Through the years we have developed a festival submission strategy to try and optimise the potential of our films, as we have looked to achieve more than we have in the past.
This may not be an easy to quantify achievement, do we want our next film to:
1. Go to better festivals
2. Have more festival selections
3. Win more awards
4. Just have more people see it;
The last of these is relatively easy to achieve by just uploading a film to the internet and advertising it to the world. This is somewhat contradictory to the first three, as some festivals want a premiere so being online ruins that possibility, and once its online it’s less appealing to many other festivals impeding number 2, and if it’s not going to festivals it won’t win awards (3)
So we have worked on a strategy of premiering where required in each territory and then submitting to other relevant festivals, in our genre before moving on to what’s left (4).
More recently we have timetable our film’s and their festival submissions to try and maximise their and our potential: aim high, the quickly start spreading out wide
Here we have a simple case study.
Let’s imagine for a moment that we have made a British horror film, and that it was completed the the beginning of the year, how are we going to optimise its award potential?
To the right we have a simple calendar showing when festival submissions should be made. some things that you will notice is that the Strasbourg submission is before Cannes (which requires a Premiere) but as Strasbourg doesn’t screen until September, this isn’t an issue, if the film isn’t selected for the competition at Cannes, we can’t resubmit it next year.
London requires a British Premiere but this varies depending on where your film was made, if you’re not English we’d discuss this and make appropriate adjustments to your submissions to take advantage of this!
all the festivals with a Star are BAFTA qualifying!
Our goal with the timetable on the right is BAFTA qualification, and failing that selection at respectable festivals.
We also have some variation on a festival’s definition of short film at Cannes it’s 15min., CurtaCinema it’s 25min., San Sebastian and Hamburg 30min., London 40min., and some even go up to an hour, whilst on occasion festivals have a medium length category (San Sebastian ‘s is 30-60min.)
As we get to the go through the year, we could even be submitting to festivals early next year London Short Film Festival takes submissions from February, and has a special rate for shorts under 5min., this festival is also BAFTA qualifying.
Many of these festivals are free or relatively low cost, with te exception of San Sebastian which is currently charging €70 regardless of film length, London Film Festival is the most expensive – £15 last year for UK Shorts) which is why I chose them, there are dozens of other BAFTA qualifying festivals throughout the year that would eat into your budget and not guarantee you any success. You could just forego San Sebastian and its Premiere requirement, and start submitting for Spanish screening immediately!
We can help you navigate these and find the most productive way of spending your festival budget.