Why Submit to Film Festivals

A good number of future businesses (productions, co-productions, distribution contracts, invitations to other festivals, projects) begin to take shape at Film Festivals. The films entered are viewed by a whole host of cultured people including critics, journalists, programmers from other festivals, moviegoers and the general public. There are also the juries, but they can only see the films that correspond to their jury work, which is usually intense and leaves little time to see other movies or documentaries.

Journalists and critics take impressions of competing films and communicate them to the audience. There is something very casual in all this logic, and it has to do with the influence that festivals can have on production policies and on international financing funds for films.

Winning at Film Festivals

A film that succeeds at a film festival does not necessarily guarantee its distribution or commercial sale (although there are awards at festivals that are just that: a distribution contract in a territory), but it does allow to install the name of a director or film within a cultural environment.

Film festivals are a way to get the business of prestige which explains some obsession of the film festivals by new talents. From a cinephile and historical perspective of cinema, there are very few “first” or “second” films of relevant directors in the career of a filmmaker. The artistic maturity of all great film directors is not found in the first or second films but found there after the first half of her career. The romantic myth of natural talent in cinema is that a myth, perpetuated by film festivals.

What kind of film should I do to make myself noticed?

A film can be made visible in a festival if it makes a reference to the cinema of a director already consecrated (“it looks like …”), or, comes from a territory to which it has already had recognition merits for the development of a national cinema level of certain coherence.

Which film Festivals

The international cinephile community that swarms at festivals is challenging to predict. A film festival can reward a film very attached to a referent, and simultaneously another festival in the same category can ignore it for the same reasons.

More complex is to analyse what sense it is for a filmmaker to choose a visibility strategy like this, as soon as he is just beginning to test his judgment. I do not mean by this that the filmmakers make a cold calculation regarding the convenience of making a film that can resemble another.

Often those decisions are in the most intimate of their stylistic convictions. However, those convictions do not matter if their efforts are read and, especially, reduced to their comparison with a reference that frames the film and prior- expectations about the future works of that young filmmaker.


There is a third strategy of visibility. The sponsorship of a filmmaker can receive from another filmmaker or producer of international renown. A film that is recommended by a sponsor can guarantee an outstanding premiere at a festival, beyond its stylistic references.

In this case, one has greater freedom to establish a territory, but a heavy duty falls on his shoulders: to fulfill the expectations generated by the one who recommends it.

To Understand these strategies, two questions arise: what’s left for the filmmakers who do not take any of these paths? Also, what implications can the new festivals have on this logic?

A filmmaker who does not subscribe to these strategies, but who develops exciting work in his fourth film, has no space to obtain a prize, and therefore, attention in these festivals. He becomes a wanderer, waiting for some programmer or an enlightened producer willing to give support to a filmmaker “little known” because he did not score in the first fifteen minutes of the game.


To develop a cinematographic career in this scenario, then, becomes a dangerous race to do works of sudden brilliance, but that runs the risk of going out if they do not shine again in the same way with the following films.

Film festivals contribute much more than showing excellent films and celebrities of a remarkable profile. These annual events feed the enduring value of culture to the people through the best of the art, and incidentally, collaborate with the economy and tourism of the countries where they occur.

As a filmmaker, one of the most select and tourist-rich cities, located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Cannes, convenes year after year thousands of artists and filmmakers of world renown to promote and exhibit their works of cinema on the screens of this festival.

Cannes film festival

The most valued award of the cinema considered art, or with a more intellectual profile than the Hollywood, the Palme d’Or is what makes Cannes film festival also one of the artistic events of the year.

The Festival de Cannes is an international festival, which means that films, shorts, and works from all over the world can participate in it in search of being awarded the highest award.

Among the most important awards of this festival, we must mention the Palme d’Or, the Grand Prize, the Jury Prize, and the Golden Palm for actress, actor and short film, among others.

As with many other festivals in the world (for example, Berlin or Venice), the International Cannes Film Festival is a showcase for a type of cinema that does not usually have the arrival of the commercial or original cinema to the public.

With an exclusive and intellectual profile

Although year after year there is greater integration and collaboration between artists, directors, and critics of one and another world. The reality is the profile of the Cannes Festival is much more exclusive and intellectual than that of the American cinema in its majority, taking place a greater variety of independent films or European, American and Asian films.

A cultural encounter

Regarding cultural diffusion turns out to be an encounter that allows above all things to generate a communion of cultures willing to be discovered and disseminated by those who participate in the film industry, and also by the specialised press that gathers there.

One of the central singularities and values that we can attribute to a film festival is that it is responsible for awarding films which haven’t yet had the opportunity to be released, which will be seen for the first time there, and that is the result of choice made by a rigorous jury.

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