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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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MEET YOUR EDITOR Bruno Chatelin - Check some of his interviews. Board Member of many filmfestivals and regular partner of a few key film events such as Cannes Market, AFM, Venice Production Bridge, Tallinn Industry and Festival...Check our recent partners.  

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Filmmakers: pick your Fest! (Houston is calling)

"Why Even Bother with a Film Festival?"
First of all, a warning: most of the 300-plus "film festivals" in North
America are not really film festivals. They are screening events. They
show a few films and tapes in a less-than-excellent venue and
generally do very little for your film. A lot of scams are out there too...
One in NYC (we won't mention names here, but they are easy to check
on) attempts to charge the filmmaker anywhere between $300 and
$3000 to "participate" in their so-called Independent Film Festival.
Think that’s bad? Some "festivals" don’t actually exist, let alone show a
single film. So, my first advice? "Filmmaker Beware."

Second, the reality: after you've poured your blood, sweat and tears
into your film, along with 27 credit cards, you’ll have reached the “now
what” phase. Film festivals are truly the best avenue to gain notice for
you and your film, since it's almost impossible to get a studio or
distributor or network to look at an independent film. Trouble is, you
have to be accepted into that festival. Sundance has such a perverse
agenda that no one can really figure out what they are looking for.
Casting a major star in your film – or an offspring of a major star –
helps, but Sundance has essentially become a promo platform for the
major studios. Nearly 80% of the films they screen have distribution
already in place, or worse, were actually financed by a major studio.
So, what to do? Find a festival that’s right for your film. Talk to other
filmmakers, go to and look around, though you may be boggled by the vast selection.

Check with Key point: watch out for the “1st Annual” anything. No track record may mean no real event. Checking out websites helps; professional-lookingsites will at least indicate a feel for the business. No website? Big problem.
Choose festivals that accept the kind of film you have made.

There are specialized festivals for shorts, docs, children's films,
features of all kinds and shorts of all kinds. Toronto is the 900-pound
gorilla, but hard to get into. San Francisco has a good short-film
festival, so does St. Louis and Doubletake. We hear good things about
Ft. Lauderdale and Seattle. And I would be remiss if I did not mention
our festival, the upcoming 37th Annual WorldFest, in Houston, Texas..
We show about 60 features and 100 new shorts on film and digital.

The European festivals are great, with low entry fees, or often none at
all. European festivals receive huge government grants, so most don’t
charge an entry fee – though some are starting to do so. Many of
these fests have very strict guidelines on things like running time and
format. Cannes screens only 35mm, and they don't accept shorts
longer than 15 minutes. Some Euro fests do accept DVD and VHS, you
just have to do your homework to find them.

Most US festivals are not recipients of government largesse, so most charge entry fees.

Important note: avoid any festival that has an entry fee and then a
"Finals Fee" as this is a big hint there is a scam going on.
Finally, your film is accepted: congratulations. Now the work really
begins. Attend the festival. Be everywhere. Be a charming pest! Hand
out lots of flyers, business cards, DVDs of your short. Work the
festival, and work it hard. Be noticed. You may get a studio interview,
a real job offer, maybe even a look at your feature script! Spielberg
actually got his first job offer at WorldFest. Frank O'Connor, the Senior
VP of Universal was at WorldFest, saw his film (Amblin') and told
Spielberg to look him up when he got to LA... The rest is cinema

Hunter Todd
Chairman & Founding Director
the 37th Annual WorldFest


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