportunity to gain professional credibility, being selected at festivals results in huge benefits like travels, awards and cash prizes, networking with the industry, and even funding opportunities for future projects. In this post we share our recommendations for festival distribution budgets, in relation to different strategies and expectations about the number of selections.
One of the recurring questions of filmmakers is, if and when their short should be published on video-sharing websites. When it comes to festival submissions, indeed some festivals do not consider films which are already available online, espacially world- or international premiere festivals. Nevertheless, many filmmakers don’t know that publishing does not necessarily impact their submission options negatively, since actually at least 70% of the important festivals do accept films which already have been released on the internet. But you need to find out which ones.
We collected some examples of festival strategies to help you decide if you want to start big or go broader.