Jump to content

What film festival should I submit to, for a 25min short film to get recognition/ attention?


Recommended Posts

Morphed from my previous post about my prejudice against the small, insignificant film festivals. 

Rather, I thought it's more relevant to ask which ones that is more suitable for what I'm looking for, among the oceans of festivals. 

I have a very tight short film that is 25 minutes runtime, about a simple scene in a couple's life: two actors, and one location. It's more structured like a one-act short play. It had received almost unanimous positive feedbacks from the 10-12 people I'd shown it to, who are not my friends per se. 

My ultimate goal is to attract attention from interested parties that can lead to conversations about moving forward with my feature length project. 

In this case, what are the film festivals that is best for what I want? I can't submit to Cannes, because they limit it to be less that 15min long. 😞

Thanks in advance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Longer short films are more difficult to get into film festivals. The shorter the film, the better chance to get it accepted. There are longer shorts, but the filmmaker already having a profile in the industry assists them to get accepted by festivals 15 mins or even better 10 mins tends to be the best for getting into film festivals.

At 25 mins, marketing it as a single TV drama may work better. TV dramas tend to be more cinematic these days.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I wouldn't worry that much about runtime.  Most festivals are still online only now due to covid.  It costs a ton of money to run a film festival and I doubt they are going to be live in person anytime soon.  If they are they will mostly likely be a sh*tshow with attendance due to covid.

The key thing to remember about major film festivals is that they are overwhelmed with submissions and they won't watch most of them. They can't.  I ran the math on Sundance and the amount of entries they get.  They'd need a team of 20 screeners working every day fulltime in a nightmarish clockwork orange style screening capacity and that's only to get through 5 minutes of every feature film submitted.  Then there are the countless shorts on top of that.  It's just impossible. Not enough hours in the day.

Most festivals are a total scam. Don't imagine anything else going on other than insider deals, marketing campaigns and vain accolades for passion projects from Hollywood players looking for artistic credibility and oscar consideration.  If you have a good film, just use it to pitch your feature.  Festivals are a waste of time and money.

 

Edited by Michael LaVoie
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One point about longer short films is that they can drag compared to shorter, snappy films when put in a program of short films.

You have to market your film with a sharp pitch, an excellent synopsis and publicity stills in order to get  it accepted into a good film festival. These will encourage the viewers to view your film.  These are the skills you need to get a feature film off the ground, so festivals are good practice. 

It's worth going to the festival because it's possible to make contacts with other filmmakers. Some festivals have more industry connections than others, so are worth going to.  A local festival is a good starting point, although I know shorts that had their first screening in Australia.

You won't get accepted into every festival you enter. Put in an early bird entry for festivals that charge an entry fee, rather than waiting to the last minute,  Many European film festivals don't charge an entry fee, so may be worth considering. There are also others in the world that don't charge entry fees. One advantage you have is that you don't have to send 35mm film prints around the world. 

Unless you can view your film with an audience of strangers you can't tell how it's really working. Audience reactions can vary depending on the nature of the festival and its location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

The thing is the short film has no connection to the feature script I have, except they belong to the same genre. 

If you directed the short, then you are the connection.  You've proven you can make a film.  Just don't make the mistake so many others do and try to take every crew credit on the short that you can. Or brag about how you did it all in a day for $10. That looks terrible.  Make up names for the jobs you did but don't care that much about even if nobody was there.  Inflate the budget to something realistic and make it look like you are someone that people can trust to work with and give money to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Michael LaVoie said:

If you directed the short, then you are the connection.  You've proven you can make a film.  Just don't make the mistake so many others do and try to take every crew credit on the short that you can. Or brag about how you did it all in a day for $10. That looks terrible.  Make up names for the jobs you did but don't care that much about even if nobody was there.  Inflate the budget to something realistic and make it look like you are someone that people can trust to work with and give money to.

thanks for the advice... that gives me some confidence as I think I'm on the right track. 

we have a very small crew of 4, and two actors... There's not much credit to begin with, but a realistic budget in the $10K, due to the fact there was one crowd scene, and we rehearsed and shot it over a month. So I can't brag about the low budget and short shooting days even if I want to. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you can't get your short on a silver screen to physically legitimize it, don't waste your submission money. If you don't have any insider connections for people you can pitch to, your best bet for gaining traction as a filmmaker is bringing people on board with larger online fanbases than you so they can link and drive traffic to your work once they're in it.

