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Liam

I'm thinking about starting a film festival...

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So I kind of want to start the smallest film festival ever… I’d be curious to hear feedback

I like the idea of starting something as a way of meeting people and getting somewhere for myself, but also as a way of doing something for others that I wish was done for me way back when. I also think we’re just due for a revolution… and I don’t know if I’ll be able to start it, but I’m so sick of every other option right now.

Channel 101 is a bit of an inspiration for this maybe, though I don’t love their format, and maybe that has become slightly too big now anyway and lost a little bit of its original charm.

I want it to be entirely inclusive, no submission fee, not one gets rejected (unless they have a budget etc and know that they’re too big for us).

So it would have to stay small but still be fun.

If we get too much interest, we’d have to rent a big venue, maybe get a sponsor, charge a submission fee, turn people away, which all sounds like what I’m trying to avoid… And if no one is interested, it can’t happen.

I’d probably want to keep it kinda local, which could help make it only filmmakers who are actually going to show up.

Maybe I could get some guest speakers. I do know a couple people…

Filmmakers could talk about their films.

And it would just be one night, so people wouldn’t be tempted to only show up for their own films, which is the worst.

Anyway, does this sound like something any of you would be interested in? Just trying to gauge reactions. Like maybe it’s actually unappealing that no one gets rejected?

The idea probably needs a lot of work. Please let me know if you have any input.

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There is a local one here called The Rocket City Film Festival that has a very low submission fee ($15, i  think) and is only one night with mostly local-ish films. They have a very cool small venue but i don't know if they turn any submissions down. They accepted a couple of mine. The thing they are missing from what you mentioned is discussion. I was pretty disappointed that every one split as soon it was over and the groups there with a film clustered together, not much networking. They didn't even introduce the filmmakers in attendance.

What you're talking about would be great. Go for it.

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

So I kind of want to start the smallest film festival ever… I’d be curious to hear feedback

I like the idea of starting something as a way of meeting people and getting somewhere for myself, but also as a way of doing something for others that I wish was done for me way back when. I also think we’re just due for a revolution… and I don’t know if I’ll be able to start it, but I’m so sick of every other option right now.

Channel 101 is a bit of an inspiration for this maybe, though I don’t love their format, and maybe that has become slightly too big now anyway and lost a little bit of its original charm.

I want it to be entirely inclusive, no submission fee, not one gets rejected (unless they have a budget etc and know that they’re too big for us).

So it would have to stay small but still be fun.

If we get too much interest, we’d have to rent a big venue, maybe get a sponsor, charge a submission fee, turn people away, which all sounds like what I’m trying to avoid… And if no one is interested, it can’t happen.

I’d probably want to keep it kinda local, which could help make it only filmmakers who are actually going to show up.

Maybe I could get some guest speakers. I do know a couple people…

Filmmakers could talk about their films.

And it would just be one night, so people wouldn’t be tempted to only show up for their own films, which is the worst.

Anyway, does this sound like something any of you would be interested in? Just trying to gauge reactions. Like maybe it’s actually unappealing that no one gets rejected?

The idea probably needs a lot of work. Please let me know if you have any input.

Where in the world are you located? 

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i like your idea @Liam! i think the fundamentals are there... one night, more of a party than an awards show (?), sounds like fun!

what i would say is, find a venue, get some pricing, see about guest speakers (not the ones that antifa shows up for unless youre going that direction), and see if this event can be produced for little to no money. stuff adds up!

if youre trynna keep it frugal, an informal BYOB thing could be cool! feels very grassroots-y :) 

and although ofc in ohio you dont have the filmmaker base of LA, in SoCal youre competing with EVERYTHING. fookin EVERYTHING. virtually endless options for entertainment. so, rallying ppl to go to a "happening" is a whole different story... and its a huge accomplishment to get any attention at all. so theres a major silver lining there!

additionally: make it look sicc. the graphic design of channel 101 dot com had me clicking away in .25 seconds... if its the irony/comedy channel then ok, but you want to LOOK professional in your advertising... the only way you rlly can with no money right lol

anyway, i say go for it! i might go if i was around and thats saying a lot bc i hate doing things ;) 

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11 hours ago, Liam said:

So I kind of want to start the smallest film festival ever… I’d be curious to hear feedback

I like the idea of starting something as a way of meeting people and getting somewhere for myself, but also as a way of doing something for others that I wish was done for me way back when. I also think we’re just due for a revolution… and I don’t know if I’ll be able to start it, but I’m so sick of every other option right now.

