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HomeArticlesWhat is a Film Festival? Benefits for Performing Arts Students

What is a Film Festival? Benefits for Performing Arts Students


Imagine having the chance to watch multiple new movies, both long and short, over the course of a few days. All right? Now picture yourself discussing the films with those directors. Even better, what? If so, you would enjoy going to a film festival.

Film festivals are fascinating occasions where the best films from around the world are presented. If you’re curious about how film festivals operate, read on. There are occasions where a number of movies are shown to an audience for a predetermined amount of time and usually in a particular area.

Film schools, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations are just a few of the institutions that can put on festivals. The Cannes Film Festival in France, the Sundance Film Festival in the United States, and the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada are a few of the most well-known festivals.

what is a film festival
Sundance film festival

Film festivals are open to everyone in the community, but budding filmmakers and students are probably going to get even more out of going to the best ones. Students seeking degrees in digital cinema or production have a great opportunity to present their work at film festivals, meet industry professionals, and network with other filmmakers.

This blog will look more closely at the hidden advantages of film festivals and explain why they can be so helpful for filmmakers, film or production students, and film aficionados alike. It will also explain how to enter a film festival.

What is a Film Festival?

Film clubs, private organizations, municipal governments, universities, and other groups organize festivals. They give up-and-coming filmmakers a chance to screen their films in front of actual people and have their work critiqued by critics. In addition to receiving favorable press coverage and exposure to potential agencies and buyers, filmmakers whose films are chosen for a festival may also earn a sizable monetary prize.

Some film festivals include a wide variety of accepted subjects and lengths of films. However, some film festivals have even stricter requirements, such as only accepting comedies, Jewish films, or movies directed by women. Some film festivals are dedicated to a single type of film, like documentaries, or to a single runtime, like shorts.

Also Read: Top Curriculum and Instruction Jobs: Job Outlook and Salaries

How Do Film Festivals Work?

Every film festival has an own identity. Some people enjoy telling tales that are unique to particular civilizations, while others enjoy showcasing shocking tales. Some people simply adore a good horror movie. Knowing the festival’s name will enable you as a film student to decide which festival your film will perform best, potentially improving your chances of being approved.

The festival’s selection committee will look over the submissions after the deadline for submissions has passed and decide which movies will be admitted. As a director, you shouldn’t get disheartened if your movie isn’t accepted into every festival because a lot of other things go into this choice, like:

  • What is the film’s level of quality?
  • Does this movie match the festival’s style?
  • Can this movie generate revenue?
  • Will this movie help the festival gain positive attention?

The festival programmer will start putting together the schedule when the films have been chosen, taking themes and runtimes into consideration. While movies will have their own screening, short films are frequently combined together for a single screening. To entice viewers, some festivals will host themed evenings, such as a night for local filmmakers.

Once the schedule is finalized, it is made public so that viewers can start ordering tickets for the films they are most interested in seeing or acquire a festival pass, which entitles them to discounted admission to multiple films. If your film is one of the fortunate ones to be chosen, you frequently receive a complimentary entry to the festival. The festival’s organizers are hoping that by doing this, you’ll be there to answer queries about your movie after it screens.

Entering a Film Festival

Look no further if you’ve been wondering how to participate in a film festival. You might get one step closer to becoming a filmmaker by taking part in a local film festival. Always check the festival’s rules online before entering a film festival. The majority of festivals have their own standalone websites, although some are also listed on festival aggregation websites like

Three deadlines are typically present for festivals: an early bird, a standard deadline, and a late deadline. Depending on the deadline you reach, there will be a different application fee (although students occasionally pay nothing). To give you time to make plans, the application deadline is sometimes set for several months prior to the festival.

Have your video, audio, and any other behind-the-scenes materials prepared and locked. You will construct a listing for your movie on a festival aggregation website, replete with the title of the movie, cast and crew information, uploaded movie, and making-of materials. After that, submitting it to the festival of your choice only requires a single click.

You should go to as many screenings as you can as a student, especially early in the festival when the majority of the directors are present. Bring business cards if you have them; you may always present one to a director whose work you thought was particularly strong. Spend some time interacting with the filmmakers. Connect with them on social media, such as LinkedIn, when you arrive home.

