Film festivals are important events for film makers. First of all, of course, they are a good opportunity to show a finished film to a large audience of interested viewers. Furthermore, it is the number one place to find parties to involve in a film, in whatever stage it is.
Networking at film festivals
Most festivals offer not only screenings for the public at large but also a platform for pre-funding and sales in which (co-)producers, international distributors, sales agents and festival programmers participate. This is an excellent situation for film makers to widen their international network and to establish contacts for future projects.
A number of film festivals are organised in the Netherlands. The most important are the Netherlands Film Festival (NFF), the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The major international film festivals are those of Berlin, Cannes and Venice, but there are also many other national and international festivals. Some of them specifically target a genre or theme, or have a programme that only admits films of a certain length (for example, shorter than 20 minutes). There are also special festivals for student films such as Sehnsüchte in Potsdam, the Poitiers Film Festival, and Screentest in Greenwich, London. Cinedans is a festival exclusively for dance films. It is held every year in EYE.
It is important for a producer to determine the festival strategy of a film well in advance in order to take into account the conditions of the various festivals. All festivals have an entry deadline, which usually closes three months before the festival is due to take place, or even earlier for large festivals. In addition, big festivals sometimes require the (world) première of a film. The first step in determining a festival strategy is therefore to decide which festival to target for the international première. You have to wait for the selection of this festival before submitting your entry to other festivals.
When a film is selected for a festival, that is very good for publicity for both the film and its makers. The film is put in the picture and attracts the interest of film producers, sales agents and distributors, as well as of other film festivals. The selection of a prominent festival is often regarded as a mark of quality. Besides, when a film is submitted for a competition, it may win a prize that can contribute to boosting the publicity for a film.