View Full Version : Festival Prep, how much stuff do I bring?

08-13-2008, 03:49 PM
Hi all, I'm totally new to this site and a bit (just a bit mind you) PANICED about getting ready to show my film in a festival this coming september. I've researched quite a bit about what I should do and bring but, I have found info on what to expect elusive.

I have an 11 minute short film (stop motion animated) that has been accepted into the 'New York International Independent Film & Video Festival' and when comes to preparation, my pockets are not deep to say the least. For me, having press kits, postcards, business cards, posters and all the other things that selling myself and my film call for is a big deal and tough decisions because I need to spend my pennies wisely.

I've read things like, I should have 200 to 500 postcards to give out and that I should only expect to have enough press kits for the relevant people like reporters and agents but, those aren't numbers I have an easy time wrestling with.

I'm an independent film maker in every sense of the term, aside from my music and some color re-mastering on the final cut... I WAS the entire crew! I've had many years of experience in the special effects business (old school) and finally decided to make my own film - out of my own pocket. Now that it's finished, I need to deal with the selling of the thing and that is the part where I am a 'fish out of water'.

I guess my question really is... on the barest budget, what do you think would be considered the minimum I could produce in the way of paper material to sell my film for me? I am putting together a CD/DVD press kit video but can that substitute for the written material when it comes to the 'Directors' Statement' or would I still need to have one printed to accompany the disk?

Any advise here would be very helpful!

08-13-2008, 04:49 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this festival has a very bad rep. Have they asked you for $400 yet? Or promised you an LA screening for two grand?

08-13-2008, 05:23 PM
Nope, they haven't asked for anything other than my being there to present my film. What would a bad rep for a festival entail? They seem to be everywhere I look when it comes to festivals to be at and I've read plenty of testimonials and success stories that have come out of it.

It's too late for me to back out of it now so, I'm in it no matter how it goes. Like I said, this is the part of the film making game that I've no idea what to expect when I walk in the door. So I thank you for giving me a heads-up about this show. Is there anything in particular I should look out for?

08-13-2008, 05:31 PM
All I will say is beware of this festival, and don't pay them anthing. Use it as an opportunity to screen your film but refuse to pay any money for their promises.
Here is a search with plenty of info:

08-13-2008, 07:18 PM
Well, I read through most of the links that lead to and I will take the caution under advisement but, here's one part you may find interesting... one of the links lead to a forum at, a forum I frequent on a regular basis. That thread was calling an online film contest a scam because it was associated with NIIFVF, the trailer for my film was in that contest at the time it was being written and it made me nervous then also...

As it turns out, I won that contest and did get paid $2000.00 USD and got a brand new computer and camera equipment out of the deal!! So when you hear that something is a scam, don't immediately assume that it is true. There are bad characters associated with every organization in the world with bad stories to tell that very well may turn out to be true but, it doesn't mean that the whole thing is corrupt.

Again, I thank you for the words of caution and will keep my eyes and ears open to what might not seem on the 'up and up'. But, I still need advice on what I began this thread about... promotional materials, too much - too little? how can I decide where to invest my meager means and make the most of what I have printed?

08-13-2008, 07:23 PM
I didn't call it a scam, I am just saying to be careful, as many others have called it that. I have never had any interactions with them, so was just letting you know to check it out for yourself. Hope it works out.

08-13-2008, 07:42 PM
You may want to take out a display ad in The Village Voice for your screening. This is the most relevant area paper. It will cost about the same as getting nice color postcards and sending them out to the press, producers, whomever... but those will likely get tossed. Postcards are good for your street team to hand out the day of the screening. Your biggest promotional tool is your film itself. Press kits are nice, but the film says it all. The trick is to get people there.

08-13-2008, 08:35 PM
See, now THAT'S something I would have NOT thought of on my own Thank You! Another bit of advice I got today from a fellow film maker friend of mine who has made the rounds in the festivals was, to bring along the puppets that are in my film. The festival I am in is mostly live action drama type films so my having the puppets there at my booth on opening night will probably be a unique attraction and consequently garner a lot of attention.

An ad in the Voice... now that's thinking with gas! Thanks again!:)

10-18-2008, 08:00 AM
OK so, I did the NYIIFVF festival and everything went off just fine and I had a really good time with it. I've even been informed by that festival that my film won BEST SHORT ANIMATION. (they have yet to announce when the awards ceremony will be) But now I want to submit my film to more festivals and I have some questions similar to the one I started here...

How (in general because I realize festivals are different) do film makers deal with press kits, post cards and that sort of thing when you are entering a festival that you cannot attend? There are many festivals I'm considering entering that are impossible for me to be at in person, should I be planning on sending stuff like post cards for my film to those festivals and just HOPE that someone makes them available to the audience?

I will be placing my film on Withoutabox because I see that is the most popular way of getting it out there and submitting it. But my film is a NO budget animation film that I put a ton of work into and am proud of the results but - just like the film itself, I don't have money to throw down for thing I don't REALLY need. So my question about that is, do films that only have a FREE account with Withoutabox get noticed less? I can pay extra to post a trailer for my film there but, the trailer for my film is something I already have posted in many other places and can just provide a link with my info on Withoutabox so, why would I pay to have it posted there?

Because my film is animated, I will be focusing (not exclusively) on animation festivals and don't plan on entering into 50 - 100 festivals. (I just can't afford to do that) I'm just ONE GUY doing all this with only the extra money in my pocket so, I need to restrict myself to a very limited budget. Spending money on post card, press kits, mini DV tapes, mailing things to festivals and all the rest of the incidental costs involved in this process quickly adds up to be more than I can afford.:(

10-18-2008, 11:22 AM
dont concern yourself with spending money at film festivals you wont attend. give them minimal info, have a decent website and just get to know you got accepted to all these festivals and let them play your film (if they accept it)

if i were you, i'd spend your time & effort making a feature. that's right, MAKE A FEATURE. or something marketable as a dvd, 60mins. something cool. entertaining.

its nice to get into festivals, but not nice if you are spending all your energy on that, and not on making a real product that you can make a living at. no one is going to finance or aid you with just a short anymore.

i got a CG feature, it is premiering at Hollywood Film Festival, and i am promoting to distributors mainly. i've got many sticks in the fire, fishing lines in the water. that's your goal! short films are not it, make a feature. and make it ENTERTAINING, and art be damned! (i'm a former artist/painter/drunk/snob btw) but this film is what I love, since I was kid and not indoctrinated by art school.

my film is at