Since the global pandemic began back in 2020, there has been much more of a focus upon how important it is to look after one’s mental health and this is extremely true regarding film festivals. In my previous blog about this issue I mentioned that the golden rule is to always create the right type of festival strategy for your film so that you don’t submit to the wrong ones and get a barrage of rejection letters that can affect your mental health, to the point where it can cause a downward spiral into depression. You won’t get selected for every single festival you submit to and it’s always important to not take rejection personally.
The topic of ‘Rejection Letters’ is what we will be looking into during today’s article. When you receive a rejection letter from a festival it is wrong to automatically assume that the festival hated your film. Nowadays this is very rarely the case. Festival programmers are turning down so many films that they love and that tends to be lots since a festival that receives 6,000 submission can tend to only screen 250-300 films.
The most common reasons that your film has not been selected for a festival are as follows –
- The festival programmer liked the film but it didn’t fit their theme or topic for this years festival
- No room in the schedule to programme it
- A coin toss between 2 similar films which was your film and another persons film – the other persons film won
- Liked the film but not the right fit for the festivals audience demographic
- Loved it but just missed out in finding a slot to programme it
- Liked it but not the type of film which would be suitable for a top tier festival programme
There’s also festival politics that get in the way of films being programmed and it’s true that sometimes festival programmers don’t resonate with every film that gets submitted. They appreciate the work that’s gone in but it just doesn’t click with them.
The golden rule in this scenario is to never take rejection personally as it’s not you personally that’s being evaluated and assessed – it’s your film.
This is one of my favourite rejection letters from a womens festival in the USA regarding my clients film THE GESTURE AND THE WORD‘By now you likely received a notice from us that The Gesture and The Word was not accepted into this year’s festival. I don’t typically do this but I wanted to take a minute to personally write you to let you know that the film narrowly missed advancing to the finals. Please let Helen know that we think she’s a talented filmmaker and that we would very much like to see any of her future projects for consideration in the festival.’
In next months blog I’ll be focusing upon managing anxiety levels when attending film festivals and why it’s more important than ever to be present in the moment during the screening of your film.