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Film Festivals & tips

Read more about how important film festivals are for your film, what we can do for you and check up on upcoming ‘festival submission deadlines’.

still from Sweet Dreams (Ena Sendijarevic, NL 2023)
still from Sweet Dreams (Ena Sendijarevic, NL 2023)


Film festivals are important opportunities for the film industry to discover the most recent films on offer and to learn about films that are in production. Being selected for a festival creates publicity and awareness for a film – the so-called buzz which helps to sell a film.

Being selected for a festival and winning awards, raises a film’s market value. These achievements serve as a hallmark, a certification of quality. The moment a film is selected for a festival is the best possible time to launch the film internationally. Usually, festival exposure increases the odds of selling the film.

Every film is unique! Inevitably, this means the best international route for each film is unique too. Which festival is potentially the best launching pad for which film, depends on the film, the year, and the film’s momentum. Various factors determine these choices, including genre, subject matter, director, etc. That is why we always recommend getting in touch with us at an early stage if you want to discuss and set out your festival strategy with us.

To which festival should I send my film?

Obviously, the option of submitting a film to a festival depends on when the film is actually finalised. In addition, it’s also important that the film is suited to a particular festival’s programme. To determine which festivals are appropriate for your film, it’s important to start planning for festivals at an early stage and to decide where you would ideally like your film to have its international premiere. If you’re aiming for Berlin, Venice, Toronto or Cannes, you might have to wait until these festivals announce their selections before you can continue submitting to other, smaller festivals. Also, not all films will benefit from being selected for one of the abovementioned major festivals if the film isn’t in competition or screened as part of the main programme. You may do better to choose to screen your film in competition at a smaller festival, where the film will receive more exposure.

The SEE NL team is eager to help you set out your festival strategy. It’s a good idea to get in touch with us at an early stage, i.e., before the film is finished. We are in ongoing contact with festivals and festival programmers all around the world and we can bring new Dutch (co)productions to their attention.

Nothing is as changeable about film festivals as their submission deadlines, so keep a close eye on this. Deadlines are usually set about three months before festivals start. Festivals like Cannes, Berlin, and Sundance, all have very early deadlines, sometimes even up to six months before the start of the festival itself. The later you submit your film to a festival, the lower your probability of being selected. The slots fill up, so the later you submit your film, the more slots will already have been filled. In other words, it makes sense to submit your film as early as possible.

Submission deadlines

To give you a helping hand, we have compiled a list of the most important film festivals that have upcoming submission deadlines. This will enable you to get started right away:

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