I admit, I'm not sure this Q&A site is right for this question, as my question does not deal with technical aspects of film production... But the site description says, "Q&A for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of audio, video, and media creation," so I hope this is the right spot.

I recently helped a friend produce a short zombie comedy. Throughout the making of the film we have grown a small local cult following.

Now, we are ready to submit the film to film festivals. Is it good practice to ask our supporters to contact the program director of each film festival showing their support for the inclusion of our film into their festival?

My background in website design, so my thought was to make a simple form letter, where each supporter would simply enter their name and email address to have the email sent to the program director.

My worries, I don't want to show my lack of knowledge in the film festival arena, hurt the chance of the film's inclusion or be disrespectful to the the festival.

Thank you.


Informally, I would think this would be a bad idea - you really don't want to annoy the directors by spamming them with emails.

I speak to a lot of festival directors on behalf of my band (music, not video, but I feel the principle holds true anyway) and what they want to see is evidence of your following, examples of your work, and positive evidence that you will bring in a crowd.

So of high value are:

  • Social networking - creating 'the buzz' - on Twitter, Facebook etc - not just from you, but form supporters
  • Targeting high profile supporters or sponsors to provide advertising, merchandise etc
  • Providing a simple bio and materials for the festival to review and then use

And above all making it easy for them to put on your material and attract a crowd - don't annoy them, just show them why it makes sense.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reply and your points are good, much along my same lines of thought. I gave an upvote, but I am also hoping for a more authoritative answer. – Travis Pflanz Dec 26 '12 at 18:36

Without being able to find a definitive answer, I logged into my Withoutabox account and began emailing festival directors and simply asking them.

Being that there is no absolute format to how films are chosen for festivals, I received a WIDE range of replies, including:

  • Support from fans would help if the fans are local to the festival who would be likely to purchase festival tickets.
  • Attendance of the filmmakers to the festival is likely to boost probability of acceptance.
  • Would affect chances negatively.
  • Would affect chances positively.

I suppose, all in all, it is beneficial to email each festival and simply ask the program/festival director.

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