Reality is, you can make something frightfully mediocre, but if influencers are attached then people will give it mostly positive attention.

This is coming from one of the only millennials on this forum who built up productions from nothing.. Additionally, a forum poster here who's gotten multiple distribution deals said festival discovery is like expecting to win the lottery. Sorry it's not exactly what you're looking for, but I'm sick and tired of pretentious fest organizers profiting off this illusion that industry bigwigs attend their no-name festivals.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Michael LaVoie said:

Make up names for the jobs you did but don't care that much about even if nobody was there.  Inflate the budget to something realistic and make it look like you are someone that people can trust to work with and give money to.

This just made me laugh (and sigh quietly a little bit at the same time) 🙂

Lie to look trust-worthy 🙂

I gave up on the 'shorts' side of movie-making some time ago. Partly because it seems to be mostly this: fake people wasting everybody's time with dishonesty (Not blaming or judging anybody, because I get it; you have to 'lie, cheat and steal' to get anywhere. Competition is just too massive for honest low-on-funds naive small-timer people to have any real chance. It was probably always like that, but I just never noticed it before I made some attempts of 'breaking through' commercially myself. Once you get your feet wet you discover the reality is often ugly. A bit like when you watch behind-the-scenes footage you discover that the beautiful film often looks terribly messy behind the camera. It is what it is I suppose)

Anyway, I wish I had an answer for how to break through though, but I think at the end of the day it's more about who you know than what you actually can or can not do with the film-media. 

Just like in the music-business (Which I'm more familiar with than the film-business) : You don't really need talent to make it. You just need enough money to pay for everything yourself.

Good luck to the OP though 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The film and TV industries have always been who you know and probably nothing is going to change that.

The hard part is building up your network of contacts, a process that can take years and involves getting yourself into positions where you can get noticed, combined with careful marketing of yourself.

Of course, it helps if you've got relatives or other connections in the industry..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2021 at 4:47 AM, jacob larsen said:

This just made me laugh (and sigh quietly a little bit at the same time) 🙂

Lie to look trust-worthy 🙂

Inflating a budget is hardly unheard of. Happens all the time. The budget sales corollary demands it.  Expanding on the crew is more of a perception factor.  You want to appear like someone who plays well with others, enjoys collaborating etc.   All good qualities. Assuming of course that you actually want to one day make a movie with a crew and a budget.   I've definitely met people who, if they could make a film entirely on their own without any outside involvement at all, would.   So this advice won't apply to everyone.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
On 5/16/2021 at 9:47 AM, Michael LaVoie said:

The key thing to remember about major film festivals is that they are overwhelmed with submissions and they won't watch most of them. They can't. 

I worked for a few festivals on the judging panels and yea, no way is everyone watching these films, it does not happen. 

On 5/16/2021 at 9:47 AM, Michael LaVoie said:

Most festivals are a total scam. Don't imagine anything else going on other than insider deals, marketing campaigns and vain accolades for passion projects from Hollywood players looking for artistic credibility and oscar consideration.  If you have a good film, just use it to pitch your feature.  Festivals are a waste of time and money.

100% accurate. The days of a Hollywood player sitting through the short film category and saying "man we need to make this a feature" then tracking you down and asking YOU to make it? Ha! Those days are LOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGG gone. 

