Film Industry

Movie Submissions: Tips For Submitting To The Top Film Festivals

Photograph of the blog post author, Dylan Easton

Dylan Easton

28.4.2021

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Are you a filmmaker looking to make your mark on the world of film? Then look no further! We’re going to talk you through the importance of movie submissions and how to submit your film to some of the top film festivals.

movie submissions

Submitting your film to film festivals is a great way to have your film make an impact and begin building an audience. Film festivals can be an integral part of your film’s life-cycle. But with so many film festivals around the globe, it can be a daunting task to decide which one you should go for. 

In this article, we’re going to talk through strategy for movie submissions and how you can decide which ones to go for. If that sounds good to you, be sure to stay until the end so you don’t miss anything!

Put Together A Movie Submission Strategy

movie camera

A strategy for your movie submissions is something that should be considered during the production. It is important to consider what kind of film you’ve made. Whether it’s your low-budget, light-hearted weekend project or whether this your crowdfunded statement which you hope will put you on the map as a filmmaker and progress your career. 

Once your film is finished, it’s important to take an objective stance on your film, as difficult as it may be, before submitting it to any festivals. What genre is the film? What audience, in particular, will it draw in? Where does your film take place and where was it shot? In analysing your own film, you will be able to decipher which audiences it will attract and this will better inform your decision of which film festival to submit it to. 

If you can, submit your film as early as possible. It will get your films into the minds of programmers first. Additionally, early bird submissions will be a lot cheaper. 

Research Potential Film Festivals

film submissions

After having assessed your film and the potential audience, start researching festivals that you feel your film could work in.

Also, film submissions at festivals your colleagues and friends have been accepted to are great indicators of which direction to head in. Within your research, you should find out what the cost of movie submissions are, when the deadlines are when the festival is, and what they’ve accepted in the past. A great way to sell your film even further is to take production stills and behind the scenes photos during production. 

It’s also important to be realistic about budgeting for festivals and whether you’re willing to travel a long way. You have to consider travel costs, lodging costs, any marketing materials you wish to bring such as postcards, etc. The more festivals you go to, the better exposure you will get as well as networking opportunities and meeting other like-minded filmmakers.

Movie Submissions For Top Film Festivals

Now that you understand the importance of movie submission strategies, let’s go over how you can submit to the top film festivals!

We Make Films

we make films logo movie submissions

We Make Films is a film festival that levels the playing field. Since some short films can cost upwards of £15,000 plus, it made it impossible for low-budget indie films to get noticed. 

In order to combat this, We Make Films now runs a twice-yearly film festival that levels the playing field. However, they will only accept animations and films with a production value of under:

  • £500/$600
  • £1,500/$1800
  • £5,000/$6000

This would be the perfect place to begin if you’re only starting out as a filmmaker as it has a category of under a £500 production budget. This means you don’t have to shed out a load of cash or shoot the next Michael Bay epic to get your work noticed. 

If your film fits into any of these categories, be sure to check out their website for their submission fees and submit your film to We Make Films today!

T.O Webfest 

web fest logo

T.O Webfest is a film festival based in Toronto, Canada who deal in the realm of online entertainment.

This festival is slightly different from the other film festivals we’ve mentioned. Their entry requirements dictate that the content must be developed for online audiences. This means if you’ve been working on web series, podcast series, or vlog series, this is the perfect place to submit your work.

Submitting your work here is a great idea as the market is very niche and you have a greater chance of getting your work noticed!

To submit your film to T.O Webfest, check out their website for more information on prices and criteria your work must meet!

Sundance Film Festival 

sundance film festival logo

Sundance is the biggest independent film festival in the United States. It includes competitive categories, documentary, and dramatic films, both feature-length and short films, in which awards are given.

In addition to this, they have out-of-competition categories solely for showcasing new films. Since 1985, hundreds of films launched at the festival have gone on to gain critical acclaim and reach new audiences worldwide.

Sundance has a wide array of categories for your movie submissions. These include US Narrative Feature Film, US Documentary film Episodic Content and a whole load more! Sundance even includes categories for International submissions for rising stars overseas. This would be a great opportunity to get your film noticed to a wider than just your own country. 

Before you begin your film submission, you will have to read the eligibility requirements for each category. Having done this, select the one that best suits your project which can be found on their website. After figuring out where your film belongs amongst the plethora of categories, go ahead and submit your film.

Why not shoot for the moon by submitting your work for consideration to the Sundance Institute. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket!

Raindance Film Festival 

raindance movie submissions

Raindance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the UK. Holding the 27th festival in 2019, Raindance is based in the heart of London’s electric West End film district.

Raindance Film Festival would be well worth your while submitting to. This is because it is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences USA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the British Independent Film Awards. Selected shorts will even qualify for Oscar and BAFTA considerations.

They offer a variety of different categories for both short films and feature-length films. These include Narrative Feature, Queer Short, and even a Virtual Reality category. Having these increasing niche areas gives your film submission a great chance of being recognised by a prestigious film festival.  For more information on the categories they offer and the prices of film submissions check out their website!

Now You Know Everything About Movie Submissions

film submissions

So there we have it! We’ve gone through the steps you need to take when submitting your films to film festivals. This includes analysing your film and deciding which audiences you think it will attract. As well as carefully considering which festivals you wish to submit your work to. Moreover, we’ve also taken into consideration the costs and logistics of actually attending such festivals. 

We’ve looked at a handful of the top film festivals and what criteria your project must meet in order to be considered. Additionally, we’ve discussed the niches of each festival and how this can benefit your movie submissions. 

Hopefully this article has primed you to approach the world of film festivals. Good luck with your submission! 

Are You A Filmmaker?

Need financial backing to support your project? Our film investment can back projects of all sizes from independent short films to major releases covering all corners of the globe. If that wasn’t enough, promote your work, list your upcoming films and allow fans to pre-order or buy them with your very own Showcase site. Finally, with our concierge and service and extensive music library, allow us to help you find music for your film. Check out our Music Licensing service to get started!!

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