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Monday, November 03, 2008

New Book on 'Film Festival Secrets' (and Free Copies for CinemaTech Readers!)

Christopher Holland has just published Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent Filmmakers.

It's an incredibly comprehensive roadmap to getting a film accepted by festivals -- and what to do once you're in, like working the crowd, dealing with media relations, and handling post-screening Q&A. I've never seen so much good advice about making the most out of festivals collected in one place.

Chris once worked for the Austin Film Festival as a marketing coordinator, and he's now the director of festival operations for B-Side Entertainment.

There's a great Web site related to the book, where Chris offers free digital copies.

He has also sent me a few paperback copies (retail value: $24.95) to give out to CinemaTech readers. If you're interested in getting your hands on a free copy, just post a comment below about the project you're working on now and the festivals you hope to get into. (Be sure to include your e-mail address.) Mailing costs are on me.

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  • Hey Scott,
    I'm working on a project now and could sure use the book. I'm the DP, editor, and special effects supervisor for Black Devil Doll. It's a low budget exploitation film that's been getting some heat. We've been invited to a few festivals, but we're still a ways from finishing it. That book could come in handy if we're able to go the festival route.

    John Osteen

    By Blogger Osteen, at 11:26 AM  

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    By Blogger GPSchnyder, at 11:28 AM  

  • Hi Scott,
    first of all you need to fix the link (no http:// in front) but thanks for the Site.

    I'm right now doing the Sound for my first feature, redliquid blues, a gun-fu blood opera. I'm the director/DP/cutter/FX-Guy for this one. As it'll be my first time joining the festival circus, this will be a must read.

    My Mail is GPSchnyder(a)
    The Website of the flick is

    By Blogger GPSchnyder, at 11:32 AM  

  • We are less than a year away from completing our film "strange frame: Love & Sax". We are trying to figure out the best festivals to put it in besides Annecy. We did open our production with a party at Annecy in 2005 where we received many accolades: “Ground breaking in terms of content, technique and budget.” - Animation World Network.

    We have been scraping along, but we landed our final mix at Skywalker early next Fall.

    Looking forward to reading it!

    GB Hajim

    By Blogger GBH, at 11:33 AM  

  • Hey Scott,
    I'm a DP that will be going to Alaska next summer to work on a super natural thriller.
    It's a small budget project.
    That book will sure come in handy.
    Darrell Essex

    By Blogger firstcinemapictures, at 2:00 PM  

  • I just finished post on my documentary, Rwanda: Hope Rises. It's about a married couple on either side of the ethnic divide (Hutu/Tutsi). The film tells how they survived the genocide, the forgiveness process they've had to go through and their decision to return to Rwanda and help rebuild.

    The book would be mighty handy, as I'm just getting ready to start submitting to festivals.

    Trevor Meier
    oscarmeier [at]

    By Blogger none, at 2:34 PM  

  • I'm putting together a compilation of short comedic videos and hoping to get into regional festival like the KC Jubilee festival and any that might like the weird sense of humor. You can see some of them at

    Ross Payton

    By Blogger Clockworkjoe, at 7:47 PM  

  • I recently directed an HD comedy about parents who spend the night in a preschool in order to get their kids on the enrollment list (based on a real experience). They end up talking about all the things parents think but never reveal in public. We shot it in three weekends at an elementary school over the summer.

    The plan is to submit to name recognition festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, Cinequest, and SXSW. In addition to that, I'll aim for lots of established regional festivals (Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Seattle, Phoenix, Newport Beach, etc) where a local screening might help target local parenting blogs/groups.

    My film festival plan is more about raising regional awareness than it is about scoring a distribution deal with the Weinsteins. My target audience is probably more likely to watch a DVD or iTunes download at home. Film festivals would help give a stamp of approval that would encourage dropping some cash on an obscure indie movie.
    front.ave (a) gmail dotcom

    By Blogger Mike Vogel, at 9:39 PM  

  • Hi Scott,
    I'm currently co-producing a documentary film on spirituality and the Boston Red Sox called "The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention" which looks at the powerful interactions between fans and ballplayers through the window of subtle energy, that mysterious force referred to by mystics and healers through the ages, a force which can now be explained by a host of new “weird science” experiments that are as provocative as they are sound.

    We've wrapped filming and are now in editing/post. The film includes interviews from noted scientists as well present and former Red Sox players and various members of sports media.

    We're hoping to target a few big name festivals (maybe not those in NY! LOL) and of course regional film festivals in New England (Boston Int'l, NHFF, RIIFF, etc.)

    In putting together this part of our distribution plan (festivals), I'd love to have a copy of the book.

    Thanks in advance,

    By Blogger Pinch Hit, at 7:36 AM  

  • My email address is: karen (dot) webb @ comcast (dot) net.


