For an independent filmmaker, the completion of a film is only 50 percent of the work. The other 50 percent is finding an audience for it. There are numerous ways in which you can distribute your film. The easiest way is to do it online through services such as YouTube, Vimeo, and similar portals. They provide a cost-effective solution to distributing your film and, if your film becomes popular, improve your visibility in the industry.
If you are looking for a more substantial foothold as a filmmaker, you should choose the film festival route. Naturally, your first thought will be Sundance, Cannes, Venice, or Toronto. Entering your film in them will surely bring you a lot of recognition, but why limit your choices to a select few popular ones? You have the Denver Film Festival, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Tallgrass Film Festival, and several niche events where you can find a better audience.
There are, however, a few points to remember when looking out for film festivals.
- Type: Consider your film’s running time and deduce if it’s a feature film, documentary, or a short. If it’s a short film, look for film festivals which cater to that genre such as. Documentary films have the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), or Hot Docs for getting noticed.
- Genre: Every genre has a film festival dedicated to it somewhere. From horror to comedy, from drama to action, from fantasy to sci-fi, the list is endless. By choosing the right genre, you can connect with the right audience for your film. This will enable your film to do much better than you expect.
- Entry fees: Nothing is free in the world. Most film festivals levy an entry fee which can range between $20 and $200. There should be an allowance in your budget to accommodate these fees.
- Past programming: The existence of a film festival does not mean you apply automatically without researching its history. Ensure you look at the previous years’ programming at the festival. Explore the type of films it hosts, the experiences of filmmakers who have attended, and the qualifications required to enter your film.
Film festivals not only give you an audience but also help you connect with other independent filmmakers who are on the same journey as you. Thus, they are an important path to reaching your dreams and making it big.