Thursday Night june 11: Book Preview Webinar, Crowdfunding Campaign Launch, and Ask Me Anything Q&A

Thursday Night june 11: Book Preview Webinar, Crowdfunding Campaign Launch, and Ask Me Anything Q&A

The second edition of Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent Filmmakers is under construction. Make sure it answers your questions by joining the community that will guide its creation. It all starts Thursday, June 11th with a webinar at 9pm ET. RSVP here.

3 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Short Film NOW...

3 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Short Film NOW...

Is now really the best time to make a short film? And, if you’re new to film, you’re not in film school and you don’t have industry connections… how do you even get started? 

In this free webinar and discussion (and sneak preview to the Short Film 101 series starting Saturday, Oct 5), Kathy Cabrera will share the answers to these questions. She will address why now is the best time to make your short film; and three easy get-started tips that everyone novices to advanced filmmakers can use to jump into short filmmaking like a pro.

Film Fest Secrets panel this weekend at Sidewalk Film Festival

Film Fest Secrets panel this weekend at Sidewalk Film Festival

It's been a few years since I've been to the Sidewalk Film Festival – it kept conflicting with Fantastic Fest, darn it all. But since I've relocated to Atlanta and Sidewalk has relocated to an earlier time of year, I'm happily returning to Birmingham, Alabama for one of the best indie film experiences the South has to offer. 

Sundance Director John Cooper - ask him anything on Reddit


This afternoon at 3pm Pacific time, Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper will take questions from the general public in Reddit's "AMA" ("Ask Me Anything") format. AMA is an interesting way to hold a mass Q&A with the general public, and if you've ever had questions about the inner workings of Sundance, this is a rare opportunity to get some answers. Sundance has held public Q&As before (like a live video chat back in 2010), but the AMA format is well-suited to the task of getting the most sought-after answers to an audience. (Reddit members can "up-vote" questions from other members to indicate common curiosity.) 

From Cooper's announcement on the Sundance site:

On Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 3:00 p.m. PT, on the heels of our announcement of the first 60 or so films selected for the 2013 Festival, I’ll be taking questions about just about anything — why we’re excited for this Festival, how we watch more than 10,000 films each year and narrow it down to 200, what it’s like to work for a festival that has launched the careers of many great artists, and why we love Park City, Utah!

The AMA section of Reddit is here - if you don't have a Reddit account already, go ahead and register for one ahead of time. Get familiar with how reading, posting, and up-voting works so you'll be ready to participate when the AMA begins. To see the AMA format in action, check out this AMA with animator Don Hertzfeldt, or this one with documentarian Eugene Jarecki.

Here's a link to the AMA with John Cooper, or you can read the full AMA announcement on the Sundance web site.

Film Festival Strategy seminar in Atlanta - December 8th

picAttention Atlanta-area filmmakers - in cooperation with the Atlanta Film Festival and the Plaza Theater, I am offering a one-day seminar on film festival strategy scheduled for Saturday, December 8th at the Plaza. If you have a film that you're submitting to festivals now or will be soon, this three-part class will help you create a festival strategy for your film. 

Each two-hour class session will include a Q&A with yours truly, and a brief evaluation of a film selected from attendees' submissions. (After you register for the class, you will receive instructions on how to submit your film for possible evaluation.)

Part one focuses on your film and how to evaluate its readiness for the festival circuit. We'll talk about how to get honest feedback, what festival programmers are looking for, and common mistakes filmmakers make.

Part two will cover submissions strategy – how to find the best festivals for your film, submissions tactics, and how to save money.

In part three, we'll talk about marketing your film at festivals. This session will cover finding your audience, putting together press materials, and getting people to show up at your screenings.

You can attend just the sessions you're interested in or sign up for all three at a discount.

The DIY on Short Film Exposure: Who's Got This?


That's the title of the panel I'll be sitting in on at South By Southwest this year. If you're in Austin for the festival on Tuesday, come by and learn what I and my esteemed colleagues (listed here) have to say about the state of short film and distribution.

Here's the official SXSW page for the panel.

A few other panels I'm looking forward to in the film conference include:

Tough Love: Why You're Still Not Festival Ready

Iron Sky: Forging the Future of Film

The Evolution of the Douchebag in Modern Cinema

Hollywood Lessons: What I Learned the Hard Way

2011 Science Film Festival tours Indonesia

Science Film Festival

Science documentarians take note: this touring science film festival may be the place for your film, particularly if it caters to children.


From the Jakarta Post:

The Science Film Festival is a roadshow of 16 science-themed documentaries geared to children and youth. This year, the Goethe Institute, as the organizers of the event, has settled on 20 venues across 12 cities stretching from Jakarta to Gowa and Jayapura in which to screen the free movies.

Agus added that the movies highlighted not only matters of the environment, but also spoke of poverty and justice in a softer light.

“There were not many special cinematographic techniques used but the method of storytelling was adapted to children,” he said.

The movies were indeed geared to a more boisterous audience. One of the documentaries, a nearly 10-minute German film called Nine and a Half: Bees in Danger featured high school students speaking on the importance of bees and a comical woman dressed in a bee costume, complete with a detachable stinger.

The festival is held by the Goethe-Institut in Germany and select films tour Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand. The next call for entries opens in January.

Webinar: Top 10 Tips for the Film Festival Circuit

One of the more popular talks I give at festivals and related events is a workshop on "The Top 10 Tips for the Film Festival Circuit." This workshop introduces new filmmakers to some basic festival concepts and helps experienced filmmakers get more from their festival run. For the first time ever I'm holding this talk as an online seminar on Thursday, December 1st 2011 at 3pm EST. Included in this workshop is a live Q&A session with yours truly, during which I'll answer as many questions as I can. I'm allowing 90 minutes for the full session so odds are good we'll get everyone's questions answered.

Some of the topics I'll be covering in the seminar:

  • Making sure your film is ready for festivals
  • Setting goals for your festival run
  • Getting your submissions organized
  • Submitting strategically
  • Saving money on submissions fees

Spots in the webinar are limited so if you're interested, please register now using the form below.