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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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My favorite section comes very early on in the book called "Checklist for Art Film Viewing." Chris Holland provides you with a list of cliche scenes to avoid putting in your film (for example, Someone sits at a bar smoking and drinking shots or martinis while a worldly wise bartender waits on them. Points if bartender is wiping down the bar with a rag.) Film festival judges and programmers can and will reject a movie if too many of these cliche scenes show up.
Chris Holland also provides his email address if you have any questions. He responded to my query in an hour. Truly a must have for first time filmmakers.
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.