View Full Version : The Best Second-Tier Short Festivals

02-03-2010, 09:55 PM
Hello All,

I'm starting to budget for a short film I'll be shooting over the summer and I'm factoring in the money I'll need for Festival Entry Fees. The problem I'm having is, while I'm planning on submitting to bigger festivals like Tribeca, Sundance, and San Diego, I'd like to submit to some lesser festivals in smaller cities as well. But, I don't want to waste my money. What should I look for in a smaller festival that will expand my exposure without wasting my money submitting? There are a few (Heartland, Nashville, Charleston and Atlanta) that I think look pretty good. Basically, I know my chances of getting accepted at the bigger ones are extremely low so I want to try some of the quality second-rate ones. Let me know if you guys have any tips or advice on what to look for and maybe some you might have had a bad experience with.


02-03-2010, 10:17 PM
Well, I don't know much about festivals but we do have a pretty decent one here in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Film puts it on and it gets a pretty good response each year. I would assume that some of the better smaller festivals are ones that have been around for a while and have a good reputation. I am just not positive though.

02-05-2010, 04:16 PM
The number of submissions that even "second tier" festivals get these days I'd count on having to enter a minimum of 10 to to 15 to have a good shot at getting an acceptance, that's if you have a really good film. If you have an incredible film you might get in several of those 10, if you have an average film you might get in none. I made an above average film, so I didn't even bother to enter top tier festivals.

02-06-2010, 12:55 AM
Well, that's the idea. I'm assuming I won't get into the top ones, so I'm trying to figure out which of the lower-ranking festivals might be decent. I'm not worrying too much about getting in. There will be a time for that. Right now, I'm just working on the budget and trying to pick out festivals which won't be a total waste of time/money.

02-06-2010, 01:07 AM
How do you rate the best? In other words what are you hoping to get out of it after it's accepted?

02-06-2010, 11:54 AM
The biggest thing I'm looking for is exposure really. When I say "big," I'm talking Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, etc. When I say second-tier, I'm basically looking for smaller festivals that still get a decent turnout and have a good reputation. There are a lot out there that really don't offer much but still ask for the same entry fee as the rest. For example, here in Pittsburgh, we really only have the Three Rivers Festival and despite the growing presence of big productions in this city, the festival is actually pretty poor and doesn't have much of a reputation. I'm trying to stay away from stuff like that.

02-06-2010, 01:17 PM
Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival
Asheville Film Festival
DC Independent Film Festival
Berkeley Video and Film Festival
Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival
On Location: Memphis Film Festival

I was an official selection or winner in these and recommend them.

02-06-2010, 01:29 PM
That Temecula one is a lot of fun to go to.

Newport Beach is really good, too.


02-09-2010, 11:42 AM
Great. Thanks for the input everyone!