Saturday, February 5, 2011

Submitting to Festivals, Part 2

The holiday season, plus a large and stressful project at work, have kept me busy during the past couple months. As a result, there were several festivals that I originally wanted to submit to, but could not. There were fests whose deadlines I missed entirely, and others whose late-submission entry fees were too high for me.

I'm now getting caught up, though, and in late January I submitted Saberfrog to several more film festivals.

As I mentioned previously, I'm mainly going after festivals whose theme might be a close fit for the film. For this reason I declined to enter either Sundance or Slamdance this time around, figuring that the competition would be too high to make submitting worthwhile. (Plus, an early cut of Saberfrog already got rejected by Sundance a year earlier.)

I badly wanted to submit to SXSW – John Karyus felt that Saberfrog would be the perfect fit for that festival – but the deadline had already passed by the time I got my act together. I also missed the deadlines for Big Muddy, the Talking Pictures Festival , the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and the Boston Underground Film Festival (anything with “independent” or “underground” in the title sounds like a good fit).

There were other festivals that Saberfrog simply didn't quality for. Like many festivals, the deadCENTER Film Festival and the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival didn't accept work that had previously been shown elsewhere. Also, I was desperate to enter The Mississauga Independent Film Festival, since Mississauga plays a role in the film's plot. But the festival only accepts Canadian films – d'oh! Other festivals that sounded good only accepted short films, or had other restrictions on what type of film they wanted.

So much for the films I didn't submit to. As for the films I have submitted to ...

Fantastic Fest (a sci-fi/fantasy film festival in Texas), the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, the LA-based Dark Comedy Film Festival and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival all sounded like good fits, based on their themes. The Tumbleweed Film Festival sounded fun based on its title alone (though it takes place in the state of Washington, and not the Southwest as you might think).

I've submitted to the Rooftop Films Summer Series, which I discovered while attending an IFP event in NYC last year. I also submitted to another NYC-based film series, NewFilmmakers New York.

I want to get the film screened in Canada at some point, so I've submitted to the Nickel Independent Film Festival in St. John's. (I plan to submit to festivals in other, closer cities like Toronto and Ottawa later in the year.)

The Illinois-based Route 66 Film Festival “accepts any length and genre which should feature some kind of journey--physical, emotional, or intellectual.” Saberfrog covers all those, and is thus the festival I'm most hopeful of getting into.

Add to this list the festivals I already submitted to a couple months ago (360|365 here in Rochester, the Knickerbocker Film Festival in Albany, and Sci-Fi London), and I have now entered Saberfrog in more festivals than I ever submitted my last movie to, so I think I can relax for a few weeks.

I will continue to submit to festivals throughout 2011 – at least until the fall, which will be the one-year anniversary of completing the film. But for me, there will be no more chasing late deadlines. From now on, I submit by the regular deadline (or the earlybird deadline, if possible) or I don't submit at all.

And if there's any festival I really want to submit to, but fail to … well, there's always the next movie, right?

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