Chicken and Egg Pictures Opens Call for Grant Proposals from Women Filmmakers

Chicken and Egg Pictures Opens Call for Grant Proposals from Women Filmmakers

Each grant recipent receives $35,000 to produce a documentary feature film. The films must be directed by women, including "self-identifying women (cis or trans), gender nonconforming individuals, and female/male co-directing partnerships."

Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge: Another You

Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge: Another You

Short film contests are often the default for film festivals anxious to do something besides just show movies but who are just unsure what that something else should be. Sundance has plenty going on, however, so when they announce a short film contest, it's probably going to be something special. 

Toronto After Dark - final deadline to submit

Tad submit your film page 1

Toronto After Dark may not be on your radar as a festival to which you want to submit, but I encourage you to check out their site and see if your film fits into one of their categories. 

  • Horror, Supernatural
  • Sci-Fi, Fantasy
  • Animation
  • Crime, Action, Thriller, Suspense
  • Cult, Bizarre, Genre-defying, Experimental
  • Documentaries, with a genre-related or cult/bizarre subject matter
  • Music Videos, with a genre-related or cult/bizarre aesthetic

It can't be easy distinguishing yourself in a town that not only sports the Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs, but an additional 60 to 70 film festivals as well. TAD seems to be going strong, though, and by all accounts they're serving their audience and their filmmakers well.

Learn more about Toronto After Dark.

Social Change Film Festival looking for films by indigenous filmmakers

social change fest

The 2nd annual Social Change Film Festival takes place in December, and it's looking for submissions.

First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) and the Social Change Film Festival and Institute (SCFFI) are seeking films by Indigenous filmmakers for the second annual Social Change Film Festival & Institute, November 28 – December 2, 2012 in New Orleans, LA USA. SCFFI & FPW will also hold a special panel at the festival.

Films must be created by an Indigenous filmmaker(s) and have a strong social message. We celebrate the independent spirit of excellent film making and creative storytelling. We are looking for films that generate dialogue, spark policy change, and/or activate communities around key social issues of our times. Selected films will represent a diversity of perspectives from all over the world. SCFFI seeks to promote the ability of film to inspire action. We favor films that offer solutions and/or drive community activism on an issue.

There don't appear to be submissions fees for this part of the fest, so if you fit the qualifications above, check it out.

Atlanta Film Festival keeps filmmakers in the loop

atl fest

When discussing the film submissions process with festival programmers, I often ask how those programmers keep their submitting filmmakers informed of how the screening process is going. Sometimes they'll tell me that they send out regular updates, but more often I'll get a blank look. With all the work of processing the incoming films, ensuring that those films are watched and graded, and then whittling the better films down to the ones that will actually play the festival, film fest staffers often forget that there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people waiting to hear whether their film is one of the lucky few. 

The result is a frustrated filmmaker populace that waits months (during which they receive no communication from the festival) only to be rejected – and then sometimes the festival will hit them up to buy a festival pass. Every festival programmer has stories of the angry emails they receive from rejected filmmakers, and it's not difficult to see why that happens. Uncertainty sucks, and uncertainty followed by rejection is even worse.

The antidote, it seems to me, is a series of "weather reports" from the festival. Nothing special, just little updates every few weeks that let the filmmakers know that yes, indeed, their films are being watched, and that their film is up against X number of other films, and that there are actual human beings working hard at the festival to put together the best program possible. The less that filmmakers perceive your event as a black hole into which they threw their film and their money, the better.

One of the programmers who recently took this notion seriously is Charles Judson at the Atlanta Film Festival. His first update went out this past week and it's a doozy.


As the Head of Programming for ATLFF one of my driving missions is to make the submission process less mysterious and more transparent. Since 1976, when ATLFF's parent organization IMAGE Film & Video (renamed to Atlanta Film Festival 365) was founded, we've been a resource for filmmakers. In that spirit, we want to upend the traditional "submit and wait for your acceptance or non-acceptance" mode of communication to give you occasional glimpses into how things are going, things we're seeing and some of our general thoughts.

Admittedly, this is still going to be fairly broad and won't feature specifics about your film, but we're hoping that the four to five updates we'll send between now and Final Selections will be helpful.

Charles could probably have written about 300 words and called it a day, but instead he wrote whole sections on how their judging process works, how many screeners see each film, and the tough decisions programmers make. 

The reactions from filmmakers were, predictably, quite positive.

This actually encouraged me to submit my film "The Learning Curve" that I had already decided I would not submit to AFF. My films are known for being dark . . . it's refreshing to hear that films that push the limits are welcomed!

It’s not every day that you hear from festivals trying to keep us in the loop. Messages like yours [go] a long way.

It is heartening to know that the ATLFF is so thorough and rigorous with its viewing/selection process.


For a programmer to get such positive vibes from filmmakers before their films have been selected is pretty rare. It remains to be seen whether Judson's efforts will reduce the level of venom from disappointed directors at rejection time, but I'm betting it will. The Atlanta Film Festival's 2013 event will be held in March - their early deadline is this coming Friday.

Milwaukee Film Festival says "no entry fees for you!"

The Milwaukee Film Festival just opened its call for entries, and this year they're doing a little experiment: no entry fees.

