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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 Paradise Drifters (Mees Peijnenburg, 2020)
Still from Paradise Drifters (Mees Peijnenburg, 2020)

Festivals

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:

Deadlines in December

New York International Children's Film Festival

New York, United States
03-03-2023 – 19-03-2023
Deadline: 01-12-2022

Website

Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival - cph:dox

Copenhagen, Denmark
15-03-2023 – 26-03-2023
Deadline: 01-12-2022

Website

Dresden International Short Film Festival - Filmfest Dresden

Dresden, Germany
18-04-2023 - 23-04-2023
Deadline: 01-12-2022

Website

Stuttgart International Animated Film Festival - Trickfilm Festival

Stuttgart, Germany
25-04-2023 – 30-04-2023
Deadline: 01-12-2022

Website

Tampere International Short Film Festival

Tampere, Finland
08-03-2023 – 12-03-2023
Deadline: 01-12-2022

Website

Aspen International Short Film Festival - Shortsfest

Aspen, United States
10-04-2023 – 15-04-2023
Deadline: 05-12-2022

Website

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images

Thessaloniki, Greece
02-03-2022 – 12-03-2022
Deadline: 08-12-2022

Website

The Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival - DocAviv

Tel Aviv, Israel
11-05-2023 – 20-05-2023
Deadline: 09-12-2022

Website

Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival - Barnefilmfestivalen

Kristiansand, Norway
25-04-2023 – 30-04-2023
Deadline: 15-12-2022

Website

Munich International Documentary Film Festival - Dok.Fest

Munich, Germany
03-05-2023 – 14-05-2023
Deadline: 16-12-2022

Website

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Santa Barbara, United States
08-02-2023 – 18-02-2023
Deadline: 16-12-2022

Website

Nyon International Documentary Film Festival - Visions Du Réel

Nyon, Switzerland
21-04-2023 – 30-04-2023
Deadline: 22-12-2022

Website

Hong Kong International Film Festival

Hong Kong, Hong Kong
30-03-2023 – 10-04-2023
Deadline: 31-12-2022

Website

Lisbon International Independent Film Festival - IndieLisboa

Lisbon, Portugal
27-04-2023 – 07-05-2023
Deadline: 31-12-2022

Website

Deadlines in January

Canadian International Documentary Festival - Hot Docs

Toronto, Canada
27-04-2023 – 07-05-2023
Deadline: 05-01-2023

Website

Busan International Short Film Festival

Busan, South Korea
25-04-2023 – 01-05-2023
Deadline: 05-01-2023

Website

Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle, United States
11-05-2023 – 21-05-2023
Deadline: 06-01-2023

Website

Vancouver Documentary Film & Video Festival - DOXA

Vancouver, United States
04-05-2023 – 14-05-2023
Deadline: 06-01-2023

Website

Osnabrück European Media Art Festival

Osnabrück, Germany
19-04-2023 – 23-04-2023
Deadline: 08-01-2023

Website

Tribeca Film Festival

New York, United States
07-06-2023 – 18-06-2023
Deadline: 18-01-2023

Website

Krakow Film Festival

Krakow, Poland
28-05-2023 – 18-06-2023
Deadline: 31-01-2023

Website

Deadlines in February

Oberhausen International Short Film Festival

Oberhausen, Germany
26-04-2023 – 01-05-2023
Deadline: 01-02-2023

Website

Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

Palm Springs, United States
20-06-2023 – 26-06-2023
Deadline: 01-02-2023

Website

Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films - Animafest

Zagreb, Croatia
05-06-2023 – 10-06-2023
Deadline: 01-02-2023

Website

Hamburg International Short Film Festival

Hamburg, Germany
06-06-2023 – 11-06-2023
Deadline: 14-02-2023

Website

Melbourne International Film Festival

Melbourne, Australia
03-08-2023 – 20-08-2023
Deadline: 14-02-2023

Website

Barcelona International Short Film Festival - Mecal

Barcelona, Spain
31-05-2023 – 11-06-2023
Deadline: 15-02-2023

Website

Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Annecy, France
12-06-2023 – 17-06-2023
Deadline: 15-02-2023

Website

Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival

Brussels, Belgium
11-04-2023 – 23-04-2022
Deadline: 17-02-2023

Website

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

San Francisco, United States
20-07-2023 – 06-08-2023
Deadline: 17-02-2023

Website

Sydney International Film Festival

Sydney, Australia
07-06-2023 – 18-06-2023
Deadline: 24-02-2023

Website

Deadlines in March

San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival - Frameline

San Francisco, United States
15-06-2023 – 25-06-2023
Deadline: 01-03-2023

Website

Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival - Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield, United Kingdom
14-06-2023 – 19-06-2023
Deadline: 03-03-2023

Website

Espinho FEST - New Directors | New Films Festival

Espinho, Portugal
19-06-2023 – 26-06-2023
Deadline: 19-03-2023

Website

Washington DC International Film Festival - Filmfest DC

Washington DC, United States
20-04-2023 – 01-05-2023
Deadline: 30-04-2023

Website