My Robot Friend – Film Festival Circuit

My Robot Friend – Film Festival Circuit

Film Festival Circuit.

My Robot Friend has finished its festival circuit and was an incredible experience. It went full circle getting shown in Spain, Italy, New York, and Bournemouth (its place of origin). I got lovely feedback from audience members and festival programmers and got to see first hand reactions when I attended its screening in Bournemouth.

The original intent for my graduate film was always to have it screened at various film festivals around the world. Since attending my first ever film festival back in 2015, I have dreamed of one day showing a film of my own at a festival and reliving that experience. This grad project gave me the opportunity to do just that, and focus a year of planning and filming to create a short worthy of presenting at festivals.

Part of the graduate project forces you to find a hypothetical client for your work – for students making content for TV it can be as simple as saying their client is BBC or ITV – but for me I had to focus my attention to specific film festivals that would suit my film. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of film festivals in the world ranging from generic screenings to niche genre festivals. As much as I wanted to submit to as many festivals as possible and see who would accept my film, I would have much better results tailoring my film to specific festivals, and finding festivals with connections to the themes already in my film. This would also prove that there would be an already established active client and audience for my film.

From this I decided to make a three-pronged approach to getting my film its festival circuit by dividing festivals into three tiers, with tier one being festivals renowned for their prestige, potential exposure, and track records. Tier one festivals considered are The Berlin Film Festival, London Film Festival, South By South West, and my personal goal of getting accepted into the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.
Tier two are local festivals on or near the south coast such as Bournemouth Film Festival, Southampton Film Festival, Solent Film Festival, Portsmouth Film Fest, and Brighton’s Cine City Festival.
The third tier to consider, are festivals which have connections to the themes I am raising awareness of in my film. Such festivals include Le Temps Presse which focuses on sustainability, the Illinois Sustainability Film Festival, the UK Green Film Festival, The ROS Film Festival which is devoted to Robots On Screen, and The LA Robot Film Festival.

After researching these festivals, and their respective programmers, correlations between film expectations began to show. In technicalities, festivals ask for films to be made from January 1st 2018, some festivals approve of screenings prior to their own whilst other festivals state that only theirs may be the premiere screening, and their attendance policy – and submissions in general – are marked with an eighteen certificate no matter what the content (limiting those who can see it legally). These rules are clearly listed on each festival page or Film Freeway (a submission platform used by many of the festivals).

I now had my clients, all I had to do was deliver my product – a six and a half minute family friendly adventure film which features robots and themes of sustainability.

FilmFreeway is the place short films and features are submitted to festivals. As a first time user, it was incredibly easy to navigate and shocking to see the never-ending list of film festivals on offer. Festivals from every country were open to submissions and it was easy to lose your head thinking you could submit your film to every festival imaginable. But again, I would have better odds submitting to specific festivals my film is tailored to than the generic ones.

The first step to submitting your film to any festival on FilmFreeway is creating an account and writing a short bio. Here you’ll have a chance to give yourself a label like “Director” or “Producer”. The profile you create is the face you will be using to sell your film to festivals.

Festivals may charge a submission fee and changes depending on how close the submission deadline is – Early Bird fees may be as little as £5 while Late Submissions may charge over £50 – but even paying a submission fee DOES NOT guarantee your film will be selected into the film festival.

After submitting your film to your chosen festivals, all you have to do is wait for them to reply if you’ve been successful or not; and there’s no consistency on notification dates as they can vary by months at a time.

But the feeling of being accepted into a festival is fantastic; it’s truly overwhelming that someone in another part of the world liked your film enough that it’s worthy of being shown to an audience with other films. It’s hard getting your film into festivals, I was rejected many times before I got my first selection, but just one selection was enough for me to feel really pleased with what I had produced and proud of all the hard work put into the project – and to come away with four festival selections, that’s just tops!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.