Submit Early To A Film Festival - the 7 Big Advantages

You’ve finished your short, feature or documentary – congratulations – it’s festival submission time! Submit early! Then cross your fingers and toes and hope you get selected.

Here at Raindance Film Festival we’ve had 30 years dealing with submissions from filmmakers. And we’ve waited nearly as long submitting our own work to festivals around the world. We also know how manic the filmmaking process is. And how filmmakers rush to meet submission deadlines for the biggies like Berlin, Cannes, Raindance, Rotterdam, Sundance, SWSX and Toronto.

Here’s 7 Reasons You Submit Early To Film Festival

1. The Festival Programmers Will Be Fresh

One would think this is a no-brainer. But no, most filmmakers seem to wait until the last minute before they ship off their submissions. This means the festival programmers are faced with a huge number of submissions at the last minute. Remember that programmers have to finish their selections well in advance of the festival opening in order to allow for time for websites to be built, reviews written, films scheduled and hospitality arrangements made.

Raindance starts programming for each year’s festival a month before the previous one begins!

Benefit from the freshness of the programmer’s eyes.

2. Save Money

Have you ever had to pay for surge pricing on Uber? Most festivals, including Raindance have scaleable fees that rise dramatically as the deadline approaches. Early submissions are always the cheapest.

3. Festivals have time to ask you questions

I can speak from years and years of festival experience. I’ve learned that the more time we have to work with you following selection, the more time we have to discuss your film and release strategy with you. In poll after poll of filmmakers who’ve attended Raindance the one regret they all have is: “I wish I had more time to plan my festival screening.”

4. It gives you time to research the festival’s programming strategy

Each film festival has a programming strategy. Early submission allows you to research a particular programming style before submitting. You won’t need to ask the boring questions that festivals like Raindance get asked all the time.

5. It allows you time to market your project

Getting the marketing vibe right is one of the trickiest things any filmmaker can do. Giving yourself the right amount of time allows you to test your marketing approach, to do AB testing and other promotional and marketing activity.

Remember: one of the best ways to get selected is to submit early, and then mount a marketing campaign. Festival programmers will notice your online activities.

6. You can meet other filmmakers

Get your social media up to scratch and start asking your ‘crowd’ about what you are trying to do and use their experience. Or collaborate. Or share accommodation tips!

7. You can plan your festival strategy

Successful filmmakers have learned that the backbone to their success is a strong and well thought out social media marketing and promotion strategy. Submitting early to festivals means you have the time and energy to create a viable social media strategy, not only for your film, but for you as a filmmaker.

The Acid Test

Are you ready to submit your films to a film festival?
Have you looked at their past editions to see if you can just their previous programming?
Have you researched film festivals worldwide in

What about Raindance? Have you looked at the Raindance Film Festival website?

Ask a question about how to submit to the Raindance Film Festival





Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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