Do film festivals help indie filmmakers get distribution?

It seems that every day a new film festival appears with a great selection of films from around the world, but what do indie filmmakers get out of it and does a festival screening guarantee a film distribution deal?

Film distribution is often overlooked by first time directors who have just completed their short or documentary. Their first step is to hit the film festivals and hope for some interest, but does this help with film distribution?

In most cases, film festivals both big and small provide an outlet to show one's film, but also a networking opportunity with other like-minded people who could become future partners on later shoots. There are also merits linked with film festivals such as getting the all important recognition from leading film industry figures, and if you make the selection, getting awarded a prize that helps secure a TV deal or limited cinema release.

However, when it comes to the art of film distribution, indie filmmakers struggle to sell their masterpieces even with a few festivals behind them because of the current market situation, and their approach. There are now so many short, documentary and feature films vying for distribution that competition has increased internationally, and with online streaming, it is ever more difficult to shine above the rest.

Film Industry Perspective

As the film industry continues to grow and short form content becomes more prevalent at film festivals, filmmakers are often ill prepared for the monumental task of rising above their competitors. Therefore do film festivals help filmmakers get a film distribution deal? Often not, no matter how prestigious. It all comes down to how much work you are willing to put in before and after your attendance to make the most out of the contacts and potential distribution deals you may get.

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