A-List film festivals you must submit to now

June will soon be here, with a number of unmissable deadlines for your film festival career. Now it’s the perfect time to start preparing the international distribution strategy for your short film.

From Ismael Martin’s blog – May 02, 2017

When you begin planning your festival career, one of the first references is always the A-list festivals and the months of June and July include 4 big open calls at the same time, all of whom accept short films:

# 1 Locarno

The International Festival of Locarno closes its registration period soon, next June 2. The short film section accepts films with a maximum duration of 40 minutes – and only world and international premieres. This section focuses especially on young filmmakers, who’ve not yet made a feature film.

This is the first festival to be held, from the 2 to 12 August. The submission fee is 50 Swiss francs, which at the current exchange rate is around 46€.

# 2 Montreal

In the case of the Montréal Festival des Films du Monde, the short film competition accepts films with a maximum duration of 15 minutes, with priority given to world premieres, although the festival also admits international premieres. In addition it includes an out-of-competition section, that accepts short films up to 35 minutes.

This festival had many organizational problems last year, both economic, with staff and projection rooms. Hopefully these issues have been fixed for the upcoming edition. It also has to be taken into account that recent years have seen the festival’s international reputation take a fall.

The registration deadline is shortly after Locarno, on June 9, and is held from August 24 to September 4. It is made through the platform Withoutabox, with a fee for short films and medium-length films of 60 Canadian dollars, which is just over 40 €.

# 3 Venice

The Venice Film Festival also has the deadline for registration shortly, on June 16.  The duration is 20 minutes and the world premiere is required, so if you have released your short film in your home country you can no longer participate.

The Venice Film Festival takes place almost at the same time as Montreal, from August 30 to September 9. It has a price of 60€ and registration can be done through its own platform.

# 4 Warsaw

The last A-list festival with a section dedicated to short films with an upcoming deadline is the Warsaw International Festival. The first deadline is on July 15, with a price of €5. All genres up to 40 minutes are admitted.

It takes place from the 13 to the 22 of October and filmmakers can submit on the festival’s own submissions platform.

The case of San Sebastián

Finally, we must mention the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Although it does not have a section for short films, last year there were already selected shorts in the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section, since films of any duration can be presented. Although it has a rate of 70€, Spanish films are exempt from this payment.

In order to participate in this section it is necessary the film is a Spanish premiere and hasn’t been publicly projected there. The festival is held from 22 to 30 September and the registration deadline is 1 August.

Deadline summary

Locarno – June 2 – € 46
Montreal – June 9 – € 40
Venice – June 16 – € 60
Warsaw – July 15 – €5
The budget to pay the registration fees in these 4 A-list festivals is approximately 151€.

If you are thinking about betting on these festivals, I wish you the best of luck. It’s extremely difficult to get into these competitive sections but of course – never stop trying.

Simona Patrizi

Simona Patrizi is project and communication manager at FFL. If you wanna join FFL as a contributor, share your expertise in festival submissions management and film festival career just reach her at simona@filmfestivallife.com