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Old 02-09-2018, 06:52 PM   #1
Knight28
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Questions about submitting to film festivals

In a previous thread (http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=64484), I mentioned that I was interested in
submitting to film festivals, a significantly re-edited version of a short film that was screened at the 48 Hour
Film Project in Chicago and that did not win anything in that film contest.

I looked through the list of festivals available at FilmFreeway.com, and I have found some festivals to which I can submit my film. But I have some questions about the submission process.


1) Typically, a festival's submission application asks whether the submitted film would be a world premiere, a
United States premiere, a premiere in the state of the festival, etc. The re-edited version that I would be
submitting, has never been screened anywhere. So, that re-edited version would be a world premiere. However, the original version was screened in Chicago.

So, in the application, do I say that the re-edited version is a world premiere?


2) A festival's submission application also asks when the film was finished. I am assuming that, by "finished", the application means the completion of post-production, not principal photography.

Do I state the date on which the re-edited version was finished? Or the date on which the original version was
finished?


3) The film that I would be submitting, is in an MP4 file. This file has a frame rate of 59.94 fps and a sample
audio rate of 48 kHz.

In the previous thread, I mentioned that my 48 Hour Film Project team's DP had edited his own version of the film, and that I had refined the DP's version. The DP's MP4 file had a frame rate of 59.94 fps and a sample audio rate of 48 kHz, and that is the MP4 file that I "inherited". Thus, my film's MP4 file has the same frame rate and the same sample audio rate.

I read somewhere that films are supposed to have a frame rate of 24 fps or 30 fps. Also, when I made my own acting reels for Vimeo, I used a frame rate of 30 fps and a sample audio rate of 44.1 kHz. So, I used software called Avidemux to resample my film to a frame rate of 30 fps and a sample audio rate of 44.1 kHz. However, the result looked awful. So, for my film's MP4 file, I stuck with a frame rate of 59.94 fps and a sample audio rate of 48 kHz.

My film's MP4 file plays very well in Windows Media Player, in Windows 7, on my hard drive.

I uploaded the MP4 file to Vimeo. In Vimeo, in regular-screen mode, the film plays very well. However, if I go to
full-screen mode, the film freezes from time to time.

When I submit my film to festivals, I will most likely be submitting a link to the film's Vimeo URL. Can I say, in
my submission cover letter, that, in Vimeo, the film should be played in regular-screen only? Or will the festival
programmers and screeners automatically assume that the film should be played in regular-screen only?


4) Speaking of festival-submission cover letters, what should I put into one? I looked online for sample cover
letters, and I couldn't find any. Is there a website which shows sample cover letters?


5) The festivals listed on FilmFreeway.com, accept Vimeo submissions. However, if a film is accepted into a
festival, the person doing the submitting, must send to the festival a version of the film that can be screened at
the festival. Festivals differ on what they accept. Some festivals accept DCP only, but other festivals accept MP4
files.

I have an MP4 file. And, from what I've read, creating a DCP and sending the DCP to a festival, is a cumbersome
process. So, I naturally gravitate toward the festivals that accept MP4-file screeners.

Some of these MP4-accepting festivals may accept MP4 files sent via a download site like wetransfer.com. But other festivals insist that you burn your MP4 file onto a DVD. My research has shown that there is software like DVD Flick and AVStoDVD that can burn an MP4 file onto a DVD. However, I have read that DVD Flick and AVStoDVD may cause problems with sound-video sync on the DVD. Is there any software (preferably free) that can burn an MP4 file onto a DVD without causing any sync problems?


6) Festival applications ask for a synopsis of the film. Am I supposed to give a detailed accounting of what
happens from beginning to end, even revealing the surprise ending? Or am I supposed to provide only a summary of the film?


Thank you for any information.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:02 PM   #2
peacemaker
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6) The synopsis they ask for goes on the festival catalogue. It's normally 4 to 5 lines - What the story is, who is the main character, what is his/her goal, what stops him/her achieving the goal.

I would never reveal the ending, whether it's a surprise ending or not.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:28 PM   #3
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Man this isn't an FBI interrogation, you just answer these best you can.

If your film is good, it will speak for itself.
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:45 PM   #4
Rayandmigdalia
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Your film is a world premiere, which was completed when you finished the edit. Most festivals would download your film directly from Vimeo (they will ask you for a password). It can be downloaded in many different formats, and the festival will decide which one they want. Few festivals if any will ask for a DVD. Everyone uses downloads these days. If they do ask for a DVD, your editing software will automatically burn it in 29.97 or 30 fps. The festival will use a short synopsis...a brief paragraph...to give their audience a glimpse of what your film is about. Don't worry about the festival process. It's easy, and the festival will walk you through it.

Last edited by Rayandmigdalia; 02-09-2018 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:46 AM   #5
Knight28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayandmigdalia View Post
Most festivals would download your film directly from Vimeo (they will ask you for a password). It can be downloaded in many different formats, and the festival will decide which one they want. Few festivals if any will ask for a DVD. Everyone uses downloads these days.
It seems that, if I want my film to be downloadable from Vimeo, I have to upgrade from a free Vimeo account to a paid Vimeo account. So, I will have to send my MP4 file for free, via wetransfer.com



Also, the website withoutabox.com contains information about a lot of festivals. For each festival listed on withoutabox, withoutabox specifies which formats the festival accepts for submission, and which formats the festival accepts for exhibition.


