Make notes about the kinds of festivals that short film-makers can apply to, to have their works entered in.
There are various different festivals that short film-makers can apply to in order to have their short screened and hopefully get themselves noticed, these include:
Encounters International Film Festival - Established in 1995 and based in Bristol, the Encounters Festival is held around November every year. It has various different sponsors including Bristol City Council, South West Screen, The South West Of England Regional Development Agency, Skillset, Aardman, FilmFour, ITV West and the University of Bristol.
KinoFilm - KinoFilm is held in Manchester and helps to support film-makers from the Manchester area by giving them and their shorts priority to be screened at their festival Kino Shorts 10. Kino Shorts 10 was established in 1995 and has since supported over 3000 individual film-makers and screened over 20,000 short films from millions of international submissions. As well as their yearly festival they have also created the ‘Shorts for Cinema Tour’ which enables short films to be screened in various independent cinemas across the North of England. KinoFilm is mainly funded by The UK Film Council with their aim being to create an awareness and understanding of the short film format through the exhibition, distribution and marketing of shorts.
Soho Shorts - Soho Shorts is also known as the Rushes Festival. Established in 1998 and run in London’s West End, it is a 10 day event with over 140 free screenings and seminars in both bars and cinemas. The festival has various different competitive categories including ‘Short Film’, ‘Newcomers’, ‘International’, ‘Long Form’, ‘Documentary’, ‘Animation’, ‘Music Video’ and ‘Broadcast Design’ with their main sponsors being the BFG (Big Film Group), Rushes, Sony and the Short Film Festival. The festival also has strong connections with BBC Film, Fujifilm Recording and the UK Screen Association.
Short Film Festival - Established in 1956 and held within London, Short Films is a major ten day event with over 200 films being screened at ten top London venues. It is the UK’s largest public event with it’s key sponsor being The UK Film Council.
Leeds International Film Festival - Leeds Film are unique in the fact that they screen any genre of film and believe that anything under 45 minutes is classed as a short. They have well-known sponsors such as VUE Cinema, The UK Film Council and Leeds City Council as well as also being supported by the University of Leeds.
How do the festivals market and promote themselves?
There are many different ways to market and promote a festival depending on who the target market is. For example social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook may be used to target a young, student audience while print advertising may be successful in targeting older audiences by appearing in the film sections of newspapers and magazines. Print advertisements in media magazines such as ‘Sight&Sound’ are another successful way of promoting your festival as these magazines will be read by up-and-coming film-makers and audiences interested in attending your festival. Leeds Film helps promote themselves and gain an audience by selling tickets for their festivals on their website.
Why is it important to be screened at one?
It is tremendously important to be screened at a film festival, whether it be a national festival such as Leeds Film or a major international festival such as Cannes, there will be a wide range of industry professionals at these festivals allowing your film to gain recognition and gain you criticism and advice which could make or break your film-making career.
Who attends them?
Festivals are attended by literally everyone from within the film industry with film critics, directors, agencies and even the stars of the films themselves making an appearance. The press and it’s journalists are also there commenting on the films and the celebrities who have attended. The general public may also attend festivals however this may depend on which festival it is.
How are they supported?
Festivals are usually supported by a wide variety of different sponsors with the city in which the festival is held being a key sponsor; Leeds Film and the Encounters Festival in Bristol are sponsored by both their city councils and universities. Regional Screen Agencies and The UK Film Council are also major sponsors of UK festivals, alongside other media institutions such as FilmFour, the BBC and Sony.
What have you noticed about the structure/style of the sites?
The majority of the sites are fairly similar with all but KinoFilm’s site being aesthetically pleasing due to the smart, hi-tech look of the sites and fresh colours used; they are also all easy to use and find your way around. The Encounters Festival website looks young and appealing due to a yellow and black colour scheme and a video player which shows images of several different short films; however there is hardly any information on the site and so therefore I find this site to be one of the least successful. KinoFilm’s site is the complete opposite of the Encounters site with it being a basic, un-engaging website that is neither appealing or enticing although it has a great deal of information and the site is easy to navigate your way around. Soho Shorts and Leeds Film were the most similar sites with both having a smart, hi-tech look to them and a fair amount of information featured on both sites with Soho Shorts having various different sections dedicated to the festival including information on the judges and sponsors while Leeds Film included an A-Z of films shown at the festival. Short Films was also fairly similar to both Soho Shorts and Leeds Film’s sites but had limited yet informative information.
What are the other key national festivals for short films?
There are a few other national festivals for short films including The London Film Festival. The London Film Festival is part of the British Film Institute and is funded by the National Lottery. It is sponsored by The Times newspaper and features an array of different awards mainly dedicated to feature-length films; there is also a section on the website dedicated to shorts called ‘Short Cuts & Animation’.
What are the key international festivals for short films?
There are several key festivals for short films including The LA Shorts Fest which is the largest short film festival in the world with over 80,000 attendees. Held in Hollywood, California it is unlike other short film festivals as it shows any genre ranging from action/adventure to romance. It has a high celebrity profile with many famous faces such as Scarlett Johansson and Courtney Cox attending. However these celebrities don’t just attend the festival, actress Demi Moore even screened her first directorial debut ‘Streak’, featuring her daughter Rumer Willis, here.
The Aspen Short Film Fest is another key international festival with over 30,000 participants. Established in 1979 and committed to showing original content only the festival offers free enrichment opportunities to help broaden individual skills across the film industry.
Cannes is one of the biggest and most well known film festivals in the world with thousands of big names attending. Held in France it has two awards for short films these are: The Jury Prize for Short Film and The Palm D’or Award for Short Film.
Finally there is Worldwide Shorts, an annual short film festival held in Toronto, Canada. Worldwide Shorts is credited by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and has over 3000 short films submitted for screening every year with 250 of these submissions being chosen and screened over the course of five days. Winners of the categories Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short are even eligible to be nominated for The Oscars.
Find out about any national or international student film festivals.
There are few national student film festivals; one of these is Screen Test - The National Student Film Festival. Established in 2004 and held in Bristol over the course of three days it is made up of a variety of workshops and celebrity guest speakers as well as screenings of films and even an awards ceremony.
The Cambridge International Student Film Festival is one of the only international student film festivals and is the first international student-led film festival in the UK “…bringing together student film-makers, industry professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world” to showcase shorts and celebrate emerging talent in a three day event. Cash prizes of up to £250 are also available due to generous sponsorship.