People use recent examples like Whiplash, but they already had an inside track to a feature before making the short. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
On 5/18/2021 at 1:47 AM, jacob larsen said:

Just like in the music-business (Which I'm more familiar with than the film-business) : You don't really need talent to make it. You just need enough money to pay for everything yourself.

100% accurate. Just look at the most recent successful directors. They either started by funding their first features themselves OR they worked in the music video industry and worked with rich people who could help fund their projects. Either or,  you have to have a modicum of talent, but the key is going out and making product that everyone can see. The more content you have, the more eyes you have on your content, the better off you are. If all ya do is sit around saying you're going to make something, you'll never make it. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
On 5/17/2021 at 5:41 PM, Max Field said:

I'm sick and tired of pretentious fest organizers profiting off this illusion that industry bigwigs attend their no-name festivals.

Or even if they do exist, will sit around and watch the shorts? Come on... give me a break. They only go to the big festivals AND they only watch a few features and spend the rest of the time schmoozing. Has anyone here been to the short film screenings at a festival? They are a ghost town. Unless you're already a big shot making a $250k short film that your other big shot friends are there to watch it, then you aren't going to get eyes at a festival. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
On 5/15/2021 at 8:31 AM, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

My ultimate goal is to attract attention from interested parties that can lead to conversations about moving forward with my feature length project. 

Make it, put it on YouTube, pay for advertising through social media and YouTube and be done with it. You'll get more eyes and more praise doing it that way than wasting time on a festival. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

You guys and gals, when you get some experience and some good artsy projects, should apply for a Guggenheim. Easy as proverbial pie. But beside the $$ award it is very prestigious to be a Guggenheim Fellow.

Here is the 4 part series... 

nsfw

The Quest for a Guggenheim – What Inspired Me / The Upcoming 4 Part Series / Notable Guggenheim Fellows in Photography – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (wordpress.com)

The Quest for a Guggenheim – History, Application and Process Timeline – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (wordpress.com)

The Quest for a Guggenheim – Submitting a Portfolio / An Example Portfolio that Failed to be Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (wordpress.com)

The Quest for a Guggenheim – Budget, Notification, Rejection and Closing Remarks – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (wordpress.com)

 

I applied for a Fellowship in still photography. You can do it for film. I cover all the mistakes I made and hopefully you can avoid. 

Good luck!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/20/2021 at 11:59 AM, Tyler Purcell said:

Make it, put it on YouTube, pay for advertising through social media and YouTube and be done with it. You'll get more eyes and more praise doing it that way than wasting time on a festival. 

but then what?... I'd seen some mediocre films made by some youtuber with a large following, and got millions of views... it made me cringe. 

If the eyes and praise are from those teenagers on the couch, it'd be pointless to me. My goal is to move forward, not to hear from other people's congrats... :'''(

Another plan is to use this short film to apply for a fully funded film school, so as to buy me some more time... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
3 hours ago, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

but then what?... I'd seen some mediocre films made by some youtuber with a large following, and got millions of views... it made me cringe. 

I mean you can get millions of views, you can make a living off YouTube, so does it matter how good the content is, if you don't need to ever work again? 

Speaking from some experience on this, if you can get views, people will pay attention to you. If you can't get views, they will ignore you most likely, especially these days. 

3 hours ago, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

If the eyes and praise are from those teenagers on the couch, it'd be pointless to me. My goal is to move forward, not to hear from other people's congrats... :'''(

I mean does it matter? If you can retain an audience, you're doing well. 

3 hours ago, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

Another plan is to use this short film to apply for a fully funded film school, so as to buy me some more time... 

It's a really bad time and nobody knows the future of the industry. Normally, I'd suggest moving to a media city like NY or LA and having a go at it whilst you're young. The last thing you wanna do now is go to film school. If you're going to school, get a degree in a backup career because honestly, if you can't afford to make a breakthrough first feature and get someone to buy it from ya, then you're just like everyone else on here.. you'll probably have to work in the industry and work your way up IF... you want to do this for real. The other option is to get a degree in another industry, work in that industry and use that money to make your films.

