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Tips to make the most of your Festival Experience

Tips to make the most of your Festival Experience

Congratulations on your acceptance to the fifth annual Winter Film Awards Independent Film Festival!

The following tips are recommended to help  you make the best of your Festival experience at Winter Film Awards and ensure exposure for your film. Please be sure to fill in our questionnaire by January 15!

  • Your film short synopsis is your primary marketing tool. The WFA Festival program will allows for roughly 750 characters or so for a description of your film, and this is what audiences will use to decide if they want to see it. Use this to market your film! Run it by everyone you know until it is worded clearly and sounds fascinating.

  • Your director bio is another good marketing tool.  The WFA Festival program includes a biography of the Director of about 500 characters. Pick the two or three absolutely most fascinating things about yourself and skip telling where you were born or where you went to school unless it is very much different from the likely Festival attendees.

  • Make your own publicity. Check out some of the many free Press Release sites (prlog.org is a good one) and post a Press Release about your film’s acceptance to the Festival once you know your screening date/time/location. Include your screening info and links to your website and your entry on Festival’s website.

    Basic format is one paragraph announcing your film’s acceptance and screening info, one paragraph with the film synopsis, one paragraph with the filmmaker’s bio and mention of any local cast members, and one paragraph about the festival itself (you can copy this from the festival’s website).  Post the release locally and to New York City.

  • Notify Everyone.  If you live in a small town, notify your local newspaper. If you are a student or recent alum, notify your school.  Notify any of your local professional or cultural associations.  Post on your Facebook page and website, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and include tags to the Festival. If you have any contacts in media or film-related blogs, invite them to the screening and ask WFA for press passes.

  • Ask around about Travel Expenses. WFA is not able to cover travel expenses, but you could try contacting your local Film School, Travel & Tourism Office, Chamber of Commerce, Artist League, professional or cultural association or any local businesses that support film and ask if they will provide a grant to cover your travel expenses.  If you are from outside the US, try your country’s US-based embassy.  WFA is a US 501(3)c non-profit, and is happy to accept grants in your name, thereby making it tax deductible for the grantor.

    WFA has some contacts at the various consulates, and we can certainly make phone calls on  your behalf.  Also, if you are from a country with a large ethnic presence in NYC (such as Greek, Israeli, Indian, etc), we can try some local travel agents and see if they would be interested in helping to fund your expenses.

  • Have someone attend your screening and the Awards ceremony.  If you cannot attend the Festival yourself, ask around! You receive two complimentary All Access Festival Passes, and if you are not able to attend, you are welcome to share them with a local friend.  Passes will be available for pickup at all Festival events throughout the week.

  • Bring a copy of your film with you to your screening. Technology is a huge pain in the neck, and things go wrong no matter how carefully we prepare and test. We’ve had DVDs crack, get lost or not play despite working just fine when we tested it. If someone from the film team is there with a ready copy of the film on DVD or a flash drive, you may save the day!

  • Post Photos! Lots of Photos!  Be sure to tag Winter Film Awards in these. Re-postings will get exposure for your film.

  • Tweet and Facebook during the Festival! Be sure to tag Winter Film Awards in these. Re-postings will get exposure for your film.

  • Keep in touch with us after the Festival is over. If your film goes on to win awards or distribution, or there is a good interview or article about you, email us and let us know!  We love hearing news of your continued success!

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