Why Filmmakers Submit Early To Film Festivals – 7 Reasons

You’ve finished your short, feature or documentary – congratulations – it’s festival submission time! Submit early! Then cross your fingers and toes and hope you get selected.

Here we’ve had several years dealing with submissions from filmmakers. And we’ve waited nearly as long submitting our own work to festivals around the world. We also know how manic the filmmaking process is. And how filmmakers rush to meet submission deadlines for the biggies like Berlin, Barcelona, Cannes, Mykonos, Raindance, The Independent Awards, Sundance, SWSX and Toronto.

Here’s 7 Reasons You Submit Early To Film Festival

1. The Festival Programmers Will Be Fresh

One would think this is a no-brainer. But no, most filmmakers seem to wait until the last minute before they ship off their submissions. This means the festival programmers are faced with a huge number of submissions at the last minute. Remember that programmers have to finish their selections well in advance of the festival opening in order to allow for time for websites to be built, reviews written, films scheduled and hospitality arrangements made.

Benefit from the freshness of the programmer’s eyes.

2. Save Money

Have you ever had to pay for surge pricing on Uber? Most festivals, including Raindance have scaleable fees that rise dramatically as the deadline approaches. Early submissions are always the cheapest.

3. Festivals have time to ask you questions

I can speak from years and years of festival experience. I’ve learned that the more time we have to work with you following selection, the more time we have to discuss your film and release strategy with you.

4. It gives you time to research the festival’s programming strategy

Each film festival has a programming strategy. Early submission allows you to research a particular programming style before submitting.

5. It allows you time to market your project

Getting the marketing vibe right is one of the trickiest things any filmmaker can do. Giving yourself the right amount of time allows you to test your marketing approach, to do AB testing and other promotional and marketing activity.

Remember: one of the best ways to get selected is to submit early, and then mount a marketing campaign. Festival programmers will notice your online activities.

6. You can meet other filmmakers

Get your social media up to scratch and start asking your ‘crowd’ about what you are trying to do and use their experience. Or collaborate. Or share accommodation tips!

7. You can plan your festival strategy

Successful filmmakers have learned that the backbone to their success is a strong and well thought out social media marketing and promotion strategy. Submitting early to festivals means you have the time and energy to create a viable social media strategy, not only for your film, but for you as a filmmaker.

The Acid Test

Are you ready to submit your films to a film festival?
Have you looked at their past editions to see if you can just their previous programming?
Have you researched film festivals worldwide in FilmFreeway.com?


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