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“ Getting Your Film into the Film Festivals ”
Karen Copeland interview with Cyndi Greening 2005

Show Details (20 March 2005)

Karen Copeland & Cyndi Greening discuss strategies for improving the chances of getting your film programmed into a festival.

Why try to get your film into a festival? Festivals bring distributors who see how an audience reacts to your film. They can gauge marketability and artistic merit.

What will improve your chances?

  1. Have an Original Story with Original Characters engaged in a compelling conflict with a satisfying resolution.
    Don't make SNATCH-Lite or PULP FICTION-Lite or LOST IN TRANSLATION-Lite. Make your own, original film. Read Robert McKee or get JOHN TRUBY's Story Structure course. I have found Truby to be the most effective screenwriting program!! After Truby, everything I wrote was either optioned, purchased or permanently borrowed (stolen).

  2. Without A Box Shows 1,553 Festival Options!
    Everyone wants to get into the "A" festivals. The "B", "C" and "D"s can be as good for a filmmaker. Steve Friedlander (Exec. VP at Warner Brothers) told the story at Sundance 2005 of KISSING JESSICA STEIN being purchased at festival attended by about 300 people.

  3. Make sure your film is a Good Fit!
    Don't waste your time and money applying for festivals that are inappropriate. For example, Full Frame is a documentary film festival. Even if your dramatic narrative film is the BEST one in the universe, it probably won't make it into Full Frame. Three books to help you learn about the festivals:
    • Chris Gore - The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide
    • Adam Langer - The Film Festival Guide
    • Shael Stolberg - International Film Festival Guide

  4. High Quality Dupes & Follow All the Rules!
    Read all of the requirements and follow them exactly. Watch deadline! "Mail by" not the same as "Received by." Does the Press Kit have to be included? Any other ancillary materials needed? Send the film in the accepted FORMAT. Some festivals only take VHS, some only DVD. Send what is required.

  5. Learn Programmers' Tastes!
    Study websites, old catalogs, old interviews, or whatever you can find to help you determine they type of film that is most likely to be successful as the festival. Create a personal connection, if possible, with "best" programmer for film. Best programmer is most receptive audience for your film.

  6. The Tracking Sheet!
    Many festival programmers have a tracking sheet of potential films. That tracking list is culled from a variety of sources including trade publications -- Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Submit your film for inclusion in the Production Charts (pre-production, production and post) so key industry personnel and festival programmers can track your film. A valuable tip learned at Dov Siemens Film Workshop.

  7. Prepare Your Press Kit / Electronic Press Kit!
    Electronic and traditional press kit containing logline, short and long synopsis, biographies of key talent and production personnel, production stills and headshots are vital for generating coverage whenever someone is interested in your film. Sony Pictures Classics has links to Press Kits and Slideshows for upcoming releases that you can view online.

  8. Assemble Promotional Team!
    If you're chosen for a festival, assemble your promotional team (if you haven't already). You will want to hire a public relations firm known for work with independent filmmakers, perhaps a producer's rep, an entertainment attorney to negotiate your contract, and an event manager to plan your Festival Party.


©2007 Greening Productions / Angel&Wings Productions • All Rights Reserved