How to Avoid Film Festival Rejection

This TVWriter™ minion doesn’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like my life is a constant fight to prevent being rejected. For my work. For my history. For myself. So I really enjoyed reading the following, even though there’s probably no way in the world I’ll be able to make it work for me. >Sigh<

pic from filmcourage.com

pic from filmcourage.com

by Noam Kroll

Rejection is a brutal reality in any creative industry. Fortunately, there are steps filmmakers can take to avoid film festival rejection.

Getting into a festival (especially a major) is a huge challenge to say the least. Even with all the competition out there, you still have a shot…you just need to tell your story in a way that is conducive to a festival acceptance. Below, I’ll outline my top 3 reasons that your film might face film festival rejection. Next time around you’ll know what NOT to do!

You Submitted a Genre Film to the Wrong Festival

Genre films (horror, sci-fi, etc.) are very often created by filmmakers on a very tight budget, as they are typically easier to sell when compared to dramas or comedies. As such, there are staggering amounts of genre films finished every year and a great deal of them are subsequently submitted to major film festivals. The problem is, there are only a small handful of spots for a genre film at any of the majors. Of course, sometimes it works out. The small 2015 horror film It Follows found acclaim at Cannes and went on to mainstream success. Indiewire’s Eric Kohn covered the film’s rise:

At the movie’s world premiere in Cannes, a programmer introduced “It Follows” as a blend of the atmospheric classic horror movies of Jacques Tourneur (“I Walked With a Zombie”) and the metaphorical coming-of-age elements of John Carpenter.

While it may be true that there are films from every genre at any major film festival (including horror and sci-fi), the truth of the matter is that top tier festivals often only have a few narrative feature spots open for genre films to be programmed in. If you have a genre film on your hands, what you really should be doing (in my opinion at least), is focusing your efforts on genre festivals. This may also increase the odds of getting distribution from a buyer at the festival.

You Submitted a Rough Cut

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