Why You Should Attend Film Festivals

It’s one thing to comprehend the operations of film festivals, but how can you make the most of your time when you’re there? You are urged to go to film festivals for reasons other than the traditional audience experience. For instance, after working with your instructors to hone and perfect them, you will have a ton of videos and scripts that you will want to share with the world.

Attending film festivals can offer priceless chances to present your work to professionals in the field, forge crucial contacts, and earn visibility that may open up new employment options. You will learn about the relevant industrial roles and your particular talents as you progress through your education. Here are my top seven arguments for why every film student should check out the world’s biggest film festivals:

1. Watch Fresh Movies

Films that eventually receive wider distribution will often have their world premieres at major film festivals. However, the vast majority of movies that are shown at film festivals can only be seen there. You may be able to watch a movie at a film festival that you might not otherwise have the chance to. This gives you access to fresh narratives, ideas, and presentations that aren’t available elsewhere.

Additionally, a format that is difficult to find outside of the festival circuit, short films have dedicated programs at many film festivals. This gives you the ability to watch well-made short films and stories to help inspire your own work if you’re a film student whose work is frequently primarily in short format.

2. Connect with Business Professionals

Filmmakers who put in a lot of time creating their work can be found at film festivals. Most of these filmmakers are only interested in discussing their work, discussing how it was made, and inspiring new filmmakers like you. This is a fantastic chance for aspiring filmmakers to pick the brains of established filmmakers and observe how others go about getting their work produced. In addition, you will interact with professionals from all facets of the movie business, including producers, distributors, producers, and directors. Making these relationships at a festival may help aspiring filmmakers land future internships or jobs.

3. Display Your Original Work

It is crucially necessary for aspiring filmmakers to show their work to others and get comments. Your instructors in film school will give you insightful, helpful criticism on the assignments you submit. You can gather feedback from the audience at a film festival (did they laugh, did they cry, etc.), as well as from the conversations you have with other attendees following your showing.

There are also a lot of festivals that are aimed at students or have categories just for student work. By submitting your own movies and scripts, you might get direct input from pros in the field.

4. Exposure to Various Cultures

Film festivals are renowned for showcasing the most cutting-edge and creative cinema from around the globe. Attending a festival as a film student can introduce you to many cultures and viewpoints that you might not have otherwise encountered. Your horizons may be widened as a result, and you may become a more well-rounded filmmaker.

5. Find Others Who Share Your Views

Film festivals are a fantastic place to connect with other film students and others who share your enthusiasm for the medium. The majority of festivals organize meet-ups and mixers so that attendees can socialize with one another and the filmmakers. Finding partners and creating a network of talented people to work with in the future can both be accomplished using this method.

A few organizations also hold meetings concurrently with festivals. During the Sundance Film Festival, the Windrider Institute, which organizes the Windrider Sundance Experience, brings together Christian students from throughout the nation to socialize and see movies in Park City, Utah.

what is a film festival

6. Learn New Methods and Technologies

Film festivals frequently feature cutting-edge methods and tools in the business. You may have the chance to learn about these fresh developments and how to use them into your own filmmaking by going to a festival. Even if not, you might be able to secure an internship with the business.

7. Enjoy Yourself!

Don’t forget that going to a film festival may be a ton of fun and excitement! You will get the chance to see some excellent movies, make new friends, and go to events that will inspire your creativity. You might have a wonderful, exhilarating experience that you’ll never forget.

what is a film festival

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do individuals attend film festivals?

The ability to network with other filmmakers is probably the most obvious benefit of going to film festivals. These events offer a special chance because practically everyone there shares your passion. In this situation, networking doesn't feel like networking, at least not in the stuffy business sense.

Do film festivals award cash prizes?

Filmmakers can profit from a festival if they win a prize in addition to receiving a distribution agreement for their festival film or a deal on a new movie. You have a chance to win cash if your film is chosen for a festival.

Who receives a film festival invitation?

The festival is often accessible to individuals with credentials, such as journalists and members of the film business.

What city is renowned for hosting a film festival?

The city of Cannes in France is well-known for its Croisette and film festival.



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