I can't say what I've done has been the fastest method, but that's because I focused on my backup career so I could make money and enjoy my life a bit. Being a freelancer and going from show to show, kinda sucks both financially and with your social life. Also, the days of being able to live in a media city for cheap are dwindling fast. NY and LA are grossly expensive and production is now spread out all over the country instead of being only focused in those two places. I mention this only because nobody really knows the future of the film industry and if you really want to break through, it's not going to be easy. The post covid world reminds me a lot of the closed off nature of the studio system. Lots of independent production, but all of it struggling to get eyes and studio's focused on internal-only production and little to no outside acquisition.

In summary, I don't think it's wise to waste money going to film school unless you get in for free or something. Spend the time and money either focused on your art OR getting a degree in a backup career because everyone needs one these days. I'm so blessed to have one because 2019 and 2020 hit my friends like a ton of bricks and many of them were forced to leave LA and live with their family. I was lucky to use my backup career and have been able to stay making content whilst others have floundered. If ya wanna make stuff for a living, you will need the capital to fund it yourself. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Wendy Sanders McDonlad said:

If the eyes and praise are from those teenagers on the couch, it'd be pointless to me. My goal is to move forward, not to hear from other people's congrats... :'''(

Then those teenagers grow up to have disposable income and operate as a reliable executive produce base sort of entity. Getting together $1000 for a short becomes relatively easy without spending your own money. Unless you have the family connections in your first 20 years, you're not moving up the ladder in a standard hollywood way. They don't care about your quality, they just want to see you drive sales.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's been a few comments addressing the length of your short - I really think this is a major factor here.

I shot a "short" that ran 18 minutes.  We got accepted to a pretty good shorts festival and I spoke to the programmer about it.  It's really important to remember the perspective of the people running the festival - they schedule blocks of shorts, usually tied together with some sort of common theme.  They really don't want one short to dominate a screening block unless it *really* matches the theme well.  We got super lucky.

So making a long short is really stacking the cards against yourself in the festival world.  Don't take it personally if it doesn't get accepted - you're absolutely at a disadvantage going up against 5-10 minute films that are easier to program.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

I mean you can get millions of views, you can make a living off YouTube, so does it matter how good the content is, if you don't need to ever work again? 

I mean does it matter? If you can retain an audience, you're doing well. 

It's a really bad time and nobody knows the future of the industry. ....

In summary, I don't think it's wise to waste money going to film school unless you get in for free or something.....

1) Yes it matters to me. My end goal is not to make a living off it, but to realize my ideas. This is why I do not hop on the scifi, horror, or whatever wagon that is trendy at the moment of discussion. 

2) I think nobody knows the future of the industry at any given point in history, let it be 20 years ago, right now, or 20 years later. 

3) Yes, I'm looking at only fully funded programs. If I had money to pay film school, I will obviously make something with the money instead. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Dan Finlayson said:

There's been a few comments addressing the length of your short - I really think this is a major factor here.

So making a long short is really stacking the cards against yourself in the festival world.  Don't take it personally if it doesn't get accepted - you're absolutely at a disadvantage going up against 5-10 minute films that are easier to program.

I'm beginning to realize that. My short, 25min long is really more of a set piece, and I'm working on coming up with something under 10 min, after reading replies from this post.  Thanks for the headsup. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Max Field said:

Then those teenagers grow up to have disposable income and operate as a reliable executive produce base sort of entity. Getting together $1000 for a short becomes relatively easy without spending your own money. Unless you have the family connections in your first 20 years, you're not moving up the ladder in a standard hollywood way. They don't care about your quality, they just want to see you drive sales.

Oh, I understand that, "they" will make and take whatever makes money, and this has always been the case in the history of man-kind, about movies or not.

But what is the standard Hollywood way? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Film Gears

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Serious Gear

DMX-iT

FJS International

CineLab

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...