It’s been years in the making, and now you are ready to debut your film to the public. But wait, where
do you begin? Try entering your movie into a film festival. There are thousands of film festivals in the
world, and different ones offer different perks.
Film Festival Benefits for Filmmakers
Search on Google a list of film festivals and sift through the list to see which festivals catch your interest.
Check the criteria to make sure your film matches up and meets a festival’s standards. Some festivals
highlight short films and others look for feature-lengths movies. Determine the target age group of the
film festival you are interested and filter through the application fees. Keep track of the ones that meet
If a film festival you are interested in has a website, go to it and see what they offer independent
producers. Some film festivals offer film reviews and other publicity options to their independent
filmmakers. Language is no barrier if your film has subtitles. Enter your movie into film festivals around
the world to increase your name recognition.
Contests for Scripts and Movies
Film festivals are a great way to publicize your film, but they are not your only option. You can also enter
contests. Some contests even allow you to submit a script before it’s made into a film.
Then again, as you review film festival criteria in the previous step, you might notice that some film
festivals sponsor their own script and video production contests. Film festivals, such as the Coalition for
Quality Children’s Media-KIDS FIRST! film festival, hold contests where independent producers and
writers have the opportunity to attend an awards ceremony and win prizes ranging from cash to
scholarships to distribution deals. This also gives your movie or script more publicity in magazine
coverage, and you can add the award to your product packaging for more recognition.
Meet Actors and Other Talent
As you attend film festivals and awards ceremonies for contests, seize the opportunity to network with
professionals in the industry. These and some online casinos are prime occasions to gab with others
interested in the film making business. You might even find actors or musicians or artists who want to
collaborate with you in your next venture.
Some solid research and a decent product will get you far in the movie industry. Let your work speak for
itself and reach audiences around the world using film festivals and contests as stepping stones for low-
The Main International Film Festivals
Exact numbers differ significantly, but it is estimated that there are currently between 1,000 and 2,500
film festivals held every year. At the conservative end of the scale, this averages over 80 per month.
Even film festival devotees would have trouble attending a fraction of these. To make planning easier,
below is a list of the principal international film festivals taking place each month.
Sundance is held every year for ten days in Park City, Utah. Established in 1985, it is regarded as the
premier American showcase for national and international movies.
The annual Berlin International Film Festival is also known as the Berlinale. Over a two-week period up
to 400 movies are screened, ranging from mainstream and independent films to German productions
The South by South West (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival is as much a film festival as it is a
marketplace for working filmmakers and industry pros. Held in Austin, Texas it showcases around 150-200 of the best independent films produced in the previous year.
Started in 2001 and held annually for 12 days in April and May, Tribeca is a relative baby compared to
many other major film festivals. Founded by Robert de Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff shortly
after 9/11, its aim was to revitalize the lower Manhattan district where the terrorist attacks had taken
place. Despite its youth, however, visitors to this up-and-coming festival have already topped two
Held each May in southern France, Cannes is arguably the world’s most prestigious film festival, and the
stars’ arrival on the red carpet is almost as highly anticipated as the movies themselves.
Moscow International Film Festival dates back to 1959. It was originally held every second year,
alternating with the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, but has been annual since 1999.
The festival’s top prize is the Golden George, a statuette of Saint George slaying the dragon, the same
image that appears on Moscow’s Coat of Arms.
The Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Prague, the Czech Republic has been through some bumpy times since
its inception in 1946, the result of political upheaval, financial troubles and falling visitor numbers.
However, a management reorganization, inspired programming and some high-profile guests, including
Salma Hayek, Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, have breathed new life into the festival over the past
decade or so, making it an important cinematic event in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Locarno Film Festival is held in the Swiss town of the same name. Situated between the French,
German and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland, the festival tries to reflect its unique position in its open-minded, often highly original choice of films. One of the highlights is the open-air screenings on
the vast Piazza Grande which can hold 8,000 people.
Held in late August or early September, the Venice International Film Festival is the world’s oldest. The
award given to the best actor and actress is the Volpi Cup, named after Count Giuseppe Volpi di
Misurata who founded the festival in 1932.
What started out in 1976 as a ‘festival of festivals’, screenings of a selection of movies from other
festivals, has grown into the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the world’s largest
cinematic events and arguably North America’s answer to Cannes.
The United Kingdom’s largest independent film festival, Raindance runs in Central London for 12 days in
late September or early October. An offshoot of the Raindance filmmaking school, it aims to support
new indie filmmakers as well as providing a platform for established directors. Films that premiered at
the festival and went on to find success include Memento and Oldboy.
The Argentine Mar del Plata was established in 1954. It is now one of the largest and most prestigious
film festivals in South America, but difficult economic and political periods in the country over the last
half century meant the festival could not take place every year. It is currently approaching its 24th
The International Film Festival of Kerala is held each year in Kerala, India. Another relatively young film
festival, started in 1996, it is nonetheless regarded as one of the leading events of its kind in India.
Movies submitted to the competition are restricted to those produced in Asia, Africa and Latin America.