FilmFreeway is currently the world's number 1 film festival submission site. Find out what you need to know as a filmmaker before submitting to filmfreeway for film festivals such as Sundance and screenwriting competitions.
In the past decade, there has been a shift in the film festival submission strategy for filmmakers. Even 10 years ago filmmakers still had to print off submission forms and send a DVD copy of their film to a festival by post. I remember just how frustrating it was to have to downgrade your film to DVD, print off many forms and have no idea if your submission was even received.
From 2008 onwards online film festival submission started to take off. The worlds first leading submission website withoutabox caused controversy for overcharging filmmakers and for it flimsy website.
Filmfreeway is now the most widely used website (and often your only choice) for submitting your film to festivals. This following post is a Filmfreeway review, looking at how to use the site for filmmakers who might be new to the platform.
Advice For 2020
Around the world film festivals are being postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, this is only affecting festivals that take place in Spring and Summer 2020. However, there is a chance that you won’t be able to submit or attend any film festivals this year.
Read up on the advice given by each film festival. Double-check the festival's rules and regulations. Some festivals will only accept your film if it premiers at that festival, as such you might need to rethink your current festival plans for this year.
The Biggest Film Festivals -
SXSW – Cancelled
Cannes – Postponed until July but might be cancelled
BFI London – Cancelled
Tribeca – Cancelled
Raindance – No Changes
Toronto – No Changes
Sundance – No Changes
Filmfreeway is 100% free to use. This means that although you will have to pay a film festival submission fee there is no additional cost for using Filmfreeway to submit.
You can sign up to the site easily enough with a name and email address or by using your social media (Facebook login).
The most useful aspect of FilmFreeway is that it gives you the ability to browse film festivals worldwide. Thus, introducing you to film festivals that you might not have heard of.
The browse festival’s page makes your film festival search easier. The additional search options help you narrow down your search. You can also narrow down festivals by genre, or search for specialty festivals such as documentary or horror.
Festival Search Options -
Event Type (Film Festival, Screenwriting Contest)
Categories (Short, Feature, Music Video Etc)
Genre, Specialty Festivals
By clicking on a festival in the browse section you can find out more information about it. A nice feature is the festival date chart on the right sidebar which lets you know what stage the festival submission is currently within. This is partially helpful since many festivals have multiply stages of submission from early bird, regular, extended to final deadlines.
Even if the festival rules are clearly stated, many festivals still have more guidelines on their home websites. As such it would be a good idea to double-check the rules and research into each festival before submitting to it. Especially seeing as many festivals in 2020 are being cancelled.
You can find the festival’s home website on the left sidebar under the header called contact.
When submitting there is a lot of options to include details on your project. You can add a synopsis, social media links for the film and credit details for the cast and crew. Some festivals allow you to link a private youtube or video link during the submission process, others ask for a file to be downloaded directly on Filmfreeway.
Additionally, you can attach photographs, posters, and cast images during your submission. This is helpful since many festivals ask for still images and additional media to be included.
Film Submission Options –
YouTube/Vimeo private link
All major video formats
Up to 10GB in file size
There is a paid membership version of filmfreeway called FilmFreeway Gold which costs $11 a month. With this upgrade, you can save between 10-50% on some festival submissions. It seems unlikely that you would need to be a member of a festival submission site for any longer than a month or two. Depending on your festival plan it might save you money to subscribe, but be sure to cancel your subscription if you no longer need it.
There is also the option to pay for additional marketing options for your project. For example, promoting your project to festival programmers. Paying for marketing as an individual doesn’t always work (I have tried this before on sites such as Mandy). If you have the budget you could always experiment with this but by no means is it necessary.
I like the website, it is easy to navigate and is currently the best place to browse film festivals online. Some of the festival details could be made more clear, such as the festival home site link being more prominent (it took me a while to find it). It is also worth keeping in mind that festivals are not always updating their filmfreeway page. This is vitally important in 2020 as many festivals are cancelling or postponing.
The additional services such as filmfreeway gold and the marketing options don’t feel enticing enough. For many filmmakers, film festival submission is a once a year task at most. Perhaps there could be a way for the site to help and advise filmmakers on distribution year-round. Many filmmakers are clueless about the festival submission process, and a service or personal 1-1 help on submitting to festivals would be useful.