Film Festivals For First Timers
Welcome to the world of Film Festivals - the most exciting way to exhibit your work to the public in a broad and credible manner. There are many different variances of Film Festival types all around the world. Most have a "specialty" and/or multiple categories to submit your projects. Of course as well, fees will vary. But one thing remains the same - It is exciting to be accepted to any Film Fest and sit amongst the crowd watching your movie, documentary, video, series episode and/or trailer on the big screen.
The room is dark, silent with anticipation. The crowd is quietly rooting for you. You're holding your breathe, trying not to perspire and hoping that others don't see you scanning the crowd to gauge their impressions. Now your project is ending, the credits are rolling up on the screen and the applause resounds in waves. You are now a professional filmmaker, producer, writer or so on.
In the lobby there are shakes, pats, nods and smiles of congratulations and you modestly take it all in. Whether you are awarded any prizes or not at some point is irrelevant - the fact is - you made it through your first one and now you can seek out other Festivals for your action, drama, comedy, sci fi, historical, animated, adventure, mystery, futuristic, experimental, musical, dance, poetry video or web series, talk show episode. You schmooze, exchange business cards, learn about other Film Festivals, Resources, Directors, etc. and in one still moment amidst the crowd, you realize that you know rank among the best. The Film Festival coveted Laurel will now forever be affixed to your movie poster and perhaps on your trailer - and for the Laurel alone, it was all worth it.
As shared on the Film Freeway website (
Our first important insight into laurels, though, isn’t about Greek gods. It’s that, when festivals started using laurels as a symbol for winning in the mid-20th century, they were doing it both for the filmmakers and for publicity.
When a film won at Venice or Cannes or Berlin, the image of a laurel unique to that fest ensured publicizing the award would also promote the festival. The festival’s prestige was buoyed by the success of the film, and the film’s appeal was raised by the festival’s prestige. It was a noble circle."
What Makes Queens Underground Film Festivals and the NY International Arts Festival unique are the genres and categories which comprise the Festivals. Added to those categories are Live Performances, a Pop-Up Shop, Community Organizations with tables, Community Awards and multiple Red Carpet hosts filling the lobby ensuring that every Filmmaker, cast and crew have their moment in front of the cameras. Never before have all of these groups celebrated under the same roof where artists can submit music, poetry or dance videos alongside submissions of web series or talk show episodes in between movie shorts. And best of all, where else can small business and non-profit organizations submit their business commercial into a film festival along with all of the these other categories?
With an international appeal, Queens Underground Film Festivals specifically represent the "underserved" black and brown minorities who are typically priced and categorized out of the larger film festivals due to various reasons. Often, not have the budget, equipment, box office actors and awarded movie directors presents a disadvantage, let alone the fee to submit. However, Queens Underground is whats commonly referred to as a way to "level the playing field" with accessibility for all. Averaging submissions from 12 countries, accepting newbies, students and professionals, selection is not based on a filmmakers budget, but rather the content, creativity, and spirit of determination to tell a particular story. For performance artists, it is a dream come true to have been accepted into a legitimate far reaching film fest. For businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations, this is a first and a very inexpensive marketing and promotional tool, not to mention a networking opportunity in front of an entirely new audience. And the proof is visualized with the laurel affixed to the movie styled poster.
Submit for October: Filmfreeway.com/NYInternationalArtsFestival
Submit for February and April: Filmfreeway.com/QueensUndergroundBlackandBrownFilmFestivals