How To Get Accepted By More Film Festivals In 2023

Every filmmaker tends to pour their heart and soul into their movies. Thus, entering your film into film festivals is always going to be an emotionally draining journey for you. Every filmmaker wants their film to get selected. The acceptance email from any film festival can make your entire week. You can follow some basic rules to increase your chances of getting accepted. In this article, we are going to share some tips that will help your movie in getting accepted by more film festivals.

Don’t Send a Work-In-Progress Film

Sometimes film festivals will select work-in-progress films. However, you should still try to submit only completed projects. You should wait until your entire movie is completed. Once your movie is completed, you can submit it to the film festivals. Many filmmakers try to rush their projects due to the deadline for the big festivals. Thus, they will send unfinished films to these big festivals. Most film festivals will reject unfinished projects even if your storytelling is great. Your unfinished film will be competing with other completed films. Due to this, it will easily lose out. You should never submit as work-in-progress as it is a wastage of your money and time.

man in white t-shirt holding camera in grayscale photography

Enter The Right Film Festivals

Your film is ready and now you want to enter film festivals. However, you should carefully choose a film festival which is perfect for your film. You should go to a different film festival’s site and check their entry details and deadlines. First, you should learn about different film festivals. This will help you in understanding different film festivals.
If you are working on mainstream movies similar to Avenger or Star Wars, then Sundance Film Festival is not for you. Sundance Film Festival is mostly looking for controversial films. Similarly, if you are working on a thriller or drama film, then you shouldn’t submit it to a children’s film festival.
However, you should never submit your film to only one festival. You should find all the film festivals where your film has a good chance. After that, you should filter this list and find the best film festival for your films.

Choose The Right Category And Genre

You need to choose the right category and genre after selecting the right film festivals. If your film is in the wrong category, then it will most likely get rejected. Most film festivals will allow you to enter multiple genres. If you think that your film belongs to both the comedy and drama genre, then you can enter both genres. Thus, you should know about different categories. Some of the common film categories are:

  • Animation
  • Independent Film
  • First Feature
  • Documentary
  • Commercial
  • Short Film
  • TV program
  • TV movie

The Best of Both Worlds: Submit To The Best Genre Film Festivals (Festivals That Specialize In Your Film’s Niche)

Film Festivals that are genre-specific are incredible opportunities. Your chances of acceptance go right up, because the entire film lineup is dedicated to your genre, so you’re no longer competing with different category film blocks. Festivals with specific genres are filled with what we call your “target audience” as well as the filmmakers within your subset of the film industry. (Especially if it’s a festival in one of the popular film hubs like Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Atlanta, etc.) Genre-specific festivals can be harder to come by, but the results are generally much better if your film meets the criteria!

Here’s a list of some interesting Genre Film Festivals (CLICK TO OPEN)

  1. The Los Angeles International Horror Film Festival

  2. The International Comedy Film Festival

  3. International Diversity Film Festival

  4. The International Animation Festival

  5. The New York Independent Film Festival

  6. GenreBlast Film Festival

  7. Nevermore Film Festival

  8. Fantasia Film Festival

Public Service Announcement!

You need to first find the correct genre of your film, as well as other taggable niches. The judging committee is not going to correct your mistake if you fill the wrong category information. Genre is the easy one (horror, comedy, sci-fi, drama, thriller, etc.) But think bigger here! Are you a student filmmaker? Then that’s a taggable niche. Do you identify with a particular religion? Look for festivals in that category. Was your film made for a micro-budget? Are you located somewhere unique? Did you immigrate to America? These are all taggable niches that could qualify you for particular film festivals or particular categories within festivals. Keep note of all these potential sub-niches for your film (as well as you as a filmmaker!)

Write a Great Synopsis

You need a great pitch if you want to sell your film idea to distributors and investors. Similarly, you need to write a great synopsis of your film. This will help you in convincing the festival screeners. If your film synopsis is boring, then festival screeners will think that your film is boring. Thus, they might reject your film without even checking it properly.
Find the best picture from your movie
Photos can help you in marketing your movie. Therefore, you need to submit some still photos from your film to film festivals. They will use these photos for promoting your film.
You should take some cool photos when you are filming. Try to submit photos that can represent your entire film. For example, you can ask your actors to confront each other. This idea was used by The Avengers director for promoting Avengers: Civil War. If there are some famous actors in your movie, then you should ensure that they are in your film photos.

Submit Your Film

Film festivals were dominated by big filmmakers in the past. Filmmakers were asked to provide a 35mm or 16mm film print. Due to this, independent filmmakers couldn’t compete. You can transfer your film to a motion picture film. However, it was a very expensive process.
Film festivals have changed with time. Every film festival will now accept digital files, Blu-ray, and DVD. Thus, you don’t need to worry about converting your film to a motion picture film. You can beat $100,000 digital camera projects with your inexpensive digital DSLR camera.
You should try to submit your film to as many film festivals as you can. There are various festivals of different sizes. Big film festivals will get thousands of submissions. Thus, it is not easy to get accepted. However, you can easily get selected for smaller festivals. Also, you can win cash prizes and awards at these festivals. You should try to look for a discount before submitting your film.

Conclusion: How To Get Accepted By More Film Festivals in 2023

These are just some starter tips that you can use for getting your film accepted by more film festivals this year. Start implementing these tips before and during your 2021 film festival submissions. It will improve your film acceptance rate. We’ll be improving this list overtime, so keep an eye out for that! We want to bring you as much film festival value as possible! However, never forget. First, you must focus on creating work that you’re proud of. There’s no secret strategy that gets poor work accepted into prestigious film festivals.