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[Filmmaking] Applying to International Film Festivals

- Film Festivals Entries & More

· Entertainment Law,Copyright,Startup,Film and Television,Contract

Worldwide, almost all the 2020 and 2021 film festivals have moved to adopting online formats and live streaming methods for the participants. While it is unfortunate that many productions suffer the inevitable delay and cancellation caused by a pandemic, filmmakers are never going to stop making the films, or, submitting them to film festivals.

If you are making a film, or short film, here are some resources for applying to international film festivals:

Film Freeway is a free film submission platform for filmmakers to use when applying to multiple festivals. This platform also help filmmakers strategize the submissions based on the categories of the films.

A filmmaker might want to apply to as many festivals as possible, for the potential awards and publicity that comes with the participation. If budget (for the application fees) is not an issue, there are hundreds of film festivals to enter. Below, I am listing some of the well-known festivals around the world.

Sundance Film Festival 2021

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will be a grand partnership of communities. It will take place live in Utah and in at least 20 independent and community cinemas across the U.S. and beyond.

Festival De Cannes 2020

Official selection of 2020 is out. The 73rd edition of Cannes Film Festival (in-person) was cancelled due to the pandemic. The opening was originally scheduled in May 2020.

2021 Palm Spring International Film Festival

The 2021 Palm Spring International Film Festival will run February 25-March 8, 2021 with the Film Awards Gala on February 25. Full days of film screenings will begin February 26th including the Opening Night presentation that evening and will conclude with Best of Fest on March 8, 2021.

2021 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival

The festival takes place January 29 – February 6, 2021. Application can be found here.

Aspen Shortsfest 2021

Founded in 1979 by Ellen Kohner Hunt, Aspen Film seeks to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. Throughout its history Aspen Film has been creating unique and memorable experiences for both the serious cinephile and casual movie lover. The 2021 Aspen Shortsfest is scheduled to take place April 6 – 11, 2021.

Tribeca Film Festival

The 2020 Tribeca Film Festival has finished its selections for this year. The 2021 festival has not been scheduled, which would take place in the April.

Los Angeles Film Festival 2020

The nominations for the 2020 festival are concluded. However, this website has other resources for independent filmmakers.

Telluride Film Festival

There is no official update since 2019 for this festival.


The last deadline to submit a film to this festival for its 2020 award (July 6) has just passed.

Berlin Film Festival

Submission for the 2021 Berlin Film Festival will be available soon in the fall of 2020.

Slamdance Film Festival

The Slamdance Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We spotlight low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion. Slamdance 2021 will take place from January 22-28, 2021.

2020 New York Film Festival (58th)

The 2020 festival takes place September 25 – October 11, 2020.

Toronto International Film Festival 2020

The 2020 TIFF takes place September 10 – 19, 2020.

Venice Film Festival

The 77th Venice International Film Festival is organized by La Biennale di Venezia and directed by Alberto Barbera. It will take place at Venice Lido from September 2 – 12, 2020. The Festival is officially recognized by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association).

Austin Film Festival

The Film Festival & Conference takes place October 22 – October 29, 2020.

SXSW Film Festival

One of my favorite festivals! The 2021 submission will open soon for its 2021 festival scheduled in March 2021.

Encounters International Short Film Festival

Encounters is the UK’s leading short film, animation and virtual reality festival. You can review the archived 2020 films on its website.

BFI London Film Festival

Submissions for the 64th BFI London Film Festival have closed — keep an eye for announcements regarding submissions in the spring of 2021.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

No update for its 2020 festival.

I am also linking additional resource for Documentary Film Festivals and  film festivals for students. I hope, in the near future, to see more high-quality and independent films that reflect deeply in our cultures and being. The best arts were created during toughest times.

Sincerely yours,

Silvia Sun, Esq.

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