Channel 101 is a bit of an inspiration for this maybe, though I don’t love their format, and maybe that has become slightly too big now anyway and lost a little bit of its original charm.

I want it to be entirely inclusive, no submission fee, not one gets rejected (unless they have a budget etc and know that they’re too big for us).

So it would have to stay small but still be fun.

If we get too much interest, we’d have to rent a big venue, maybe get a sponsor, charge a submission fee, turn people away, which all sounds like what I’m trying to avoid… And if no one is interested, it can’t happen.

I’d probably want to keep it kinda local, which could help make it only filmmakers who are actually going to show up.

Maybe I could get some guest speakers. I do know a couple people…

Filmmakers could talk about their films.

And it would just be one night, so people wouldn’t be tempted to only show up for their own films, which is the worst.

Anyway, does this sound like something any of you would be interested in? Just trying to gauge reactions. Like maybe it’s actually unappealing that no one gets rejected?

The idea probably needs a lot of work. Please let me know if you have any input.

Nice idea. Start small. Limit sublissions to like 20 short films initially. And the shorter the films the better (I went to a short film festival recently, where films were upto 30 mins long, and some were very difficult to watch).

Get some alcohol company on board (it could be your local brewery) or some food guysè. So that for the submission fee, you get a free pint Free, along with the ticket. People always want freebies. And for non film audiences, shorts are initially a little difficult to sell.

I used to attend a large film festival almost religiously and do a marathon watching like 5 films daily, for 5-6 days (I bunked all work during the festival week). I have relocated cities since, but TBO after the festival got all political and stopped giving early bird discounts and discounts to filmmakers I stopped attending. Also, their fee like doubled. I felt they were just mismanaging or scaming people after I discovered how much funding they were getting.

I guess the most important thing for a festival is to connect with the audience. 

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I have work in several film festivals, even created one from scratch. Mostly when there were 10% of the festivals that now exists. 

Main factors:

Public: You need people watching the films, besides the boy/girl/friends of directors. Maybe you can sync your festival with some other event that assures you people. All the festivals that survive do so because they have a public. 

Selection: Local short-films are a good start for easiness, but most will probably suck (sorry for the lack of optimism). So either accept only short ones (less than 5 minutes) or comedies, you can't accept ALL unless you hate humanity and your public. Most directors of shortfilms that suck probably won't be happy to talk about their work. You can embrace "suckness" (?) and do a trash comedy festival. Or a 24 minutes to do your trash film competition. 

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@Xavier Plágaro Mussard see, I was kinda thinking if it's mostly the filmmakers that would be fine, since we're keeping it small anyway and not trying to become famous. Accepting all of them was like the entire point of it too, not caring if they "suck" because idk if my films suck either, and I'm probably mostly doing it for exactly those people. I also think they'd all be happy to talk about it.. I don't know if they would submit their film if THEY were embarrassed about their own films and thought they sucked.

@sanveer I could see some benefit to really limiting the run times, in case the others are going to have a hard time sitting through it. There might be only so far you can go to be accepting and understanding of others in your postion.. good stuff to think about, thanks guys!

 

Maybe I could scatter in some really short "ringers" from really good filmmakers I know? Who probably won't attend, but just to give it some momentum?

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Cool idea, but there is a lot of planning and money needed for a one night event. Even if you’re using a free room at a local library it will take 6 months and a few thousand dollars to pull off because you have to prepare for the worst.

For instance, my friend is a director of a small film festival. Everything was going well at the venue they were using until the morning of the fest and the projector broke. They had to scrape together a bunch of money to go and rent a new projector.

Luckily the place they used had a concession stand but that is something to consider as well... you need refreshments, parking, accessible bathrooms.

It sounds fun to get 20-30 films together and have an all inclusive, free event, but nothing is that simple. Then you also have to consider the schedule of the shorts or films. Requests from filmmakers to go in a certain place in the schedule because they have something else to do. Sometimes free creates a perception that it isn’t “real” so people become more pushy and expecting.

However, I think it’s a cool idea and could be fun. To start small, I would try and keep it local. Perhaps start a film club in your area and do some type of 48 hour filmmaking fest. Or a 7 day to make a 7 minute film that culminates with a showing of the films. This will limit your attendance for the first year while you go through the growing pains of putting together a small event.

Good luck, it sounds fun. 

Or if you want to be really hip and are willing to take the time and raise the money, you could market the festival as an underground fest that only accepts films that were rejected from major/minor festivals. You could probably get some press and could appeal to a lot of filmmakers. Just come up with a hip name for the fest... Midwest Film Rejects or just Film Rejects Fest. Idk, just spitballing. 

