By Mara Lesemann: I’ve spent the past year taking my first feature (Surviving Family – www.survivingfamily.us) to 18 film festivals in the US and Canada; we also had 2 invitation-only screenings for family and friends. While we didn’t hit the festival home run that everyone dreams of (Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, etc.), we did get into several that have made the Movie Maker Magazine list of 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee (Central Florida Film Festival and Manhattan Film Festival) as well as their list of Coolest Film Festivals (Woods Hole and Trail
Dance). We also screened at an amazing array of small and mid-sized
festivals, each of which was fun and worthwhile in its own way.
After all of this, plus my experience over the previous 5 years or so with taking shorts to a range of festivals, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned (or at least, what I think) about what filmmakers should do before, during, and after a festival. I’m a big believer in attending festivals where your movie is screening if it’s at all possible. But even if you can’t, many of the points below still apply.