I Keep Getting Rejected by Film Festivals, What Now?

June 13, 2017

Getting your film into a festival is harder than most people realize. The website No Film School points out only 0.74% of films submitted to Sundance made the cut in 2015. Here at the Audience Awards, we have another option for you, our Doc Challenges!

We have multiple Doc Challenges throughout each year. In each challenge, an esteemed jury screens the documentaries that are submitted by filmmakers and narrow the submissions down to a final selection of 20 films. The final 10 films have chances for exposure at partnering film festivals including Slamdance and AudFest, distribution, and cash prizes! While there is an entry fee for our Doc Challenges, these are waived for filmmakers who have a Pro-Subscription with The Audience Awards.

Still looking for advice for future festivals? No problem! Here are some tips that we found from around the web:

  • Not getting selected for a festival does not mean you have a low-quality film.
  • Other reasons are the size and theme of the festival, or even the donors funding the festival. (More at this Asians on Film article from 2013.)
  • Keep believing in your work. If you can’t stand by your film and defend its place in a festival, then other people will be hard-pressed to come to your side.
  • Make sure your film is complete.
  • Act professionally towards everyone involved with the festival.
  • Submit your work early if you can.
  • Check this article from Film Festival Secrets for more details

While all of these will help, none of it will work if you haven’t made a film that you are proud of and can say is fully finished. So, get out there, make a kick-ass film, and submit it to one of the Doc Challenges!


Looking for more tips like these? Check out our Resources page on our website!


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