Early Bird Entries are now being taken at http://www.withoutabox.com/ thru February 20, 2012.
Regular Entries will be taken from February 23, thru April 15th, and our late entry deadline is from April 15, May 31, 2012.
All "Official Selections" will be notified as soon as possible but no later than July 1, 2012.
Labor Day weekend we will present our three day event and our gala awards show will be on Sunday, September 2, 2011, at 8:00 pm.
I've been asked many times how we select films and how filmmakers should go about selecting a film festival that may be right for the promotion of their film. In a perfect world where all films are created equal how will you stand out and how will you eliminate yourself from becoming an official selection for the festival of your liking.
I've always preached that there are only two reasons to make a film. The first is to make money and the second to win awards. Sometimes winning awards will enhance the marketability of your film helping you to make money. Don't lose sight of the fact that becoming an official selection to a film festival enhances the value of your film. Your film at the same time should enhance the program of the film festival. How does your film rate with other films in the same category. Look for a festival and take a look at previous finalists and winners.
Everyone thinks their film is good enough to get into Sundance. That's why Sundance receives over five thousand film entries each year. Two or three percent of these entries get into the festival. Smart if you have limited funds for festival fees make sure you have a fighting chance to get in. Festivals of two weeks or more need more films than say a four day film festival. Check out festivals in your home state. Most states have at least one and many have several. Check out what you get for your entry fee. We provide those films that do not become an official selection with a critique letting them know where their film fell short. We believe the critique alone is worth the entry fee but becoming an official selection enhances your film by displaying festival laurels on your poster. Official Selection, Finalist, Winner, all enhance the value of your film. Take a good look at the festivals close to you. The festival may give your film a second look because of local appeal. Try to find a local tie in with your film and the festival. It couldn't hurt.
Credits aren't important to a selection committee. We get it, you wrote, directed, produced, edited, shot, and served coffee to the cast. We're not interested in seeing how creatively you're able to put your name on the screen. In many cases these aren't credits they're blame. Selection committees are interested only in your film. Does it have production value? Does the cast perform well and is there chemistry? Is there creative choices in the shot selection? Does the script follow structure? Is there entertainment value? How's the sound mix, the score, the over all quality of the project? You have to be professional enough to take a step back and look at your film and decide what's it worth? If you made a film for ten grand and it looks like a million you're in but if it looks like ten bucks you're dead. However, there may be a festival out there that will screen your film. New festivals are a bit less selective than established film festivals. Because of entry fees each festival competes for the better films. This leaves smaller festivals to pick up the scraps and who cares as long as your film is an official selection someplace right? There are problems with taking anything such as if your film had a good budget and you're planning on taking the film to a distributor and you entered the Squedunk, Iowa Film Festival and lost it could hurt your value. Any win is a good win but a loss hmmmmmm? It's a choice that you will have to decide.
Don't beg for a waiver. If the festival states no waivers then it means no waivers. However, there are some festivals that have sponsors that allow waivers because they pay the entry fees. Those festivals advertise such a campaign. There are also festivals that do not have entry fees at all. Again, your research is an important part of this process. The festival will not conform to your wants and needs - you must conform to the festival's wants and needs. The Central Florida Film Festival is a competition with cash prizes and offers NO WAIVERS. It would be unfair to those that do pay the entry fees to compete. Festivals have overhead. This includes, advertising, seminars, guest speakers, screening times with theaters, and even withoutabox takes an 18% cut from entry fees in order for them to stay in business. Some festivals have large advertisers and grant money but they also have large salaries and expenses. Smaller festivals struggle for each dollar. Here at CENFLO we are run totally by volunteers. All money is put right back into the festival.
One final word to the wise. Follow instructions. There is a different process for each festival you apply to. Follow their instructions completely if you don't you may be eliminating yourself without knowing it. And festivals don't like to hear "the other festivals do it this way." We all know that all festivals are different and each festival has it's own niche. Do your research and take advantage of attending a film festival even if your film doesn't get in. It may help you understand why. It will also allow you to network with festival officials and other filmmakers. This will help you chances next time.
I hope this helps !