Filmmakers! Don’t Ask For FREE Festival Submissions by Daniel Sol [HollyShorts Co-Founder]

Film Courage: I would imagine this comes up a lot. If I write Hollyshorts a letter “I would love it if you can waive the [film festival submission] fee and I will do this…this and this…to reciprocate for that money.” Are you able to then take my submission and waive that fee?

Daniel Sol, Co-Founder of the Hollyshorts Film Festival: My answer to that would be No. We are not a fan of fee-waiver requests. Many festivals probably agree with me, maybe some don’t offer a lot of waivers.

The only instance is if I go to a festival and I see your film and say I’ve got to have it. If I’m essentially at your door begging you for your film then obviously in fairness I’m telling you to submit. Worse case, we’ll offer you a discount or waive the fee. But I don’t really do that anymore, we don’t ask for films really at all.

It’s not about the financial aspect, it’s about the fairness of the process. If you feel your film is worthy of that, well many others are too. So why are we waiving one fee just because you asked for it and everyone else is paying full price? What’s the difference? Why should I offer you this nice gift? For what? Just to ask for it is not a good enough reason.

Even if there are extenuating situations or we hear all sorts of stuff whether it’s financial stuff obviously for student filmmakers. Obviously money is tight, you’re in college, you’re a student, I get that part.

You have to pick which festival you are going to submit to and you have to make a plan. You’ve got to just make something happen. You can’t just say I want a fee waiver because I’m having some struggles. We all have struggles, we all have things. I was in college and broke. I had to pay for certain things that I wanted. You have to make it happen. You don’t just ask for it because you feel you deserve it…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


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