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Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook For Independent Filmmakers Paperback – October 6, 2008
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About the Author
Chris Holland has been writing about movies since 1991. In 1996 he co-founded Stomp Tokyo, a film review web site described by the New York Times as "a place to indulge one's questionable cinematic taste." In 2003 Stomp Tokyo published a compendium of reviews in a book called "Reel Shame: Bad Movies and the Hollywood Stars Who Made Them." After moving in Austin in 2005, Chris spent two years at the Austin Film Festival as a marketing coordinator and now puts his expertise in movies and film festivals to use at B-Side Entertainment as the Manager of Festival Operations and as a marketing consultant for independent filmmakers looking to make a mark on the festival scene.
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Top Customer Reviews
1. Before You Submit
2. When You Submit
3. While You Wait
4. When You Get The Call
5. The Pre-Festival Push
6. At the Festival
Holland's enthusiasm is apparent, and he gives solid advice about Withoutabox, organization, and promotion as well as an amusing list of Filmmaking cliches. There is a reiteration that you need goals going into festivals, and a review of the basic marketing materials used for them. There are also good checklists to end each section.
That said the book feels very much geared to the neophyte filmmaker setting out on his very first festival run. A lot of common sense and little new information for twenty five dollars. Much is rehashed here, although in a convenient form all in one place.
Some books that I would recommend are Chris Gore's Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, Friends Fans and Followers by Scott Kirsner, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.
If you are very new, this is for you, but I find it a little too expensive for what is offered.
Frankly, I suspect him of orchestrating negative reviews for competing film festival books.
Apparently working at film festivals is not working out well for him cause he didn't last very long at the Atlanta Film Festival. Now he is working at the Portland Film Festival. I ignored his advice about applying to tier 1 first. I think short films should not be held out of the circuit to wait for for Sundance, etc., especially if your first or second film. Festivals don't have the same rules for short films they do for feature films, so why should you have the same strategy? I also ignored his advice about never asking for fee waivers. Frankly, the festivals I got into with only one exception were the ones for which I got a fee waiver, and the one I paid for and git in gave me a reduced fee. He is apparently working for the Atlanta Film Festival now and was working for the Austin film festival so I don't think he is going to tell us anything the festivals don't want us to know. There is no harm in asking for a fee waiver, especially if you are a poor student and or your film(s) have already screened at festivals. I can assure you a large percentage of films get waivers despite what Chris Holland may tell you and all the big budget films ask for and receive waivers? The earlier you submit in the festival's submission period the more likely you will get the waiver and the more successful you or your film has been the more likely you will get the waiver. If no waiver is granted they will often offer to give you the early bird submission price. Festival programmers break their "rules" all the time, including allowing late submissions. They can only say no.
As for this book, most is just common sense or reminder lists.
Little things in the book really stuck with me, like don't be nervous at the Q and A. If they've stuck around, they already have some interest in you and the film.
Thanks for writing this, Chris. It was really great!
THE LAST LULLABY
The book is conveniently divided into chapters that comprehensively handle each stage of the process: Before you submit, When you submit, While you wait, When you get the call, The pre-festival push, At the festival, and Aftermath.
I am finding each chapter to be deeply informative. Holland breaks up the text into easy to follow bullet points and checklists so that it can function as a field manual as well as a text that you want to read ahead of festival time. Poignant anecdotes are interjected throughout an offer insight into some of Holland's broad experience in the film festival world. The advice is current and includes tips about [...], how to deal with rejection, and what steps to take when you get in.
I strongly recommend the book to anyone out there looking for a complete and thoroughly helpful guide to what can seem like a daunting process. As a reader, I feel privileged to receive the insider's advice I get every time I open the book.