How To Get Into a Film Festival

It is no small feat to create a short film. Upon completion the filmmaker and crew can feel a wide range of emotions–exhaustion, excitement and eagerness. Many artists yearn to have their work seen by peers and fellow industry members; the question is where to start?

John Montana is an actor and filmmaker living in L.A with his wife. His most recent short film, “Hungry” has been accepted into 24 film festivals all over the world. Check out his insights below:

What Festival Do I Submit To?

Is your film a horror film? Is it a film made for women by women? Is it a family drama? Is it a documentary? Once you get a firm idea of your audience you can narrow which festivals to submit to.

What Platform Do I Use?

I use withoutabox.com and FilmFreeway for my submissions.

  • Film Freeway allows you to submit a high quality link with your submission. WAB has a player on their site and you can also mail a copy of your work.
  • WAB and Film Freeway have a large selection of open applications and both are improving daily. Some perks include free entry for students to particular festivals via Film Freeway.
  • Film Freeway allows you to search by genre. My latest film is a horror film. I found over 100 festivals that were specific to horror. I then was able to submit specifically to them, which upped my odds of success.

Time Moves Slowly Here

This can be very nerve-wracking if you are eager to receive a quick response. You Must Be Patient! I submitted my film to 92 film festivals back in July 2015, and about 30% still have not responded. This is probably due to the fact that the festivals themselves are still out in the future –My advice: Stay calm and be patient.

Do I Attend?

Only you can answer this question. There are a few things to keep in mind. Do you have the finances to travel to the festival? If you do, that’s great. Choose your festivals wisely. Go to festivals where there will be industry professionals and other filmmakers in attendance. This is a time to meet as many of your peers as possible. Make it count.

In conclusion, getting into a film festival is very exciting. It shows that someone has actually enjoyed your film and wants to share it with others in their festival. This is a good thing. Be happy and be grateful. There are literally thousands of submissions every year to every festival. You got in. Try and make the most of it.




About The Author:

John Montana is an actor living with his wife in L.A. and has begun to make short films. His most recent film, “Hungry” has been accepted into 24 film festivals all over the world. Check out his short film – HUNGRY at No Title Production Films.

Jasmine Moore

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