Film festivals are great opportunities to view films that you wouldn't necessarily catch at your local multiplex. With the help of the Internet, you can investigate the many types of film festivals. Once you've located your niche, check schedules, purchase tickets, or even watch films online. You'll also learn how to submit your own work to festivals and keep up with film festival news. The only thing you'll have to find on your own is a tight black turtleneck.
Unless you know exactly what film you want to see at a particular festival, it's worth checking out these sites, which compile information about multiple festivals and keep you updated on industry news. Whether you want to find out which festivals are top-rated or search for a festival in your town, the sites below provide the overviews, databases, and directories you'll need.
- Some film festivals are traveling festivals; you can check online to see what cities the festival is going to.
- If you find a festival that interests you but isn't happening for a while, sign up for its e-mail newsletter so you can stay connected as the event approaches.
- Some search engines allow you to search for upcoming festivals by month, and others allow you to search by city or country. Others combine both. If you don't find what you're looking for right away, consider employing multiple directories.
- Filmmakers who don't know where to submit their material can also take advantage of the sites below to search for suitable competitions.
For general information ...
Right Angle Studios
has links to online festival guides, related articles, and links to top festivals in a number of categories.
FilmFestivals Entertainment Group
is packed with information regarding film festivals. If you're interested in submitting a film to a festival, click on "Deadlines for entry this month." There's also a frequently updated "Headline News" at the bottom.
The Hollywood Reporter
has news and information about major film festivals all over the world. You can subscribe
to the site (subscription rates differ for online-only or print and online access), and there's a calendar
with upcoming film and art events.
Animation World Network
is a great site which contains information about all things related to animation films and festivals, and an Animation Industry Database (AIDB) you can use to find animators, visual effects, and other animation companies.
For schedules in the United States and abroad ...
Inside Film Online
is a fantastic resource for film festival junkies. The directory of festivals is frequently updated, and you can search for festivals by month or by location.
has an easily searchable database of domestic and international film festivals. You can enter in as many or as few search terms as you desire, including name of festival, month, state, city, or entry deadline. Results typically include festival deadlines, dates, a short synopsis, and contact information.
magazine has a directory of film festivals. Simply click on one of the festival names, and you'll be able to read about submission deadlines, the date of the festival, and any other pertinent information.
has a fairly comprehensive listing of documentary film festivals, both domestic and abroad. You can also access a larger database of general film festivals. The left-hand side of the site has a large number of links ranging from filmmaker resources to official film sites, to news archives.
Even a cursory glance of the search results of the term "film festival" on the Internet reveals that there are literally dozens of different kinds of festivals, and that they take place in practically every major city in the world. There are animated film festivals and children's film festivals, horror film festivals, and short-film festivals. Some festivals are competitive, meaning that the films are judged by a panel and prizes are awarded, while other festivals are merely chances to celebrate different types of film. As you begin to search online for film festival information, you'll slowly be able to narrow your search to the types of festivals which interest you most. For example, do you want to attend festivals in the United States or abroad? Do you want to attend festivals with films directed by professionals or by amateurs? It's up to you, and the Internet can help you find just the information you need.
- If you plan on traveling to a festival, consider purchasing your tickets online or in advance to ensure that you don't arrive only to find that the film you want to see is sold out.
- If you're booking travel to a festival and would like assistance with airfare and hotels, visit the findingDulcinea Travel Guide. Or, take advantage of sites that offer their own travel guidelines-many provide information about nearby hotels and transportation options.
- Festival sites usually provide submission guidelines and information as well as schedules and general information, so filmmakers, as well as movie-goers and fans, can make use of the specific listings below.
- Make sure the information you're reading is current. For example, right after a film festival, the dates for the following year might not be up yet. In other cases, information from past years is left up online, so read closely.
For U.S. film festivals ...
Sundance Film Festival
is one of the United States' most famous (and notorious) film festivals held in Park City, Utah, every January. You can watch short films on the site, keep updated on the festival's events and venues, and purchase tickets online as well.
The Seattle International Film Festival Group
holds the Northwest's most famous film festival over the course of one week each year. You can buy festival-related products online, learn about film programs, and become a member of the SIFF Group, a nonprofit seeking to enrich the Northwest with creative arts.
South by Southwest
is a huge festival held in Austin, Texas, every year. Its film festival is quickly gaining a very good reputation for the quality of films submitted and shown. You can submit your own film to the site, keep track of all the parties, and read the press's coverage of festival events.
The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. Film, music, and art events take place in both New York and Los Angeles. There's a photo and video gallery on the site. You can also submit your own film, and even find out what hotels to stay in if you want to attend the festival.
For international film festivals ...
