How to get your film into a Film Festival

You’ve worked so hard creating a film, raising funds, getting the right team together, planning, filming, editing and re-editing. So what now?

Entering your film in film festivals is a great way to make connections and get exposure, however festival submissions can be costly and time consuming, and they’re not always easy to get accepted into! 

Therefore, we’ve put together some key advice that we give to our Film and TV Production students here at JMC Academy so you can minimise cost and risk while still attempting to attain the correct exposure for your film. 


Know your audience and research the kind of festivals your film would be most successful at. Think about the genre of other films that will be screened and the age and type of people attending. Find out the kinds of themes each film festival focuses on and only apply for the ones your film fits. Have a look also as you don’t always have to spend money - there’s plenty of free festivals around the world you can enter.

Electronic Press Kit

Have an electronic press kit ready to go, complete with logline, synopsis, stills from the film, behind-the-scenes photos, a movie poster, trailer, crew and talent biographies and other related material. You don’t have to create all of these at once but as your film gains traction on the festival circuit, you’ll have a library of promotional material that you can pick and choose from for each festival.

Create some Buzz

Film & TV Production tutor at JMC Academy Vedrana Musić mentions how you should “Create some buzz about your work by contacting local newspapers and sending them a press release about your film. Who knows, you might make the front page! If a local festival asks you to make an appearance, be part of a panel discussion or do a Q&A, say yes!”


This is the way we do things 🎶🎥🎸 #MusicIsLife #FilmAway 📷  @porkrollsfeeds

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Festival Submission services

Submission services are designed to assist filmmakers so they only have to fill out entry form information once. Film festival submission services not only save you time, but they can also help you track your submissions.

The best known submission service is Withoutabox.
Their basic service is free for filmmakers and has listings for more than 5,000 festivals worldwide. One of the biggest advantages to Withoutabox is that with most festival entries, you automatically get an IMDB listing for your film. 

Read the rules carefully

This is important. Don’t just skim read – make sure you abide by all the small print rules as if you violate them, they will usually disqualify your film without refunding your fees. Some festivals may require that your submission be within two years of the completion date or will want you to have releases for all your actors and locations as well as clearances for all your music. Check!

Answer your phone!

Just because it is an unknown number, make sure you answer your phone! If they try and contact you, they may want more information about your film, and if they can’t get hold of you, they might just choose to no longer screen your film. 


Beautiful shot from film student @jonathan.vallone on set #FilmSchool #SetLife #OnSet #FilmProduction #ShortFilm

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Attend as many film festivals as you can. This not only helps you gain an insight into the competition, but can help you build valuable connections in the industry. Bring along your actors, crew and supporters and have fun!

One of our International Film and TV Production students Dewa Bagus will be at the Noosa International Film Festival showcasing the film ‘Trapped’ of which he was Cinematographer for, this November 3rd to 6th Snapchatting his time! Follow us and watch his behind the scenes ‘jmcacademy’. 

Find out more about studying Film and TV Production or Enquire now. 

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