Festivals - Filling space, cash grab?

(Ian David Diaz) #1

So this is my first foray into web series and thus film festivals and I’m learning a lot, the pros and cons, unfortunately, I’m learning more of the cons than the pros but it’s all good cos you can’t grow unless you make mistakes. Anyway, I recently entered my web series Rebecca Gold, into a film festival and we were selected for the fest.

Just a little back story, when I conceived of the web series idea I also wanted an option to make it into a short as well, which meant that I couldn’t go past 30 minutes as I was told that most shorts in film festivals didn’t except shorts longer than 30 minutes.

Rebecca Gold in its short reincarnation got accepted and the main cast and main crew were excited and up for traveling outside of London (UK), to support this, admittedly from the festival organizer, small festival. I wanted to know what our short was nominated for and there was no info on their website/facebook page/Twitter, I was finally told via an email that we were not nominated for anything.

As you can guess all of the cast and crew decided to opt out of going as there was no justification as far as they can see on spending money on a festival where the project wasn’t nominated, and I have to say I agree with them, hotel costs, travel expenses, and food do all add up for struggling actors and filmmakers. I have to admit I do find it strange that our film would be selected but not nominated but saying that I do understand that it is a film festival and not just an awards ceremony.

The questions I want to ask is, is it normal for festivals of this kind to screen shorts or films that are not nominated? As I’ve said I’m a newbie at this, was my short selected because they didn’t have enough films to cover the event or good enough films, is this just a cash grab as some suggest to me it might?

What do you guys think?


(Herman Wang) #2

It’s perfectly normal to be selected but not nominated. It’s happened for us several times.

I imagine the order of operations for many festivals is:

  1. Pick the Official Selections from the entries, to get from a few thousand entries down to a few dozen selections.
  2. Announce the selections so people have time to make travel arrangements if needed.
  3. Possibly weeks or months later, pick nominations from the list in (1).

So if that’s the case, then naturally some of the selections won’t get nominated.

And from what I understand, any festival that’s not online-only, and that has to arrange for screening locations and a team of people to work it, is not going to be a cash grab - rather the opposite sometimes.


(Deb Ethier) #3

I completely agree with Herman here. Oftentimes, the primary goal of the festival is to provide access to good films for their community (in truth, an actual festival); nominations and prizes may be incentive to get people to submit films or to give recognition to outstanding films from the selections made. The whole process may be a narrowing down to prize winners, but the screening of official selections can be incentive enough, depending on the festival. Screening at a good festival as a selection (as well as contacts made if you attend the festival) is well worth the entry fee…and most festivals with screenings don’t make a vast amount of cash, after paying for judges, venue, prizes, technicians, hospitality, etc. etc. Many are true labours of love…

…but if there are prizes, don’t get me started on “audience awards” as the only award.:unamused::smile:


(Ian David Diaz) #4

I’m learning so that’s always good.


(Carlo Delmar) #5

I posted the following comment (about submitting to film festivals that don’t officially accept web series) once before, but it is relevant to repost it here.

Some web series creators make two versions of their web series. A good example is the web series, “The Invaders — Angie’s Logs.”

Here is the regular episodic version made for YouTube:

Here is the short film version, comprised of selected scenes from multiple episodes, for submission to film festivals:


(Ian David Diaz) #6

We did do 2 versions, the festival in question was a getting our short film version.

Playlist all 5 Eps

Rebecca Gold short

I just wanted to know if what the festival was doing was common practice and according to Deb Ethier & Herman Wang it is.