012 All about festivals

Just got back from Baltimore Next Media Web Fest where my web series Girl Aspiring won Best Documentary Web Series and I got a cool glowing trophy. I’m feeling inspired, and motivated, and generally pumped about filmmaking. So today we’re going to talk about film festivals.

First- attend a film festival and see what’s out there

  • Go to smaller one where you can actually talk to the creators

So now you have some idea of what goes on at a festival. Now how do you submit yours…

  • Filmfreeway.com
  • LOTS of festivals, and you don’t want to waste money submitting to ones that just don’t match your project
  • Unfortunately search feature on film freeway isn’t awesome, so this will initially take some time
  • Organize favorites w/ heart icon
  • Read description; look at categories; double check rules (time limits)
  • Email organizers if you still have questions
  • Other things to check: is it online or is there an actual event? Is it Oscar qualifying?
    •  Can you attend? I prefer events I can attend, because that’s the real benefit

Benefits of attending film fests

  • Meet other creators (can lead to future opportunities)
  • Build community & credibility 
  • Build following
  • LEARN!
  • Be inspired
  • Forward momentum (get out of the vacuum)


  • Bring swag, or at least some marketing materials- definitely have a business card
  • Go to lots of screenings!
  • Go to parties, mixers, GET TO KNOW PEOPLE
  • Connect & follow up

Warning: You will be rejected by many festivals. Lots of films/ limited spots.

  • You can always reapply as long as you’re not a douchebag
  • Organizing festivals is a lot of work…be nice to organizers


All you need to do is learn camera basics, lighting basics, and sound basics.