Read Our Top Tips For Attending Film Festivals

Next week, our Film Production students and tutors are off to FEST Film Festival in Portugal. To get the most out of these kinds of experiences, we have some film festival tips for you.

FEST New Directors | New Films Festival is focused on up-and-coming filmmakers and provides a professional space to show and promote work, develop skills and opportunities, and build new audiences for independent cinema. Students will take part in a full programme of exceptional masterclasses from leading industry professionals, a pitching forum judged by world-renowned experts, a film festival of debut directors and a location on the beautiful Portuguese coast.

On Thursday June 22nd at 20:00, we will host a special screening of dBs Berlin [now Catalyst] students’ films as part of the Filmmakers Corner (you can see the programme here).

Read on for our 14 top film festival tips.

1. Bring your film

It’s always a good idea to take copies of your film with you to any festival. Make sure to take versions of your project in different formats. You never know how it might need to be screened – the technician might need a particular format in order to playback your film on the big screen.

2. Take your phone

Upload all videos, trailers, showreels, posters, anything and everything to your phone. Use it for self-promotion, as well for uploading Q&A and screening pics to social media when you’re in the moment.

3. Promote yourself

This includes bringing flyers, badges, stickers, key chains, posters, business cards – anything that’s going to get your film some added attention.

4. Know your story

Memorise your film synopsis, memorise your pitches (for upcoming projects that people might be interested in), and memorise your own story – people might want to know what your background in film is.

5. Follow up

Gather all those business cards together and follow up on all your new contacts. Carry a pen around with you and write on the business card if it helps you remember who gave it to you and what you spoke about, so you can reference it when following up (they might need the prompt!).

6. Stay tuned

Keep up to date with what’s trending, including television series or filmmakers. It makes for an excellent ice-breaker or even a meaningful conversation!

7. Keep updated online

Update all your facebook and social media sites, and update your own website with your most current material (showreels, filmography, blogs, news etc).

8. Get ready for Q&As

It’s always a good idea to prepare what you’d like to say for your Q&A. You should prepare your answers for typical audience questions such as What was your budget?What did you shoot on?Why did you want to tell this story? You might even hear some other questions like, I didn’t get the ending. Why is the film open-ended? Also, don’t forget to say thanks to your festival organisers!

9. Know the filmmakers and presenters

Get to know which big filmmakers are going to FEST Training Ground. Read up on their bios and remember their faces. You never know if you’ll see them outside of the events or in a cafe somewhere – why not ask them what they think of the festival so far? Also, prepare questions for them if you attend one of their master classes!

10. Create a daily schedule

Get involved in as many activities and events as possible. Make the most provided by this opportunity!

11. Say hello

Be open minded to meeting other filmmakers. You’ll be surprised to make connections at a bar, in a cafe or while waiting in line for an event.

12. Share the love

If you’ve seen a great film or met an amazing new filmmaker, why not let others know about it? Tell people about it on social media, and also let other festival-goers know about it too.

13. Bring a small bag

You need somewhere to store your business cards and promotional material while you scoot around the festival, and a place to keep material that you receive from other filmmakers too.

14. Enjoy yourself

... but don’t get too crazy with the free beverages. Keep your composure.

Find out more about our film production courses here.