The Cannes Film Festival
is arguably the world's most famous film festival, held in Paris each year. View photos from the festival's 60+ years of history, read press releases and news articles and look up the schedule of events
. Download the schedule of film screenings here
The Telluride Film Festival in Toronto
has been around for over 35 years, and some say it is the world's most exclusive film festival. College and grad students will be interested in the Student Symposium
, a four-day intensive session of viewing and discussing films. The site also has instructions for those wishing to volunteer
for the festival.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival
is the longest continually running film festival in the world. You can register on the site to receive e-mail updates, search for films by keyword and section (such as animation or short films), or use the "Suggest-o-tron" if you're not sure what you're looking for and would like suggestions and navigation help.
For short-film festivals ...
The LA Shorts Fest
is the largest short-film festival in the world. You can purchase tickets, see videos from a variety of film categories, and learn about film festival jurors.
The Sundance Film Festival
in Utah has a short-film program during the week of the festival, and selected films are available to stream online after they premier in Utah. You can watch selected films on iTunes
or on the site
The Manhattan Short Film Festival
actually takes place across Europe, North, South, and Central America, and more venues are added every year. It's a very competitive and popular film festival. An interactive map is on the main page to help you search for a venue near you. A blog and press center keep you updated about screenings and events and allow you to ask questions of filmmakers.
Encounters Short Film Festival
draws film submissions from around the world. Learn about available volunteer positions, view Encounters films online and keep updated about submission dates and guidelines.
The Miami Short Film Festival
has been around since 2001, and includes categories such as gay and lesbian, Latin, and horror films. You can be updated about important submission deadlines for your films, and find out where the film venues will be.
For animated film festivals ...
The International Animated Film Festival and Market
has been running for over 45 years; it offers six days of films and activities. You can learn about the festival or use the site's other features, such as "Animaquid," a huge database of animated films, film companies, and animation professionals. There's also a link to the International Animated Film Market, a trade fair for the animation business in all broadcasting mediums.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival
is the largest animation event of its kind in North America. It's a competitive festival with a wide variety of submissions. Learn how to submit your film on the site, read the updated film schedule, and keep up with current news on the homepage.
For documentary film festivals ...
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
is North America's largest documentary film festival. Some short documentaries are available to view online, as are recent press conferences and event podcasts. Registered Hot Docs delegates automatically become members of the "Online Community," offering the benefit of networking with festival attendees before the festival even starts.
The International Documentary Festival Sheffield Ltd.
describes itself as "the UK's premier documentary festival." Purchase a delegate pass, make your travel arrangements, book your hotel, and register as a festival volunteer, all online. Filmmakers can apply to the "MeetMarket
", which gives the producer the chance to meet with buyers and pitch their projects.
takes place in Washington, DC, every year, and is one of the area's biggest documentary film festivals. You can buy a pass, browse the "News & Links" page, and view video highlights from the festival and press conferences.
For gay and lesbian film festivals ...
Out Takes Dallas
has been around since 1998. It lasts for 10 days. You can purchase tickets, films, and merchandise, and also read updated listings for festival happenings.
The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
is a highly acclaimed and popular event. You can learn how to submit your movie and sign up for the e-mail newsletter [http://www.mglff.com/emailsignup.htm] to receive updates about the current festival and any other developments.
For horror film festivals ...
The New York City Horror Film Festival
takes place in October, and is one of the East Coast's most popular horror film festivals. Browse through the archives to learn about past festivals and winners, purchase films and merchandise, and find out how you can enter the film screenplay competitions.
takes you into the "dark and spooky" world of horror films and invites directors and special effects artists from the industry to participate in seminars and workshops. You can create your own account on the site, read blogs, learn how to submit your film, and even apply for employment on the site. There's also a link to a Yahoo chat group and a ChicagoHorror MySpace page.
is a film festival and screenplay competition for horror, thriller, sci-fi, and fantasy films, that takes place in Hollywood. Buy tickets, read about film success stories, and fill out an entry form online.
The Eerie Horror Film Festival
has only been around since 2004, but it has grown into one of the most respected events of its kind in the country. Read the "F.A.Q." page to get some quick facts about the festival, check the "Vendors" section to find out which vendors will be at the festival, and book your hotel room on the site. There's also an updated list of guest speakers on the homepage.
For children's film festivals ...
The New York International Children's Film Festival
has grown to be one of the largest movie events for kids and teens in North America. Since 2000, all screenings have sold out in advance. Buy tickets early online, learn who the film jury is comprised of, fill out entry forms, and apply for an internship on the site.
