What is Old Is New: Film Festival Edition

by | January 20, 2024 | Newsletter

This week, Paula Bernstein wrote a nice piece for Filmmaker Mag reporting from the Bend Film Festival about a panel of film festival programmers on recommendations of how to apply to film festivals.  Since this is prime film festival application season – its a timely and helpful article.  Included are advice on keeping shorts short since programmers only have so much time in their schedules, pay attention to the power of regional festivals and filmmakers must do their research before applying to festivals – don’t apply to fests that don’t make sense for your film.  However she emailed me to tell me that she referenced an earlier article of mine:  “Given the technological advances and sweeping cultural shifts over the past few years, it’s surprising—but not necessarily problematic—that the process of applying to film festivals, and therefore the advice programmers share with filmmakers, has remained remarkably unchanged. Go back and read Jon Reiss’s excellent article on the topic from 2017 and the tips are quite similar to the ones shared in Bend.”  I just re-read that article and I feel that all the 10 do’s and 5 don’ts are as relevant now as they were in 2017 and unless there are major earthquakes in our system, will probably be relevant in 2028.  While much of the world of distribution is fast changing – some aspects of it are remarkably constant.  If you have additional tips – please send them in.  I am on the Film Festival Subcommittee of the DPA and we created a Film Festival Toolkit that hopefully will be posted to the DPA site in the near future – I’ll see about including any new tips in that document.