Brighton Film School Creative Director, Gary Barber, shares his advice on how to get your film officially selected in the international film festival circuit…
To start with, make sure you have a great idea and script. Ask any professional in the film industry and they will say that it’s always about the script. Have that magic idea locked down and craft it into a word-perfect script, preferably without any profanities as this will limit your reach for sharing on social media and websites.
Once you are in pre-production, you need to consider all elements of the production process for both Principal Photography (production) and post-production. There is no point rushing into production before you have considered what may be required for completion, festival submissions or on-line platforms. Below are my 11 tips for planning for film festivals:
1. 4K or not 4K. This recording resolution is to future proof your work in case it is selected for broadcast or a top festival. If you choose to shoot on 4K then you will need to back it up on two drives and you will need to edit using a proxy file.
2. You will need to ensure that you have a videographer attached to produce an EPK (Electronic Press Kit or behind the scenes footage) and high resolution stills for publicity and a film poster.
3. Engage the services of an editor and sound designer at the beginning of the project so that you can discuss the look and sound of the film before you start shooting.
4. Listen to as many short films as possible and note how many layers of sound have been used as well as how it has been mixed. This will then give you a realistic idea of what you will need to do in post-production sound.
5. Allow enough time in post-production to synch up picture and sound, produce an assembly of your rushes, first picture cut, first sound design, locked picture cut, locked sound design, titles, possible reconform if you’re going back to original 4K data and then a grade.
6. Titles. Do not leave them until the end of post-production as they take a long time to get right.
7. Keep all cast and crew informed of the production process as they have all contributed to this project and need reassuring that this film will be seen.
8. How to select the right festival. ‘Without a Box’ and ‘Filmfreeway’ are great models as you upload all of your information and you can then submit to hundreds of festivals, however most are fee paying.
9. Research the top festivals and select one from, for example, London Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Cannes, Rotterdam, Raindance, Aesthetica, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival or Cinecity – The Brighton Film Festival. It can be useful to contact the festival directly and ask for a fee waiver as a student.
10. Produce a film poster and add your festival laurels (these are issued once a film has been selected) and keep your social media profile updated to celebrate your screenings and awards. Keep your cast and crew updated and celebrate.
11. Start the whole process again!