The Coalition for Qality Children's Media
sponsors Kids First!, which is said to be the largest film festival for kids in the world. Both new and classic films are showcased, and the festival travels to over 100 venues every year. You can sign up to host the festival at a nearby location, submit a film title, and read updated news and information about the festival.
Online film festivals are film festivals which are held entirely online. Usually, films are shown for a certain amount of time, and viewers can vote on the films they have watched. Not all online film festivals are competitive though; some exist purely for the joy of spreading knowledge about film to others. There are online film festivals happening at all times of the year, and the best part is that, as long as you have a working Internet connection, you're guaranteed a ticket.
- To find online festivals which show the types of films you enjoy, use a search engine and enter keywords such as "horror online film festivals" or "online animated film festivals."
- Viewing films online works best if you have a high-speed (cable or DSL) Internet connection. Films tend to be less than 20 minutes, but they still require a lot of bandwidth to view them properly.
- Some online festivals are free, and some are not. Remember though, even when you have to pay, you can watch a far greater number of films than you might have been able to at film festival in a city, for instance.
is the site of the Haydenfilms Online Film Festival, one of the most well-known online film festivals in the world. On the site, you can watch films, as well as review the annually determined submission deadlines. The site also has a "News" section which mostly covers festival information, but welcomes input from others in the industry. Note that you must have an Adobe Flash Plugin installed on your computer to watch the films on the site.
is a great venue for submitting and watching short films online. You can join a jury to judge films online, as well. The site has monthly contests.
is a nonstop film festival you can attend right from your desktop or laptop. You can view films from past fests on the pull-down menu as well as read press writings and news about the festival.
There are plenty of sites online where you can submit your films to competitions, contests, and even film festivals. Some of the contests offer big paychecks or film festival debuts for first prize and others simply allow you the opportunity to share your film with the world. The sites below will help you find contests, competitions, and smaller festivals, as well as offer information about the submission process.
- Be sure to check submission guidelines. Does the festival or contest want 35mm or will they accept a DVD?
- Make sure your submission is not too long. The guidelines are very strict for most contests.
- Make sure you have a fast Internet connection, or it could take a very long time to upload your film to the site.
- Many of the major film festivals allow amateur filmmakers to submit their own films; just because the film festival has a big name doesn't mean that you should count yourself out. Check the site for yourself.
- The process for submitting a film to a contest or a film festival is fairly straightforward, but it does vary from one site to the next. Be sure to read carefully all of the submission guidelines online before you press "send," or else all of your hard work will be for naught.
Internet Video Magazine
has lots of regularly updated information regarding contests and competitions. There's also a great section which will help you purchase
what you need for making your movie, such as editing and camera equipment.
is a comprehensive site with listings for student competitions, festival contests, free contests, and more. For the more serious filmmakers there's a section with agency names.
The Hollywood Film Festival
is noted here for its informative page on how to submit your film to the festival. The site lists applications you can download for the many different types of festivals (documentary, animation, kids, etc.) offered here. You may find them useful for other sites, as well.
has a page of contest listings with links to the contests or festivals themselves. Click on the links to read about submission guidelines, deadlines, and more.
Although official film festival sites provide plenty of information, sometimes it can be more fun to get your news from an alternative source. Not only will blogs and forums keep you posted on new developments and daily gossip, but you can also benefit from reading the opinions of film fans like yourself. You might even consider posting some of your own.
- Many film festivals have a "Forum" or "Blog" page that will likely have reviews of films currently being shown at the festival as well as reviews of the festival itself.
- Remember that sometimes, people write on blogs only when they have something to complain about. Try to read from a number of sources to get an accurate take on the subject.
- It's easy to contribute to a blog or forum-you usually just have to pick a username and password, submit your e-mail, and you're set. It's almost always free to post and read blogs.
- The people in charge of running the festivals often read the blogs and forums for valuable feedback about how the festival went; so if you have something to say, don't hold back. Your comment might make a difference in next year's festival.
has a frequently updated "Forums" section. Here, you can find information about upcoming submission deadlines, new calls for films, and more. Registration is required to post messages.
has a forum with frequently updated information regarding industry happenings, reviews of recently released films, and film festival reviews.
is a great source for news, gossip, and film reviews related to film festivals. The site is organized into a number of sections, located at the top, which include "in depth," "insider" and "on the scene." The blog section is updated every couple of days.
Ain't It Cool News
is a good example of a site which has reviews of one particular film festival-this one happens to be of the Los Angeles Film Festival. The site has reviews, a chat section, and a "Top Talkbacks" (a forum section) as well. You can find this under the "Chat" page.
The Hollywood Reporter
has news and information about major film festivals all over the world. You can subscribe to the site, and there's a calendar with film and art listings (check under the tab that interests you for a related calendar of events).
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