    Pinch Hit Productions

    By Blogger Pinch Hit, at 7:53 AM  

  • Hello Scott,
    Nice of you to offer the free books. I've got a couple of projects I've been trying to develop but I'm still in the pre-production stage of things, so maybe I'm not eligible. But, I'd consider buying the book if it was reasonably priced.

    You can see some of my work at, in case you're curious.

    By Blogger Nick Savides, at 8:35 AM  

  • Great to have a book out that attempts to untangle the mysteries of film festivals.
    In addition to SXSW, what other film festivals should I consider for Cyber Sapiens, a feature-length documentary on social media in the Internet age? I plan to wrap up Production by mid-december, raise funds for Post and complete editing by early next year.

    email: ornit (at) tinro (dot) com
    film website:

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8:36 AM  

  • Hi Scott,

    I am producing a great romantic drama titled Not Since You. We are in post production and just starting to apply for our premiere. We are out to Sundance, Slamdance, Berlin, SXSW and will soon hit up Tribeca, Cannes, Seattle, LA Film Festival, etc. I started reading the book and it's full of great information. I am finding we are doing a lot that is recommended but there is a lot of additional advice that I would love to use as we navigate the circuit. Thanks!

    Jane Kosek
    Wonder Ent.

    By Blogger Jane Kelly Kosek, at 9:39 AM  

  • I'm finishing a short film about a man wrestling with his deeply repressed sexuality while on holiday in Mexico. I hope to get it into Sundance no less!

    I'd love to read the book on Film Festival Secrets.

    By Blogger Helena Handbasket, at 11:44 AM  

  • Thanks so much for all your efforts for us filmmakers! If there are still copies of the book left, I would certainly appreciate it (and probably wear out the pages!). I am producing a hip-hop feature film about a female breakdancer that's just finishing post-production. We have to decide which festivals to show at, how to maneuver between the big fests and the niche fests, and all that.
    Thanks so much and please keep up the blog!

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1:19 PM  

  • All these projects sounds great - good luck to you all, and I can't wait to see them!

    I'm sending books to the folks below... but remember that the book is also available as a free download. My selection criteria were capricious, and sorry to all of CinemaTech's international readers, but I was biased towards US filmmakers just so I don't have to pay $10 each to mail these out....

    John from Black Devil Doll

    Karen from The Joy of Sox

    Elizabeth of B-Girl

    Trevor of Rwanda: Hope Rises


    By Blogger Scott Kirsner, at 3:41 PM  

  • Hello Scott;

    We're in the middle of a short film called "A Midwest Murder", the story of a teenage serial killer and his relationship with his father. We're shooting on XDCam and are hoping to get it into the Sundance/Slamdance/Austin festivals, but also many of the national and international fests that celebrate the short film. That book would sure come in handy.

    Anthony Wood
    Smoking Monkey Films

    By Blogger AngryAnthony, at 9:19 PM  

  • Hi Scott. I'm very grateful you're doing this great service! Please let me know if you still have any copies left! I've completed my thesis film, The Fault, and I've yet to add some FX, but I'd appreciate any insight on this muddled world of festivals... my email is miljenko+thefault dot info

    and you can view my trailer and reel at

    Thanks so much!


    By Blogger milenkos, at 12:14 AM  

  • Hello Scott: As a graduate study working on my thesis film, then comp copy would be a great asset. Planning to teach film history, criticism in the HBCU segment of academia, following some practical experience in CA & or NY film communities. Worked as a volunteer and programmer on small festivals and AFI in Dallas, two years at Sundance and one at Tribeca so far down the totem pole that lessons learned were few. Best wishes!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:20 PM  

  • Hi scott,
    Im working on a movie called "Ambition" about the lenghts people will go to to get their 15 minutes of fame...I'm trying to get it fininshed in time to meet the SXSW deadline..I could really use the book also. thanks


    By Blogger dfw all access, at 6:06 PM  

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    By Blogger FilmTiki, at 9:55 AM  

  • hi scott,

    we're launching a new service and strategic platform for filmmakers called FilmTiki in january 2009.

    one of our goals is to support independent movie makers on their way to international film festivals and help them to find the best strategy in promoting and support their movies.

    so, it would be really great to have a look at Film Festival Secrets to share those secrets with our users.

    Wolfgang Gumpelmaier

    By Blogger FilmTiki, at 10:06 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger mikehedge, at 5:59 AM  

  • wow neat! working on the huge collaborative documentary we shot out at Burning Man


    can I get a book?
    behedge at

    By Blogger mikehedge, at 6:01 AM  

  • Hey,

    I am working on a short named SIPLT, It is a film based on Hypnotism.

    I would like to send this film to various international film festivals, this book will really help us.

    Ranjeet Jha

    By Blogger Pawan Jha, at 2:47 PM  

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