You've made your movie, you can't wait for everyone to see it, you put it on YouTube, and then you want to submit to film festivals. So, you reach out to the festival for an answer to the questions "My film is already on YouTube, can I still submit to your festival?"
The answer from the Hamilton Film Festival comes in the form of a question. Depending on how you answer, determines if we will allow it. We ask the filmmaker "If your movie is already available to everyone, everywhere, why do you want a film festival screening?"
Often we will get the response that the filmmaker is looking for awareness, to meet other filmmakers, or to see their movie on the big screen. Those are all good answers, but we have to weigh this against some factors of our own.
We are a very encouraging film festival, and we want to help filmmakers navigate this crazy circuit, so we are likely more forgiving than other events. However, a filmmaker, should, know the release strategy for their movie before they start making it. If you are just emerging, you will learn this as you go, but you can save a lot of money by strategizing.
So the short answer is YES, you can submit, but before your spend your hard earned money, you should really have a good reason on WHY you are submitting. We do cross check all the movies we select so it's best to be up front, in your cover letter. We have selected movies in the past, and then rejected them as they were widely released before the festival.
We always ask that if your film is selected, that you make your movie private from the time it is selected, until the day after our last festival date.
My optimism usually has me saying, "If our audiences haven't seen it, it's new." But the small business owner in me has to put up a few red flags.
If you have anything to add to this, or if you like what you have read, please like, comment and share this post to anyone that may be navigating the film festival circuit.
Nathan Fleet is the CEO of the Hamilton Film Festival and has been with HFF since it's inception in 2004.
Movies can be submitted exclusively through Film Freeway
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