The Film Festival Doctor (Yes, she’s a real doctor!) Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith, explains why it is important to submit your film to festivals during the CV19 Pandemic and how festivals are adjusting and responding to the situation.
I remember vividly the moment when the announcement was made that the 2020 edition of SXSW was cancelled. I was attending the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose and a few days later the festival director announced that the second half of Cinequest would be rescheduled to August 2020.
Attending a film festival during the time when a pandemic was about to kick off was quite an unforgettable experience and one that I could write a whole book on. One thing I did notice is that shortly after the SXSW announcement was made a lot of filmmakers assumed that all film festivals that were due to run between March-June 2020 has been cancelled.
This was false as not every festival that was due to run during that period cancelled; some had to do so as their funding wouldn’t stretch for later during the year and many other factors such as problems re-scheduling the venue – however a lot of them rescheduled to run later during the year (from August onwards), or they ran their festival online (which CPH-Docs & BFI Flare among many others did brilliantly well).
The above point then made filmmakers begin to ask – should I still continue to submit my film to festivals?
The answer is yes – do continue to submit your film to festivals that run from Aug/Sept onwards. All of these festivals have confirmed that they intended to run and they’re planning several different versions (plan A, plan B, plan C, Plan D (online) etc) and for sure one of those versions of their festival will go ahead in some shape and form.
It will be interesting to see how festivals will be advised to implement social distancing (more on this next week) as this is something which we are being introduced to and learning more about on a daily basis.
Of course, before you submit your film to festivals you need to create the right strategy and that is something which we can certainly help you with to ensure that you’ll get the right results.
Since the pandemic began, we have recently began working on several new films and are planning for their world premieres to take place from September onwards and we too currently have our plan A, plan B & plan C strategies in place for each film.
Now is a period of creative divine timing as whilst you’re in isolation it’s all about the planning, and if one of your goals is to launch your film towards the end of this year the festival strategy and submissions will need to be completed by June this year.
Coming next week – I’ll be interviewing John Fink the Artistic Director of the Buffalo International Film Festival & Sandra Lipski the Director of the Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival regarding CV19 and how they are successfully adapting their film festivals.