Film School Friday – Should I Enter a Film Festival

Should I Enter a Film Festival Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about if you should enter your work into a film festival or not.

Should I Enter a Film Festival Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about film festivals and if you should or should not submit your work.

Should I Enter a Film Festival Links

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Should I Enter a Film Festival Transcript

Corey Allen  0:06  

Welcome to film school Friday, I’m Corey bill band together, we host the infocus podcast film school Friday is our special weekly episode, where I get to quiz bill to see how much knowledge he’s retained from film school. And Bill this week, maybe it’s a little less of a film school topic and more of just like, you know, either during film school or post film, school or even like today. You know, I recently shot a short film. Should I enter my short film into a film festival?

Bill Cornelius  0:38  

A few years ago, I would have given you a really easy yes or no answer to that. But now things have changed a little bit my opinion on film festivals has evolved over time in my career, in film school, it was the film festival was kind of the the place where you could get your work out there and be in be seen by people and to a greater extent distributors, potentially. And that and that was always the next step in the career, right? Everybody wants a distribution. That’s the big, that’s the golden ticket.

That’s, that’s my films been picked up. It’s like getting a record deal as a musician. And so film festivals we were taught in film school were like the best way, if not the only way sometimes to get your work noticed and potentially get that distribution ticket. And so I spent many, many years making little shorts and submitting them to festivals with varying degrees of success. No distributor ever took notice of anything. And it all depends on the festival you submit to as well, right? Like, there are billions of them out there. Billions, billions. And it’s it seems that way sometimes, and they’re everything from like, something the Arkansas backwoods film festival that three people show up to, to like, that’s not a real one.

Corey Allen  2:09  

Yeah, it might be if the organizer of the Arkansas backwoods Film Festival is listening, no offense,

Bill Cornelius  2:16  

but kind of and and so there’s those but then there’s like the big ones like Toronto, and Sundance and SXSW. And even Nashville is one of the bigger ones, it really depends on which one you submit to if you submit to one of the smaller ones, the only people there that are going to see your film are going to be the other filmmakers whose film also got into that festival. And I have been to many of those. Yeah, they’re great for networking. If that’s what you’re after it, and then that’s an important thing, then more power to you. If you’re looking to get distribution, the smaller ones. Like that’s not where you’re going to find it. Right.

But I would say as time has gone on, and I’ve made more things and I’ve understood gotten to understand the business a lot more. film festivals are not the end all be all when it comes to getting distribution. They’re definitely not. And the best example of that, for me was with my documentary here, me now a couple years ago, was submitted to a number of festivals, mostly the bigger ones, Nashville, Toronto, Sundance, you name it was not accepted by any of those festivals.

And this is common, you know, rejection is very common in Film Festival, right? spheres, because it’s, you never know what they’re looking for. They all have an agenda of some sort. They’re all looking for certain types of programming. And a lot of times it’s politics. It’s about the people you know, that work the festival. It really is. Yeah, and so I won’t get into the Nashville politics. But you know, I’ve been around for a while on there was definitely some politics there.

But hear me now got four distribution offers while being rejected from these film festivals from someone who was a film student and was told the distribution was the thing you wanted, it was the golden ticket. It was the the thing you could only get two. If you if you submitted to a film festival and were seen by a distributor, the auction block, it’s the only way that just blew all of that away. You know, the fact that we got those distribution offers despite these festival rejections, so suddenly my mind changed. I was like, You know what, it’s not all about the festival. Sometimes it’s it’s purely about the connections and we had some connections.

We took part in something that I think a lot of Nashville, Tennessee filmmakers should which is film calm that’s held once a year. It’s a big kind of exhibition for films and a lot of distributors from around the country just coming shot, basically not a film festival. It’s just like little booth. For films, we did that for hear me now. You know, there’s there’s a lot of other ways other than festivals to get distribution. But if you want to be seen if you want to network and you know, if you get into Sundance, that’s amazing, you know, because because the big ones are there looking for you it is the auction block. But by and large, I think it’s personal preference. I don’t think it’s the end all be all for distribution anymore. So it just depends.

Corey Allen  5:30  

Got it. So smaller festivals, local festivals, still definitely like to your point, if you want to network if you want to meet other filmmakers, if you want to start to develop kind of that localized scene for yourself, then absolutely. That’s a great kind of entry point in. Yeah, but don’t be heartbroken if you don’t get accepted to any of them. Because distribution is absolutely still possible these days. Right?

Bill Cornelius  5:56  

It absolutely is. And it I will preface this too. It is in no ways indicative of the quality that you’ve created. Because Because a lot of me early on. getting rejected by a lot of festivals makes you feel bad about your work is like is it not good enough? is am I not reaching the heights I need to yet as a filmmaker? No, that is not it’s it’s all about the preference of the people that are running the festival. It’s all what they have in mind. Distribution is still possible. Yeah. For those rejected films.

Corey Allen  6:34  

Great. Well, let’s, let’s go shoot a short and enter it into a whole bunch of festivals and see what happens. Let’s see what some laurels Yes, I’m just I’m a laurel chaser. I just want Yeah, just give me the Laurel. It’s the laurels giving the Laurel Yeah, great. Awesome. Well, as always, Bill, I appreciate your insight. You’re just like a wealth of film knowledge. I try. live and breathe it. Nice. Nice. Awesome. All right. Well, we appreciate again, everything you’re sharing with the audience.

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