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How Film Festivals Decide Which Movies to Accept



Submitting to film festivals is a real torture. If you’re an indie producer looking to display your storytelling ideas to indie fans alike, you should probably think of entering your productions in a festival. Good movies are a crowd puller but great indie flicks make memories. Cameras are perhaps the best way to make lasting impressions in the minds of many people.

Indie (the use of the ‘indie’ genre is merely an example) films, short stories, and documentaries have been known for pushing the envelope when it comes to amazing angle shots and overall use of lighting and effects. Herein you will get to know more about the film fest do’s and don’ts as far as submissions go and what might be expected from you as a filmmaker.


Source: (Free Image)

Movies fests tend to have a theme probably based on tradition, and inadequate research on this might end up in your production being rubbished if it doesn’t meet the criteria. So, before submitting your content for short listing in a film festival, make sure you have your facts straight. Every producer has their way of getting their ideas across, but unfortunately, the liberality of the screening process might not be ready for tastes that might seem unpalatable to the festival organizers.

For instance, the EQUUS Film Festivals is purely for entries paying homage to steeds, such as those that compete in various racing events including UK’s Cheltenham Festivals where punters win huge stakes betting on horse races (to read more on horse race betting, go to; so, if you submit anything that doesn’t involve horses to the EQUUS panel, trust us, it won’t be accepted.

Your Movie Probably Isn’t That Great

Upon submission of your edited material, it would be of the essence that you keep an open mind about it because bottom-line: your feature might just be rejected. One of the reasons for such turn down is that your movie failed to impress the panel. There can be many reasons for this and maybe, just maybe one of the reasons is that your movie isn’t that good (?).

It can make a definitive dent on your ego seeing that you invested your time and money into this thing just to have it thrown out of the festival. Hey, it happens to the best of them, and if it’s any consolation, your work might just be ‘ahead of its time’ so you shouldn’t give up just yet.
Source:ôte-d---azur-lake-promenade-1436097/ (Free Image)

If You’re a Diva

Another reason why films might not get that slot in a film fest is not because the movie is not great but simply because the producers have a bad attitude. In this industry, like in music and the arts in general, where one’s work is a subject of scrutiny by the public, it is necessary to keep a humble attitude and openness to being corrected. This, as opposed to believing you’re always right, might just get a sympathetic judge to refer your work to another festival that is looking for what you have to offer.

Your Film Has to Take a Backseat

This is to be expected. Festival favorites looking to milk it for all it’s worth might just have their films slotted in the headlining spots leaving newbie entries scrambling for the few remaining spots. By this time, festival goers might already be too tired or engaged to pay any attention to your film, which can actually be very frustrating.

The only people that sit through entire screenings back to back are the critics and, knowing them, they tend to be a bit fussy about how they would like their movies to be so no luck here either. Try another festival.

Never Saw The Light of Day


What, with all the submissions flooding in and barely enough time till the deadline and screening dates, some entries might just be swept under the rug and no one will notice them. This is debatable reason, owing to its controversial nature, but still feasible in every respect as well.

Filmmakers should not rule it out as a possibility that their film got rejected. Somebody just might have shot it down because the title wasn’t that catchy or dismissed it entirely due to late submission or because of the well loved universal reason that they were ‘too wired’ to watch it.

In Fights With a Tour Crew

Having your crew, cast, and whatnot with their limbs safely tucked in the vehicle at all times should probably be ensured before making an entry into a festival. This is because many movies, despite being hailed as possible successes fail to be shown because well…the lead actor… wasn’t aware that any of that was going down.

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