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Top Ten Film Festivals To Enter your Independent Film

Updated on May 12, 2011

So you've finished your first Independent film, You've slaved over it, lost sleep over it, you've edited over and over again, you've put the best soundtrack to it and you have perfected it to a T, and now your ready for the world to see it. Your probably thinking,"Well how do I start"? I was asking the same questions when i finished my first short film and wanted to share it with the world, so now I'd like to share this vital information with you to help out other struggling film directors and producers. The absolute best way to get your material seen is by entering it into film contest. This blog will only contain the top ten but there are thousands of film festivals so don't freight. 1.Sundance Film Festival Started in 1978 as the Utah/Us Film Festival, renamed to Sundance in 1991, is the biggest and most well respected Film festival in the United States, sundance sets the tone for the industry. Sundance has an enormous schedule of over two hundred films to be displayed every January. If your interested in entering your independent or Indie film. Entry Deadlines Early October, shorts are Mid-September, Entry Fee: $50 www.sundance.org . 2. Toronto International Film Festival Begin in 1976, It is the home of many oscar nominated films, they have a variety of foreign films, retro films and independent films. Toronto has one of the best organized festivals you'll ever see. If your interested in entering your film. Entry Deadlines Early June, Entry Fee: $65, all Genres are welcome www.tiffg.ca .

3. Cannes Film Festival Big buzz going on with Cannes right now, there 2011 Film fest will be blasting off May 15th so there are a lot of things going on in the media right now with Cannes. Cannes started in 1946 in France, its one of the most respected and prestigious film festivals all over the world. Cannes Film Festivals attracts top industry players world wide. If your interested in submitting your film to Cannes, Entry Deadline is March, Entry Fee $30 for basic entry VHS or DVD other formats up to $415, www.festival-cannes.org . 4. American Film Institute (AFI) Los Angeles Started in 1986, every year in November they have there big 10 day event, the whole city of LA shuts down just to help prepare for the rare celebration. The AFI Fest is Robust with industry celebrities, the festival attracts executives from all over the world, if your interested in submitting your film, Entry Deadlines Early June, Entry Fee: Short $30, Features $40, all Genres are pretty much accepted, www.afi.com

5.Tribeca Film Festival Is by far the baby of the group and started in 2002, but no film festival has grown faster then the Tribeca Film festival. The founding father of the festival is the legendary Robert DeNiro and the co-chair is Martin Scorsese. There widely known for there red carpet star studded premieres. If your interested in submitting your film, Entry Deadline Is November, Enter Fee, $40-$50, All Genres including animation is welcome, www.tribecafilmfestival.org . 6. Seattle International Film Festival Started in 1995 in Seattle Washington has one of the longest film festivals ever, twenty five day event!! has 250 films in there line up, had a number of American Independent films and a wide range of international debuts, attracts a lot of prominent critics. If your interested in submitting your film, Entry Deadline Late May-June, Entry Fee $25-$70, all Genres are accepted, www.seattlefilm.com .

 7. Los Angeles Film Festival Started in 1995 the LAFF got a huge boost after being taken over by the independent Feature Project and has by far one of the biggest prizes then other festival. The largest prize is 50,000 cash for best Narrative Feature and 25,000 cash prize for best documentary, this is definitely the contest you want to enter to your film in hopes to win those big cash prizes. Entry Deadline Mid February,  Entry Fee: Features $65, shorts $45, all Genres accepted, www.lafilmfest.com . 8. Telluride Film Festival Begin in 1974 in Colorado, transforms the whole city into a celebration of cinema,the telluride is a festival all about appreciation and love of film, its only 4 days long and it has lots of perks, if your interested in submitting your film for this film festival, Entry Deadline Mid July, Entry fee $25-$95 all Genres accepted, www.telluridefilmfestival.org .  9. SXSW Film Festival (South by southwest Film Festival) Austin is a party town and there's no better bash then the SXSW. The SXSW has lots of venue, the Alamo Drafthouse is where the movies are viewed,they have prominent guests and a very informative panel, this is a great opportunity to screen with  indie and mainstream movies in a very relaxed atmosphere. If your interested in submitting your film the Entry Deadline Early December, Entry Fee's $25-$50, most Genres accepted, if your interested in submitting you film, www.sxsw.com/film . Last but not least we have our number 10. Berlin Film Festival Begin in 1951 in Berlin, Germany, this is one of Europe's longest running, over 50 years and most prestigious event, beyond the competition, the European film market is in full effect, great place to network and met people so if your interested in submitting your film this one is wonderful also, Entry Deadline November, Entry Fee feature $150, short $60, www.berlinale.de  Just remember a very important piece of information, there are thousands of film festivals, these are just the top ten and most popular,if you don't make it into any of these, don't worry there are so many others to choose from and good luck.

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    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      7 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @NArculeta Thanks, I will def check it out, that's a wonderful Film Festival to show all films entered.

    • nArchuleta profile image

      Nadia Archuleta 

      7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      This has some great information -- I'm sharing it with my filmmaking friends. I also wrote a Hub on a free film festival that publishes ALL the films it receives: Kastav Film Festival. A friend of mine is one of the organizers. Check out the Hub!

    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      8 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @Baronhertzog, Your Welcome, and yes for the top ten they are pretty cheap, there are actually 1000s, I'm going to write a sequel and mention the others :-)

    • baronhertzog profile image

      baronhertzog 

      8 years ago from Dallas, TX

      I had no idea there were so many! Thanks for the Hub! I'll have to try each of these because they are actually pretty cheap.

    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      8 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @EvolvedPictures ThankYou, these are the best film festivals to get your work out there, I will def check out your short film and critic it :-)

    • profile image

      Evolved Pictures 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the top festivals to enter your film into! We've just completed a short and a feature and so far we've entered them into a couple of festivals! We'll certainly be taking your list into consideration and be entering our films into your suggestions! If you'd like to check our indie film projects out at www.evolved-pictures.com we'd love to hear your thoughts!

    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      8 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @JoJokay Thanks alot.

    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 

      8 years ago from USA

      Great hub and very informative.

    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      8 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @Little Narrative, Your so welcome, hopefully soon I can enter one :-)

    • profile image

      little narrative 

      8 years ago

      Thanks so much for sharing, will have a go at these... first time

    • cherrycrime26 profile imageAUTHOR

      January Moon 

      9 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      @Dexter it was actually a dark love type film, kind of like an opera, the music told the story, but it was jazz and deep beats that told story, im actually just wrapping things up, and I was looking for film festivals to enter it, so I decided the information I found, I would share with others.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      9 years ago from United States

      Hi Cherrycrime26. I have been considering doing a short film. Thanks for this information. I am curious to know what your first short film was about.

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