Film Festival Preparation: What to Bring to Your Screening

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Your film was accepted into a festival.  Celebration time!  Now what to do?  Before planning Photoshop festival laurels on your movie website, here are suggestions on what to do before the festival, during and afterward.  By the way, if we missed any crucial tips, please leave additional suggestions below.
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(Watch the video interview here)

How To Get A Movie Into The Sundance Film Festival by
Kyle Patrick Alvarez of C.O.G.

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1).  Bring Your Movie in a Few Formats

Bring several copies of your film, in various screening formats.  Find out what the festival’s preferred screening method is and make certain your copy or copies are ready.  If you can be present for a tech check, wonderful.  Oftentimes this is not an option.  Since you may not have much time or be able to go through a tech check of your movie, have several back-ups of your film via DVD, Blue-ray, hard drive or DCP file transfer.

Filmmaker Insider's Guide To The Film Festival Selection Process - Full Interview With Daniel Sol_filmcourage_hollyshorts_co_founder_director_Theo_Dumont_submission_process_indie

(Watch the video interview here)
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Filmmaker Insider’s Guide To The Film Festival Selection Process – Full Interview With Daniel Sol

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2).  Bring Your Phone (Duh)

Bring a fully charged phone to the event and not just for selfies.  Even though you may have already contacted people beforehand about your festival screening, everyone is busy.  Others say ‘maybe,’ then let you know later.  You may need to text people again the day of/night of to attend and remind them that your film is screening (if people you know are nearby).   #MeetMeForTheAfterParty

(Watch the video interview here)

Haters At Film Festivals by Paul Osborne

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3). Shameless Self-Promotion!

Bring any fliers, movie posters and other promotional materials.  Make sure you have items to post the promotional material like tape or push pins.  Check with a festival contact to determine if you are allowed to bring promotional items or what rules apply.  You don’t want to spend precious money on glossy cards or handouts only to be told you can’t post them.  If you are allowed a movie poster, find out the dimensions they will allow, if at all.   Also, if you want the leftover posters, cards, etc. at the end of the night, tell someone ahead of time so they don’t throw them away.

4) I’m On The List.  Trust Me.

If it applies to your screening and the venue, bring a legibly written or typed guest list of names, which tickets are comps, plus one’s and people in attendance who will pay for a ticket.

 

(Watch the video interview here)

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Benefits That Big Film Festivals Provide Filmmakers by
Diane Bell & Chris Byrne

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5).  I’m Not Vain.  I Just Like to Look Good

Plan an outfit you feel good in, presents you in an image you want to project (especially for actors), is versatile in case the temperature changes in either direction, and is camera friendly (horizontal stripes?).  When you’re in front of the crowd you will feel flush with heat.  When sitting watching a film, theaters can get cold.  Here is more info via VideoMaker.com on possible wardrobe choices.

 

 

(Watch the video interview here)

DIY Tips For Doing Your Own Publicity At A Film Festival
by Kyle Patrick Alvarez of C.O.G.


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6).  That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It

Think about a natural sounding statement regarding your film, what you do and who you are.  Nothing over rehearsed or too hardcore sales pitch like.  Your ‘About Me Statement’ should flow easily and concisely sum up your film and personal mission statement.  Less is more!

(Watch the video interview here)

How To Network At A Film Festival by Bill Oberst, Jr.
of TAKE THIS LOLLIPOP

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7). Enough About Me.  What Do You Think About Me?

A reciprocal inquisitiveness about others whom you may meet at the festival who may take a similar interest in you, your project or potential collaboration.  When in doubt, ask all about the other person first and keep it professional (less personal) regarding their film or festival.

(Watch the video interview here)

How We Scheduled 200 Screenings For Our Movie’ by
Emma Davie and Louise Oswald

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8).  We Should Totally Do Lunch! What’s Your Name Again?

A plan of action for once you return home and follow-up on contacts made to distributors, movie reviewers, people expressing interest in seeing your film, etc.

(Watch the video interview here)

  How To Target Film Festivals For A Feature Film by Benjamin Walter of PINK ZONE

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9).  We’re Not Online Yet…But…

Have your on-line house in order even if it’s just a Facebook page that has contact info, a brief synopsis of your film, set photos, your actors’ names, etc.  You never know who might seek to find out more about a current film or future projects.  Having a website and an up-to-date online presence via most social media platforms is ideal.  At least have something that comes up in a Web search.  In some instances movies won’t have a trailer online until after they receive distribution.  However, you can build an online profile and mention that the trailer is pending.