But the information on withoutabox may be outdated. For example, for the Calgary International Film Festival, withoutabox has the following information about international short films submitted to that festival:

https://www.withoutabox.com/03film/0...ory_id=1413960

According to the above link, the formats accepted for exhibition are DCP and media files ("Other - digital"), which, I hope, includes MP4 files.


However, in the submission FAQ on the festival's website (https://www.calgaryfilm.com/2018-film-submissions), the following appears:

Q. What formats do you screen?
A. DCP (preferred) and BluRay. We also have 3D capability.

The FAQ mentions nothing about media files ("Other - digital").

I sent an email to the people in charge of the festival, asking for clarification on this matter.



Now, as I previously mentioned, I would like to see a website of sample cover letters. I've been told that my cover letter should include something interesting about the film. But the only interesting thing about this film, as far as I know, is that the lead male actor (myself) is also one of the editors. Is this something that I should point out in the cover letter?
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
mlesemann
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You're over-thinking this.

Pick a few festivals to - keep in mind that the best known ones are extremely competitive, and receive many thousands of submissions for every available slot. Even ones that are not super competitive receive multiple times times the number of slots.

The fests provide the info to Without A Box. If you have a question about what a specific festival will or will not accept, find their email address or phone # on their web site, and contact them. If they don't respond to your question, that may tell you something important right there.

No one is going to decide whether or not to accept your movie from the cover letter, and no one cares that an actor is one of the editors.

Also, I recommend limiting yourself to festivals that you can afford to attend, both in terms of money and time. One of the major advantages of festivals is the opportunity to network with other filmmakers.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
directorik
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1) Be cautious and call it the premiere in the state.

2) They are not asking for a specific day they are asking for the year.
Was your movie finished in 2017? or 2016?

3) The reason festivals want the film in 24 or 30 is that's the way they will
screen it. On a big screen, in a theater. If your movie gets accepted and
they have issues with your format they will not show it.

4) Really? That's the ONLY thing interesting about your movie; that the
actor is also the editor? If that's the case leave out the cover letter.

6) Look up the difference between a synopsis and a summary. That will
help you writing a synopsis.

I agree with mlesemann; you seem to be over-thinking this. I get it, this
is your first time entering a festival and I suspect you have never been to
a film festival. You want everything perfect. You need to enter a dozen. You
really should enter 20. You'll get more comfortable as you enter more and
more.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:10 PM   #8
Knight28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlesemann View Post

Also, I recommend limiting yourself to festivals that you can afford to attend, both in terms of money and time. One of the major advantages of festivals is the opportunity to network with other filmmakers.
Well, my purpose in submitting to festivals, is to get my name and the names of my team members out there. I don't have any plans to *attend* any out-of-town festivals.

However, since I am an actor in Chicago's film industry, I have a lot of free time on my hands. Thus, I am not ruling out attending.

But, if the film is accepted into a festival, I will, of course, notify my teammates. I think that the director/team leader may attend an out-of-town festival.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:07 PM   #9
Knight28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post

3) The reason festivals want the film in 24 or 30 is that's the way they will
screen it. On a big screen, in a theater. If your movie gets accepted and
they have issues with your format they will not show it.
Well, I tried to convert my (59.94fps, 48kHz) MP4 file to a (29.97fps) MP4 file, in two ways.

1) I used the software called Avidemux to resample the (59.94fps, 48kHZ) MP4 file to (29.97fps, 44.1kHz).

2) I uploaded the (59.94fps, 48kHz) MP4 file to Vimeo. Next, using the website keepvid.com, I downloaded the video from Vimeo, and the downloaded file had (29.97fps, 48kHz).

In both instances, the 29.97fps file looked bad. So, it appears that I'm stuck with the (59.94fps, 48kHz) MP4 file.


However, I recently sent an email to the Calgary International Film Festival, saying that I have a (59.94fps, 48kHz) MP4 file and asking whether that festival would accept such a file for exhibition. The response stated that, for short films, the people at Calgary can accept an MP4 file, as long as they can download the file. So, I'm guessing that a (59.94fps, 48kHz) MP4 file is OK with Calgary.


If my film is accepted by a festival but can not be shown because of format problems, will my film still be judged by the judges? Can I still mention on my resume that my film was accepted by the festival? Or will the acceptance be revoked altogether?




Quote:
4) Really? That's the ONLY thing interesting about your movie; that the
actor is also the editor? If that's the case leave out the cover letter.
Well, that's the only interesting thing about the *making* of the movie.


There is one thing that, I feel, *should* be mentioned in a cover letter, and that thing is the following:

In Vimeo, in regular-screen mode, the film plays very well. However, in full-screen mode, the film freezes from time to time.


I thought about saying the following in my cover letter:

If you watch the film in Vimeo, please watch the film in regular-screen mode, NOT in full-screen mode.


I did notice that, on the submission web page for the Austin Film Festival in Texas, there does not seem to be a place for a cover letter. But I believe that FilmFreeway.com does include a place for a cover letter.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:14 AM   #10
Rayandmigdalia
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On downloading from Vimeo. If you switch your entry platform from withoutabox to FilmFreeway.com , the festival can download your film directly from FilmFreeway. The festival will send you an email requesting permission to download your film, then you simply hit a button that says "permission to download granted" (or denied). Film freeway is actually much easier to use than withoutabox, and their "filtered search" function is far better than withoutabox. For example, you can look for festivals in a certain geographic area, or those that you can enter for free.
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