In 2021 The Film Festival Doctor team represented UK indie feature ‘ELECTION NIGHT’. We knew this film could do well on the circuit and we were also excited to work again with returning client filmmaker Neil Monaghan. Below is a testimonial from him profiling the journey we went on as a team to get the film seen on the festival circuit.
So, you’ve finished your movie – it’s taken years of graft, commitment, and probably more money than you’d like. But it’s good. At least you think it’s good. Perhaps there’s that nagging doubt and until you put it in front of an audience that doubt remains.
If you haven’t already been seeking distribution now is of course the time. But it can take months to go through the sales process and then perhaps a year before your film is slated for release. So how can you fill the time and give your project a fighting chance in a crowded market?
The answer is to enter the film festival circuit. After completion of my political horror-thriller Election Night I was pretty confident it was a good piece of work, but I wasn’t completely certain. I felt it would be highly beneficial to show the film at various festivals. This would give us a clear audience reaction as well as some much-needed official selection laurels and maybe some actual awards.
Entering festivals is an artform in its own right and one I had no real idea of how to address. Luckily, I had already worked with Rebekah Louisa Smith – The Film Festival Doctor – on a previous short film. That short received multiple selections worldwide and a number of awards. The laurels looked great as we progressively added them to the poster (we almost ran out of space).
And so, I approached Rebekah again to help us with Election Night. Again, the lead time with festivals can be long, but Rebekah has her finger on the pulse and knew of imminent festivals that were still open to submissions. She lobbied on our behalf and very soon we were screening.
It was a thrilling experience watching our movie on the big screen and listening to the audience reaction. Immediately we won the audience vote for best picture at the Romford Film Festival. It’s not a biggie, but we were up against strong competition, so this was significant. It also meant my concerns about the film’s quality could be put to bed.
After that we achieved many selections world-wide and some major wins – more best pictures, a couple of best screenplays and the actors walked off with gongs too. The selections and awards allowed us to keep a near constant social media presence going. It also immediately helped with the ongoing sales negotiations.
On the day we released Election Night across all major VOD channels we were featured in many of the horror and film blogs. Our press release called the movie ‘multi-award winning’ and it was true. I’m convinced being able to make this simple claim has been of enormous help in the marketing of our film.
So, whether you’re just wanting to test out your movie with a live audience or you’re after a strong publicity angle then the film festival circuit is the way to go. I have no hesitation in recommending Rebekah and her team as the easiest and best way to achieve festival success.Neil Monaghan
Election Night is available on Sky Store, Virgin, Amazon Prime and Rakuten