(Watch the video interview here)

Raising Money For The 1st Feature Film & How Film Festivals Can Help With The Second One

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10). Would You Mind Taking a Photo of Us, Please?

If you’re attending the festival with others, try to get a photo or two of the Q&A or another identifying image that your film was accepted or won an award.  Then add it to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or website in the moment or upon return.  Sometimes shameless self-promotion is absolutely necessary.  Being accepted into a festival is one of those times.

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(Watch the video interview here)

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The Filmmaker Film Festival Checklist by Dan Mirvish

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11).  I’d Like To Thank….

Prepare what you’ll say at your live Q&A afterward.  If you’ve been notified that there will be an audience question and answer session afterward, determine what sums things up quickly.  Almost certainly an inquisitive audience member will ask 1).  What’s you budget?  2). What did you shoot on?  3). What inspired the script?  4). How many shooting days? And a zinger or two like “Why did you do this in the movie? I was confused.”  Determine what you’re comfortable answering (like who funded the movie and how).  If time allows and the crowd seems receptive, possibly have one true interesting story that relates to the film (“we were shooting in a haunted house and an actor’s shoes kept disappearing”).  Be interesting, be humble and be brief.
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(Watch the video here)

Filmmaker Katherine Brooks tells us she submitted her film
Face 2 Face to 14 Film Festivals

(Watch the video interview here)

Film Festival Submission Tips For Filmmakers by Paul Osborne


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12).  Sorry, I’m Not Staring At You.  I Just “Spaced Out” for a Second

Bring an innocent sense of observation.  Lightly observe, listen and get a feel for how other filmmakers interact and present themselves within the festival atmosphere.  Chances are even if this is your first festival, it may not be your last.  You may see things you should do or refrain from doing that can help next time regarding networking and contacting people to assist your film.

 

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Here is what Blast Beat’s Producer Ana Souza had to say about film festivals from a prior Film Courage Q & A

ANA SOUZA – PRODUCER – Blast Beat Movie

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Film Courage:   What advice can you give to filmmakers on preparing for their festival screening once being accepted?
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Ana Souza of Blast Beat:   Keeping contact with the festival is crucial, as they often require a lot of information and you need to be cognizant of that. Many festivals organize incredible events for filmmakers and networking opportunities that I think are crucial to attend to really expand your reach and get to know fellow filmmakers and festival staff; on that note getting to know the programmers is also essential and a very helpful resource once you have future projects that you might be submitting to the very same festival. Also, though it’s not usually a concern for shorts, I think for features it helps a lot to save part of your budget to hire a decent publicist during the festival. With so many films screening next to each other you don’t want to get lost in the middle of it all and a publicist can help you ensure the word gets out and that you get the right audiences and industry (particularly distribution) to your screening. On this note, sales agents can also be very useful, though it really depends on what your film’s needs are and how much you are able to spare. The bottom line is that festivals are just the beginning, and filmmakers need to be thinking ahead to where their film is going afterwards. (Read more here)

 

 

A_Filmmaker_Doesn’t_Need_Connections_To_Get_Into_Sundance_Diane_Bell_Chris_Byrne_filmcourage_Obselidia_rebel_heart_film

(Watch the video interview here)

Minimum Cost A Filmmaker Will Spend On A Film Festival Publicist by Diane Bell & Chris Byrne_filmcourage_obselidia_rebelheartfilm_movies

(Watch the video interview here)

(Watch the video interview here)

Filmmaking Debate: Submitting A Rough Cut To A Film Festival? by Brandon M. Freer of Man in a Box by Kevin Eugene Davis

(Watch the video interview here)
Film Festival Submission Secrets by Paul Osborne of FAVOR

 

 

(Watch the video interview here)

I Struggled To Get A Movie Made After My Sundance Debut by Brian Jun

of IN THE BUCK

 

 

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Slamdance Makes Sundance A Better Festival by Dan Mirvish


(Watch the video interview here)

Should Filmmakers Focus On Film Festivals Or Film Markets? by
Amar Sidhu of THE BLACK RUSSIAN

 

 (Watch the video interview here)

Why I Skipped Film Festivals To Release My Short AMATEUR Online

by Ryan Koo of MANCHILD

 

You Can Plan For Sundance But Don't Expect It by Kyle Patrick Alvarez Easier with Practice COG Festivals Film Courage

(Watch the video interview here)

(Watch the video interview here)


If Your Movie Gets Into A Top Tier Film Festival, A Publicist Is A Priority by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
of C.O.G.