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You’ve wrapped up on post-production and now applying to film festivals is the next step in getting some recognition – and hopefully revenue. Indie film festivals are the premier network for like-minded peers and viewers to mingle and talk shop, leading to indie film distribution deals for a lucky few. But any indie filmmaker can benefit by taking advantage of these top 5 things you need to know about applying to film festivals.

1. Not All Films Will Make The “Run”, But May Be “Filler”

Most film festivals aim to be big events that make money for the organizers by attracting as many people to attend as possible. SXSW in Austin is a good example because of the periphery happenings around it that draw people not necessarily interested in indie films. Getting your film into such a well-known festival is going to bring some good exposure regardless, but not as much if it’s just a “filler” among the highly-rated productions making a “run” through it. Filler films could just be used as the name implies – filling gaps in between showcases for what the event prioritizes. You never know how well yours might be received, however, and it’s good to still focus on networking and getting the most from your showing.

2. To Succeed, You Should Be Applying To Multiple Film Festivals

Don’t become pigeonholed by only applying to film festivals your favorite indie filmmaker won at. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you can build great word-of-mouth by showing at lesser-known ones, too. Sundance only has a 1 percent acceptance rate, and all of the big names on the circuit are bombarded with tens of thousands of submissions a year. Don’t let that discourage you from applying to them, though; the more submissions you turn in the greater chances for success you will have.

3. The Work You Put In Pre-Festival And Post-Festival Can Be More Important Than The Festival Itself

Success starts in the production phase, and your art should be designed to be well-received. Make sure you’re making a film for a targeted audience and the festivals will know if it’s a right fit for acceptance. And while getting into any of the indie film festivals will provide bragging rights, you need to use that steam to keep generating more success. Advertise your laurels to get more people to notice.

4. Use Streaming Platforms To Generate Buzz

It’s all about the bottom line. If you can show people watch your film, film festivals will be prodded to add it to their lineup. With a streaming platform like Film Highway, you can prove viewership numbers and generate a buzz to attract attendance.

5. Network!

The people at indie film festivals are your friends. Indie film distribution doesn’t come from big marketing budgets, but from networking with similarly passionate movie-goers and indie filmmakers. So get around, meet people, and share business cards!

Film Highway offers a streaming service for those who share that passion. Build your network with us at FilmHighway.com