Film Festival Corner

The Film Festival Office is here to assist you in navigating the complex, diverse, and evolving film festival and distribution worlds. Our Festival and Industry Relations Specialist can help you decide where to place your entry and to advise you on the preparation of your submission. They will assist if able with the shipping of your film prints to festival screenings and brokers deals with festivals to offer entry fee discounts or fee waivers. They also respond to outside festival requests to screen films, so be sure to keep them well-stocked with DVD copies and up-to-date links of your film.

The Film Festival Coordinator is also in charge of tracking the success of student films and screenplay projects in festivals and competitions, so please update them with any news regarding your projects.

Not all films will receive monetary support with festival submissions. Chapman student films are supported on a case by case basis resulting from faculty recommendations and the film coordinator’s judgment, with an emphasis on films that have been selected for First Cut. Graduate and senior thesis films take precedence, although some exceptional non-thesis films may receive minimal support as well.

Email festivalsubmissions@chapman.edu with any questions.

If you are serious about making it as a filmmaker in the industry, you need to do everything in your power to bring your work to the attention of decisionmakers. One of the best ways to do that is to enter film competitions and festivals if you can afford it.

  • Many of these events are juried, meaning your work is screened before it is accepted, so even having your film accepted in the festival is a mark of achievement.
  • Of course, winning in any category and at any level can be an important step forward in your career.
  • Another highlight of having your film in a festival is that you are invited to attend and take part in your screening and networking opportunities. Once you have been accepted, you should actively market yourself and the film to gain press coverage and industry connections.

There are many of these contests and festivals all over the country – some large, some small. Entry fees and requirements can vary. It is important to honestly evaluate your own project to determine which type of festival or contest would be appropriate for it. This will save you money, materials, and time. It will also help you focus your energy on the festivals that will earn you the most, be it awards, press, or distribution offers. 

The Film Coordinator in charge of viewing student films and determining which films the school will actively support in submitting to festivals. Thesis and First Cut selections will be prioritized.

Only graduating students who have directed a thesis film are entitled to have a meeting with The Film Festival Coordinator and to have their thesis film viewed and assessed for film festival potential. All other students can drop off a DVD to the office (MKS360) and they will be contacted only if the film is considered to be exceptional enough for festival support. You should schedule an appointment to meet with the Film Festival Coordinator once you have finished your film.

In order to meet with the Film Festival Coordinator,

  • Your picture should be locked and the sound mix finalized.
  • Music rights should be cleared unless you are using a temp soundtrack while you are composing the final score.

To make an appointment for a consultation, you should email festivalsubmissions@chapman.edu and fill out the project form including a link to film.

What to bring to your consultation meeting:

  • Notepad
  • a written logline and short synopsis of your film
  • a selection of production stills
  • samples of your press kit
  • You should also have created a free account for your film on withoutabox.com and filmfreeway.com.
  • If you are planning to move out of town, you may want to bring 5 DVD copies of your film to leave at the office.

During the consultation, the coordinator will discuss key festivals and your film’s potential at them. They will answer any questions you may have about the festival process. They also have a collection of sample press materials that you may examine. Consultations usually last about an hour.

Important Warning – Be Prepared! Many festivals require you to sign a waiver form that proves you have cleared the rights to use all music, appearances, logos, and footage in the film. You should prepare for this beforehand by creating only original material or getting the permission to use the pre-recorded material and keeping track of all records and signed contracts. Screenplays will often need to be registered with the WGA or Library of Congress.