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Dodge College of Film & Media Arts

Film Festival Office

» Navigate the complex, diverse, and evolving festival and distribution worlds with our help.


The Film Festival Office is here to assist you in navigating the complex, diverse, and evolving film festival and distribution worlds. The Film Festival Specialist can help you decide where to place your entry and to advise you on the preparation of your submission. They will assist, if able, with the shipping of your film prints to festival screenings and broker deals with festivals to offer entry fee discounts or fee waivers. They also respond to outside festival requests to screen films, so be sure to provide them up-to-date files and Vimeo links of your film.

The Film Festival Specialist is also in charge of tracking the success of student films and screenplay projects in festivals and competitions, so please update them with any news regarding your projects.

Not all films will receive monetary support with festival submissions and not all festival entry fees will be reimbursed. Chapman student films are supported on a case by case basis resulting from faculty recommendations and the Film Festival Specialist's judgment. Graduate and senior thesis films take precedence, although some exceptional non-thesis films may receive minimal support as well.

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Benefits of Submitting to Film Festivals

If you are serious about making it in the industry, you need to do everything in your power to bring your work to the attention of people in the industry. One of the best ways to do that is to enter film contests and festivals whenever you can afford it.

  • Many of these events are juried, meaning your work is screened before it is accepted, so even having your film accepted in the festival is a mark of achievement.
  • Of course, winning in any category and at any level can be an important step forward in your career.
  • Another highlight of having your film in a festival is that many times you are invited to attend or you can attend on your own. Once you are there you should actively market yourself to gain press coverage and industry connections.

There are many of these contests and festivals all over the country – some large, some small. Entry fees and requirements vary. It is important to honestly evaluate your own project to determine which type of festival or contest would be appropriate for it. This will save you money, materials, and time. It will also help you focus your energy on the festivals that will earn you the most, be it awards, press, or distribution offers. 

Monetary Support for Entry Fees

The Film Festival Specialist is in charge of viewing student films and determining which films the school will actively support in submitting to festivals. Unfortunately, not all films will receive monetary support. Graduate and senior thesis films take precedence, although some exceptional non-thesis films may receive minimal support as well.

Consultation Meetings

Only graduating students who have directed a thesis film are guaranteed to have a meeting with the Film Festival Specialist and to have their thesis film viewed and assessed for film festival potential. All other students can e-mail a password protected Vimeo link to festivalsubmissions@chapman.edu and they will be contacted only if the film is considered to be exceptional enough for festival support. You should schedule an appointment to meet with the Film Festival Specialist once you have finished your film.

In order to meet with the Film Festival Specialist, you must:

  1. Confirm that your picture should be locked and the sound mix finalized.
  2. Submit the online Project Info Sheet Form
  3. Once all of the above is completed, email festivalsubmissions@chapman.edu to request an appointment and include your password protected Vimeo link.

What to bring to your consultation meeting:

  1. Notepad
  2. a written logline and short synopsis of your film
  3. 3-5 bright and dynamic stills of the film
  4. samples of your press kit
  5. You should also have created a free account for your film on filmfreeway.com

During the consultation, the specialist will discuss key festivals and your film’s potential at them. They will answer any questions you may have about the festival process.

Important Warning – Be Prepared!

Many festivals require you to sign a waiver form that proves you have cleared the rights to use all music, appearances, logos, and footage in the film. You should prepare for this beforehand by creating only original material or getting the permission to use the pre-recorded material and keeping track of all records and signed contracts. Screenplays will often need to be registered with the WGA or Library of Congress.

Have a question about festival submissions?