How to make a successful festival film?

1) Get to know the right people

In order to get your film selected by a film festival, the easiest way is to know some festival organisers. So whenever you’re at a film festival, smile and be really nice to all the festival people. Don’t be too pushy with your DVD screener – make friends and be social – even with people who are annoying and who you don’t like.

2) Pimp up your Filmography and CV

If you don’t have the possibility to lobby your film in person to someone, try to pimp up your filmography and CV to get noticed. A successful filmmaker attracts festivals!

  • Expand your filmography. A really smart thing to do is to have your short film in Cannes Short Film Corner (anyone can register their film for around 100 euros). Then you can add to your CV, that your film has been to Cannes. Underdeveloped film festivals will think your film has to be good, as it has been in Cannes. The method can also be used with other Festivals, where you can pay your way in.
  • Send your film to as many festivals as possible. There are a LOT of film festival in the world. Seek the tiny festivals and submit your film – you’ll most likely be selected and this way you’ll have more screenings on your festival history. Other festivals will think that your film must be good, as it has been to so many festivals!
  • If possible, move to an exotic country or at least make exotic co-productions. A filmmaker from Faroe Islands is so much more notable than a filmmaker from France.
  • Have an interesting biography. A good way is to have worked in an interesting profession e.g. “was a burlesque dancer / worked at a morgue before started filmmaking”.

3) Add winning factors to your film content

To make an award winning film, you have to have the right content in your film as well, as only sometimes a good CV and filmography are enough to get awarded at a festival.

  • A really smart thing to do is to give your film a notable name that won’t be missed (e.g. WATCH OBAMA NOT NAKED). Try your best so your film can’t be missed.
  • Make films about generally accepted, universal topics. Films that have too strong opinions about life – or a too unique style – are usually not awarded. In most cases the jury consists of a heterogenic group of other filmmakers, and Festival awards are usually compromises.
  • Don’t make anything too beautiful, as if jealousy is awaken in the jury in a wrong way, you will not get awarded.
  • Make a humorous film. Sad and gloomy films don’t usually win. If you build your story like a joke, with a punchline at the end, your film will be better remembered.
  • Remember to add some depth to you film, so it doesn’t look too shallow. It is good to have a link to some “current universal problem” in the film, e.g. oppression of any cultural group. Create the impression that you care about the world, but remember to be entertaining.
  • Add a cute animal to your film (if you don’t have any animals appearing in your film, it’s always easy to add some birds or a butterfly as the last shot of your film to give it a metaphorical feeling.)
  • The median IQ of human population is 100. Keep this in mind and don’t make films that are too intellegent.

4) The most important thing

If you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you are sure to have success in film festivals, or:

  • You can also just give the finger to these guidelines and submit your film to the International Random Film Festival. Our selection process is random anyway, as well as the awards. With us, all you need is luck.


How the Random Film Festival selects films