How to get into a Film Festival - advice Top 10 Iconic Film Festivals 7 months ago   08:33

Darren Levine
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Comments 43 Comments

Darren Levine
Thanks all for the input, it's great to hear folks taking an interest in objectively improving their films, vs throwing Something at the wall and wondering why it doesn't stick. One thing i would like to add, is that disappointments will happen no matter what, but you should take any disappointments as an opportunity to look critically at what you have, and force yourself to see it from an audience's perspective. Film On!
callof duty
Hi Darren. Thank you for the video, ironically my name is also Darren and I'm a filmmaker from Australia. I really enjoyed your video. I'm one of those filmmakers who had to learn the hard way. I recently managed to get my hands on good equipment, but for a while, out of film school, I was just acting as a one-man film crew and using a Handycam as I had the belief that a camera is a camera and story was key. I had to rely heavily on my camera's microphone as just being out of film school you can expect that I didn't have a lot of money and hence didn't have any audio equipment. My films weren't getting into festivals and I didn't know why as I felt they were festival-worthy, but obviously they weren't, I guess you can say I learnt from those mistakes that you mentioned even though it has cost me roughly $1000- $2000 which looking back now could have gone on equipment. In saying that though, I have had success as I have won festivals in L.A and one of my films was distributed in the U.K but I experienced mostly rejection.

I'm about to make my first film after two years and I am looking forward to getting back into the art that I really enjoy. This time, I will be extra careful in the way I do things.

Anyway. Sorry for the long story, I just wanted to share my experience with festivals and maybe someday someone will read this and can learn from my mistakes. Respect from Australia.
Jurij Fedorov
I'll put it this way. I don't judge sound that much compared to pace and story. Why? Because if the sound is not good I won't even watch your movie. I'll watch your shitty image quality movie, but I refuse to watch bad sound movies. And most viewers think exactly the same way. Sound is where the plot becomes clear.
J.J Marlon
Motivating truth. Had a debate with a filmmaking colleague because I brought up certain issues that you mentioned and they said the film is fine and they felt I was being too negative. Smh. I’ll send them this video
Santiago Carletto
Hi, I have a question: if a festival asks for your movie file in Full HD definition, it'll be not accepted if you send a 4K version? That confuses me and usually I don't know what to do. Thank you!
Jaden Bricker
Does your festival support feature length films?
Roaring Lion
What's wrong with jump cuts? I think they can be nice sometimes, when done well.
Jas Bataille
That's some really good advice on how to make a good movie, and how to enter in your festival, which is amazing BTW. However, I suggest that people check out Darious Britt series on how he entered over 50 festivals with his feature Unsound, and got rejected by major festivals (Sundance and Berlin notably) even doh he ended up racking aways from second-tier festivals...
Let's take Sundace for example : You have 12 000 subscriptions
Over 3000 subs are feature length movies so let's consider that cause I'm ain't gonna risk a short in Sundance and I feel most of us won't invest so much for a short film (although I may be wrong).
So they're are 120 slots.
Out of that 120, 60 slots are documentaries so screw that.
Out of that 60, 30 slots are foreign feature films so, we have 30 slots left to compete for.
Out of those 30 slots, 10 of those are celebrity status and will get featured because they get an A-list actor in there.

So you're actually competing for 20 slots at Sundance when sending an American indie feature-film, unless you can have an a-list actor which might (or not) get you more chances of getting in, depending on how many other Indie features get an a-list actor on their cast... you might actually compete for 10 slots instead of 20...

So all in all great advice in general for movie-making and for your festival, but, that's unfortunately not how it works for most first-tier festivals. Still cool man!
The Next Come Up JM
Very accurate. The storyline, pacing, and audio(score included) is where most fell short. I loved viewing the films, writing the reviews and scoring via film freeway and withoutabox. The programmer really depended us on viewing the films in its entirety.
Taj LeBlanc
Hi Darren, thanks for the video. Didn’t see an email so I figured i’d comment.

Have you noticed any bias in the festival circuit towards certain genres or types of film?
Christopher Jackson
Wow this was very to the point glad I found this it explains alot of my questions is there a way that I can attend film festivals? And where do I get the dates for them at?
Abandoned Act
Hey Darren, Please check us out at
Tower CG
I find it funny, how you take a political stance, by going against other film festivals taking a political stance. Although a general rule is to keep politics out, and avoid conflict. So I do agree... It's just ironic.
Hattin Productions
Thanks for this video, great info!!
Phillip Barnett
Thank you so much for your extremely informative and helpful video. I just liked and subscribed. Please keep up the good work.
Michael Moutsatsos
Thank you brilliant advice :)
Tombstone Dreams
I am currently working on my first screenplay (zombie horror) and I believe it to be coming along extremely well. I don't not know how to edit or add visuals but I will not stop until I see my vision played back to me. If anyone has recommendations on who to go to, I will highly appreciate it.
Mary T
Is this how to become a directer for making a TV series someday because when I grow up I want to be a TV director
Original Evan B
Thank you. I went to film school, and they never hit these points.
Hoan Lee
super informative. thankyou very much. - LIKE - SUBBED
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