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Insurance. Don't forget to get insurance for the event. Someone slips on a spilled soft drink and next thing you know, you are paying for somebody's hip replacement. (most likely the venue won't even think about you renting it out until you come up with insurance that indemnifies the venue owners.)

Find local retailers to try and sponsor your festival as well by giving away gift certificates or swag bags or whatever they can donate to promote themselves and generate buzz for the festival.

@mercer

Filmjects??? Reject Fest??? Reject Quest??? Loserpalooza???

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Seems like a cool idea. I'd focus on staying small at first, and maybe even having it be informal. There are lots of generic local festivals, but few that are that interesting. Something small, a starting place to find collaborators, could be cool. If you're going to accept everyone, maybe put a tight limit on how long each short can be. I agree with that.

I've heard similar things about Channel 101 being a more insular and self-serving community than it once was. It's sort of turned into what it was a reaction against. But I wouldn't let that sour you on submitting to other festivals entirely! If you like Channel 101 stuff, make a Channel 101 show.

The difficulty with being really really creative is that your ideas exist BECAUSE they're unusual and innovative. And so if there are non-creative criteria for entrance somewhere, and the more established the venue the more established the criteria generally, the least creative stuff is valued at the low end or entry level (it ticks the boxes) and the most creative stuff at the high end (it innovates). So you won't be at the level of high end stuff, but you're too creative for the low end stuff, and it's going to be unduly challenging and you wonder what's wrong with you. Well, the question is also what's wrong with the world. 

Really creative people often never get past the entry level. This is a real problem with companies, the visionary CEO eventually gets replaced with very conservative thinkers. You need to learn to think like your audience, and meet them half way.

If this is a problem for you, or you've faced rejection, what to do about it is up to you. Making a festival on your terms is a good idea–it's where Slamdance and Channel 101 were born, even if they later sort of turned into what they began as being defined against.

But if you see stuff you like coming out of Slamdance and Channel 101, maybe meet them halfway, and once you break into those communities, be even more and more creative. Once you get in, then you can push the boundaries more and more! Either way, look for other films you like, and find collaborators. Don't be myopic.

I'd start small either way! Five-minute run times aren't a bad thing. The challenge is to pack all the creativity into it! Or hone your idea down to the best, smallest version of itself. Your next film won't be your best unless you let it be your last. So keep creating! And don't look (too far) back.

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@Liam uhhh yeah, @mercer and @Mark Romero 2 make some v good points coming from the perspective of......... uhhmm reality lol

i was kind of picturing a lil more CZW than WWE 😂

1280x720-pBh.jpg

wrestlemania-success-full-2017.jpg

make everything as easy and cheap as possible. to paraphrase robert rodriguez, you dont need a good venue, you need a SHITTY venue. do it outside! summers coming

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12 minutes ago, kaylee said:

@Liam uhhh yeah, @mercer and @Mark Romero 2 make some v good points coming from the perspective of......... uhhmm reality lol

i was kind of picturing a lil more CZW than WWE 😂

1280x720-pBh.jpg

wrestlemania-success-full-2017.jpg

make everything as easy and cheap as possible. to paraphrase robert rodriguez, you dont need a good venue, you need a SHITTY venue. do it outside! summers coming

I think holding a film festival in the middle of a corn field that you have to traverse through a corn maze to get there would rock! I mean, really play up the theme of Iowa. 😉

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The novelty of getting farmer to let you do it in his cornfield or next to his cornfield would be pretty great.  Gonzo the thing and make the craptacular-ness of it all part of the fun.

Accept film only under 5 minutes so you can watch a bunch of 'em in 4 hours.

Suggest charging 5 bucks a submission if only to offset the costs of throwing a halfway decent party with snacks and beers for one night.  I'd imagine you might get around 200 or so submissions on FilmFreeway.  Maybe at that low price a few more.  Maybe give a 50% discount to regional filmmakers.

The film festival I'm part of runs a 25% discount during the 1st week of "early bird" submissions.  Basically, it's a $15 submission fee 'til Monday.  Pretty cheap.  If any of you want to submit, it's a great festival simply because the location is awesome.  Here's the festival:

https://filmfreeway.com/BorregoSpringsFilmFestival

And here's the code: "25WORMS"

Any festival, especially a small one, takes a bunch of work though to make it special for the filmmakers.  If you're wanting to make it nice for those accepted in the fest and those attending, pretty much assume you'll be working a full time gig for a few months before the event.  Just wait 'til you're on the other side of the curtain and you'll get wise to why festival do things a certain way.  Don't feel like you can't break the mold though!

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