Film Festival Secrets

27/09/2023 Community Creative Events

Hosted by Will Suen

The journey of bringing a film to life is one filled with passion, creativity, and dedication. For many filmmakers, the ultimate dream is to see their work celebrated on the grand stage of international film festivals. Recently, Will and Sejon’s film, “Sweet Juices,” had the privilege of premiering at Fantasia and even took home the Special Jury Mention award. Since then, they’ve been fortunate enough to be accepted into over 20 major international festivals, with new invitations pouring in almost every week. Their journey has been transformative, and they want to share the valuable lessons we’ve learned to help fellow filmmakers navigate the festival circuit successfully.

Masterclass Breakdown
  1. Film Festivals as Allies, Not Adversaries:

One of the most crucial lessons we’ve learned is to view film festivals as friends and collaborators, not gatekeepers determined to keep your film out. Building relationships with festival organizers, volunteers, and fellow filmmakers can be immensely beneficial. It’s about fostering a sense of community and support within the industry.

  1. Strategic Planning from Script to Screen:

Successful festival submissions should be considered from the inception of your project. The planning phase should ideally begin before you even start writing the script. Tailor your story and production to align with the festival circuit, considering factors like genre, runtime, and audience appeal.

  1. Festivals Are Only Half the Journey:

While being accepted into film festivals is undoubtedly a milestone, it’s only half the journey. The true summit is finding or creating your own audience. Understand that festivals are a platform to showcase your work, but the real success lies in reaching a wider audience, whether through distribution, online platforms, or grassroots marketing.

  1. Embrace the Hard Work and Expenses:

Participating in film festivals demands significant effort and financial investment. From submission fees to travel expenses, it can add up. Be prepared to allocate a budget ranging from $500 to $2500, depending on the festival’s scale and location. Budget wisely to maximize your festival experience.

  1. A Unified Filmmaker Community:

Remember, no one truly succeeds until we all succeed. Support your fellow filmmakers, share insights, and celebrate their achievements. Building a strong community can lead to invaluable connections and collaborations.

  1. Workshop Highlights:

In our upcoming free workshop hosted by Will Suen, we’ll dive deep into various aspects of film festivals:

  • Are film festivals worth the effort in 2023? (Absolutely!)
  • Are short films worth the trouble in 2023? (Definitely!)
  • What to look for in a film festival? (It’s all about the audience.)
  • Who are the people/programmers who run film festivals? (They’re not scary people.)
  • Best practices when submitting to film festivals (meticulousness matters).
  • Realistic spending expectations ($500-$2500).
  • Understanding premiere status in 2023.

The journey through the film festival circuit is a thrilling adventure that requires careful planning, dedication, and a strong sense of community. As Will and Sejon have successfully navigated this terrain with their film “Sweet Juices,” they’re committed to sharing their knowledge and secrets with fellow filmmakers.

Drinks by Fellr

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