Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Short Film's Sell-By Date - The Festival Circuit

Short Films have the shelf life of a year. Or at least that’s what I force myself to believe. Once the film’s wrapped, sealed, and slapped with a bow, it has exactly one year to make the festival run before it starts to curdle. Therefore, with this self-inflicted time clock, it’s critical for me to map out a path that’s both strategic and realistic.

Initially, I hit up the top Tiers first. The crème-de-la-crème. The Holy Grails of the festival circuit. Anything in the same family as Sundance and Cannes would constitute A-Level -- submitted with the most jaded grain of salt. I’m a realist and understand the likelihood of acceptance, however my cynicism is usually overshadowed by two things: Pride and Determination. I make these projects because I’m proud of them and if I’m not willing to take a chance, then what the hell am I doing in this industry?

Next stop on the Festival journey: The Tier B festivals (Sedona, San Francisco, etc). The Susan Lucci’s of the bunch. The festivals that receive an exponentially large turnout, exposure, and critical praise, though may not have the same amount of prestige as the aforementioned tier.

The final submissions usually consist of genre specifics (gay & lesbian, experimental, etc.), International festivals, and frankly, any festival that’ll waive their submission fee (festivals are expensive!).

So there you have it -- my personal road map for Short Films. Do they have shelf lives? Like I said, yes, I believe they do… even feature films do. Do they ever die? Not in the slightest. I, along with many other people, put our souls in these little projects. The amount of love contributed into each frame is so diligent it becomes much more than just a movie…

… It becomes timeless.

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