From their press release:

“The Milwaukee Film Festival is continuing its dedication to being filmmaker-friendly by offering free entry to all films this year,” says Artistic and Executive Director Jonathan Jackson. “We want filmmakers to save their money for filmmaking. They should put that $100 into their next film.”

Mont Blanc creates "The Beauty of a Second" One-Second Film Festival


Normally I'm not crazy about advertising gimmicks masquerading as corporate sponsored "film festivals," but this one is creative and compelling. The video above is a compilation of some of their best entries. The competition is open until December 13th.

From the official website:

190 years ago Nicolas Rieussec recorded time to an accuracy of a fifth of a second. The chronograph was born.

To celebrate his invention we challenge you to "seize the moment" and capture the beauty of a second.

The subject? It can be anything as long as it celebrates the fragile beauty of this short-lived unit of time.


Cinekink call for entries and: what makes Cinekink so special?


Cinekink ranks as one of my favorite festivals despite the fact that I've never made it to one of their fests. In fact, Cinekink's visit to Austin later this month will mark the first time I'll be able to see Cinekink's programming. So how do I know it's a great fest? Three reasons: passionate people (pun fully intended), a specific focus on their subject matter, and happy filmmakers.

1. Passionate people: Cinekink is more or less a one-woman show – there are scores of people who help make it happen, but it represents the vision of Lisa Vandever, who founded the fest almost a decade ago. When people approach me about starting a new film festival I generally discourage them from doing so, but Lisa is proof that there's always room for a great idea. Vandever's personality, persistence, and razor-sharp sense of humor make every interaction with Cinkekink memorable.

2. A specific focus: Cinekink promotes itself as "the kinky film festival," but its insistence on representing "the positive depiction of sexuality and kink in film and television" makes it more than just kink. Sex has so many negative connotations in the media – particularly the American media – that it actually ranks above graphic violence in the pantheon of things parents worry about. A defender of good old-fashioned makin' whoopie (of both wholesome and unwholesome varieties) is needed, and Cinekink fills that void. So to speak. At any rate, if your film has a specific audience or content slant, a specialty festival like Cinekink may be on the hunt for exactly your kind of film, which drives your chances of acceptance way, way up. Even if it's not Cinekink, be on the lookout for your specialty festival.

3. Happy filmmakers. Whenever I talk to filmmakers whose films played Cinekink or people who have just attended the fest, they get the same coy smiles on their faces as they talk about how much they loved it. I get the feeling that even if there weren't a special connection in the subject matter, Cinekink's brand of hospitality and community would still draw rave reviews.

Cinekink's regular deadline is this Friday, November 18th. If you've got a sex-positive film, you should submit. Your film, submit your film! Get your mind out of the gutter.




Black Rock City Film Fest comes to Burning Man

Black Rock City FF

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone struck on the idea of a film fest at Burning Man. Luckily for potential attendees, the folks who organized this one have a ton of experience. They're going to need it – the conditions they'll face are unlike those at any other film festival.

I have a ton of notes on this and I'll be writing a longer entry soon, but the festival's call for entries ends tomorrow (Thursday, July 15th) so I wanted to get the word out today. If you have a short film that would be cool to show at Burning Man, now's your chance. Here's the link to submit. There's also an official Facebook page for the festival.

I just got word that the festival will be screening their films on "The Engine," a 1000-pound "light and steel sculpture" that is essentially a portable projection system. Sounds cool.

Film Independent's Spirit Awards submissions opens Monday, August 10

Spirit Awards

From the Film Independent Press release:

LOS ANGELES (August 6, 2009) - Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced today that the 2010 Spirit Awards will be held on Friday, March 5, 2010, and will air live and uncut at 8:00 p.m. PST/11:00 p.m. EST on IFC (Independent Film Channel). The nominations press conference will take place on Tuesday, December 1.

This year's celebration marks the 25th Anniversary of the Spirit Awards, which honors films made by filmmakers, who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. To celebrate the milestone, Film Independent and IFC will be broadcasting the ceremony live in a special primetime event rather than the organization's signature Saturday event in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

"The influence of independent filmmakers on the language of cinema and popular culture during the last 25 years has been phenomenal, and we have been proud to provide a platform for these talented artists at the Spirit Awards," said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. "In planning this yearís significant anniversary, we decided to venture away from our beloved day at the beach to a Friday evening where we hope an even broader audience discovers us as we kick-off the awards weekend." Also announced, Film Independent will be accepting submissions beginning on Monday, August 10, with the early deadline of Monday, September 14 and the final deadline of Tuesday, October 6. Submission guidelines, applications, and more information can be found at

Cinekink's "Final-Final" deadline approaches

I mentioned Cinekink before but wanted to give them another bump as their no-kidding deadline approaches. If your film has some sexiness to it or a sex-positive message, this could be a great NYC screening for you.

CineKink NYC - "the really alternative film festival" - is seeking films and videos, of any length and genre, that explore and celebrate the wide diversity of sexuality. Dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of sex-positive and kink-friendly depictions in film and television, we're looking to blur some boundaries and will be considering offerings drawn from both Hollywood and beyond, with works ranging from documentary to drama, camp comedy to hot porn, mildly spicy to quite explicit - and everything in between.

The final-final(!) postmarked deadline for entries is November 29th.

For more information and to download an entry form, visit