Film Festivals: Basic Strategy To Impress the Judges

Film festivals are a great way to gain exposure for your film. Even if you do not win, impressing the judges can be worth the cost and effort. There are recommendations and tips that can be used to help put your film ahead of the rest and gain some much needed word of mouth or even an award. There are many factors to take into account when trying to impress the judges. Some things are not possible to avoid but many can be side stepped and will give your film a better chance of being viewed at the festival.

  1. Entry Requirements: The easiest way to get disqualified is to not meet all of the entry requirements. Each festival will provide eligibility requirements. Generally these will detail when the film should have been produced, length of film, subject of film, where or if the film can have been screened before and more. Make sure your film meets all requirements.
  2. Entry Form: Make sure the entry form is filled out correctly and clearly. Also ensure that when sending it in it goes to the correct address. Many films are not chosen for a film festival because the administrators cannot read the entry form or the form was not filled out correctly.
  3. Know the Judges: Be aware of who the judges are. Many judges tend to be individuals in the film industry such as actors and directors. Depending on the festival a judge can create an award for a film they particularly like. By knowing what the judges like, it may be possible to get a leg up on the competition. Include events in the film that each judge tends to prefer and they will be inclined to like the film. Many times this is not possible as some festivals will not post the judges until right before the competition. You will have submitted your film previous to the appointment of judges.
  4. Originality: All judges will be impressed with something that is truly original. Many new filmmakers fall into a trap as they create homage's to their favorite movies. However, these movies have already been made so why would a viewer get excited about your film when a fantastic movie has already been made like it. Do not worry about copying a style but go out and be original with your ideas.
  5. The Story: Special effects can be eye popping on the screen but if your story is lacking then no amount of special effects will save it. Look back at the great films of the past. They all have fantastic stories that can carry the film even without any special effects.
  6. Creative Filmmaking: Is it possible to tell the story in a creative way that has not been done before. Even if the audience does not like the film they will talk about it afterwards. There are films that have begun entire new genres. Is it necessary to shoot the story from start to finish. Can you shoot it in a different order while still providing all the necessary information. Look at the points of view and the narrators. There are many things that can be changed to make a film stand out from the rest.