Review: 10 platforms for online submissions

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January 08, 2017 

Review: 10 platforms for online submissions

Online platforms help filmmakers save time when submitting a film to any festival that are presented in catalogues.

  1. FilmFreeway
  2. Withoutabox
  3. Reelport 
  4. Shortfilmdepot
  5. Clickforfestivals
  6. Festhome
  7. Movibeta
  8. Uptofest
  9. Filmfestivallife
  10. Filmfestplatform




Festivals in data base: ~ 4800  


Young Canadian company was founded in 2014.  Its’ creators have taken into account all the critical reviews from filmmakers (especially going for Withoutabox) and made a remarkable alternative — free, easy to use and convenient service. In three months after setting up more than 600 festivals registered in the base, more than 5000 applications were sent. Now it is the fastest growing service for online submissions films to the festivals. This platform is remarkable for variety of festivals, that accept films of any length and genre.

The main secret of its popularity is a successful business model which let festivals save money. The extra fee is collected only from the fee-paying festivals and it’s not more than 8,5% (at  Withoutabox it is about 35%). From the filmmakers the service does not take any money at all. It should be noted that this type of business is good only for the American market, where practically all festivals are fee-paying. About 60% of the festivals in the database are based in USA, including 40 Academy Award accredited festivals.

Though such quick fix of the service caused one problem — there are too many day-fly festivals in the FilmFreeway database, most of them even do not have their own websites. Signing in process is easy both for the filmmakers and for the festivals. That leads to uncontrolled growing amount of the festivals that accept applications, including fee-paying ones.  Such variety of the festivals at FilmFreeway is half seeming. Thus it is important to mark that via this service a lot of huge festivals accept their applications, such as Leeds International Film Festival, Raindance International Film Festival.

How to work with the service

  1. Sign in as a filmmaker, a script writer or as a festival representer.
  2. Add your project to the system and supply with all necessary information. You can upload the film to the inner server of the company or give a link to the outer one (Vimeo, Youtube).
  3. Choose festivals from the list.
  4. Apply your film to the chosen festivals (if the festival is fee-paying, you will need to transfer needed sum of money).

+ Advantages:

  • The service is free for the filmmakers (except for the fee-paying festivals);
  • Easy and convenient to use;
  • Huge and fast growing festivals database, accepting both feature and short films (more than  4800 film festivals at the beginning of 2017);
  • Up-to-date information about the applications (festivals themselves update the information);
  • Special prizes for script writers;
  • An opportunity to upload and look through the films in HD;
  • Integration of the service with the most popular platforms that let you watch films online (Youtube, Vimeo);
  • Intuitive interface;
  • Many filters for choosing proper festivals with certain request (deadline, year and place, prizes, genres, application fee, and supporting events);
  • An opportunity to follow the festival status along with films themselves).

– Disadvantages:

  • Many day-fly festivals;
  • Sign in is required.




Festivals in the database: ~ 1500


Withoutabox is a pioneer in the sphere of online festival submissions. The company was founded in 2000 by two businessmen - David Straus and Joe Newlight. About 5000 festivals with both feature and short films are registered in the database along with 400 thousands filmmakers (most of them are fee-paying festivals from English-speaking countries). Any user can send an application to more than 1500 festivals. English interface.

The service is fee-paying for the festivals (paid registration and membership, comission 10 -18% and free for the filmmakers (free use of the platform but fee-paying submission to practically all festivals). Many festivals provide  discounts system (to low the submission fee).

After creating an account the filmmaker starts getting the information about active festivals: notifications about start of submissions accepting, reminder about closing deadlines and so on ( You can refuse from this mailing, if you are not interested in it). Withoutabox is integrated with the service of digital distribution CreateSpace (Amazon sub-company) and in 2008 it was taken over by Amazon’s other sub IMDb. Merging with CreateSpace gives the filmmakers an opportunity to get some income from selling DVD’s via Amazon and downloading digital copies via VoD system (video on request), and integration with IMDb helps to create title pages for the films using Withoutabox information instantly. Many famous world festivals get submissions via Withoutabox, among them Sundance Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and others.

How to work with the service

  • Sign in and create your personal account.
  • Fill in the entry form and upload  press-kit.
  • Choose proper festivals for the films.
  • Submit a film (pay the fee if it is needed).

+ Advantages:

  • Huge united festivals database;
  • Feature and short;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • An opportunity to integrate Vimeo-link into the entry form;
  • Free submissions;
  • All information is instantly integrated with IMDb;
  • An opportunity to submit scripts separately;
  • An opportunity to follow film status online;
  • Integration with the service for digital distribution CreateSpace;
  • A lot of extended deadlines and discounts for Withoutabox user;
  • Free & Unlimited Video Uploads - Up to 10GB per file;
  • Filters system for selecting festivals (by category, price, deadline, years running);
  • Special lists of festivals: Just announced, Hot List, Deal Time, Award booster, Deadline Today, All open now.

– Disadvantages:

  • A few European and Asian festivals;
  • Sign in is required;
  • Practically all festivals are fee-paying.






Festivals in the database: ~ 170

German online-service, 170 short film festivals, mostly European. You pay for sending film for the festival (first submission is free, every additional costs 2 euro; sending of the application and online-copy is included).

The project gives you convenient system for uploading, keeping and playing the video White Label VoD (video on request). With its help the festivals can show the films in stream regime from their site, save them into their online-libraries and so on.  Uploaded file is saved at the website for 24  months, which is quite enough for screening at all chosen festivals. The company also managed its own system of creating and uploading the image of the DVD. The organizers can also download it. If having a desire the filmmaker can send DVD with the film by post.

Reelport has its own special catalogue for the buying agents where they can contact filmmakers and buy screening rights for any film.

Because  of the relatively high price of the service, Reelport has a distinct list of the festivals, each one pass through pre-selection from on the part of the platform. Many important short films festivals accept applications via reelport, among them  International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and Tampere Film Festival.

How to work with the service

  1. Create an account.
  2. Add a project to the system and all the necessary information.
  3. Buy inside service currency — «reels» (1 «reel» = 1 euro) — via online paying system  PayPal or with the credit card. First uploading of the film to the service and the first application to the festival are free. The cost of each additional uploading — 3 «reels», submission — 2 «reels». The value of the sending of the DVD via post — 5 «reels».
  4. Choose proper festivals among the list.
  5. Submit the film to chosen festivals (upload it to the server or send DVD with the film to the Reelport office).

+ Advantages:

  • First uploading and applying to the festival are free;
  • Convenient system for uploading, keeping and playing the video White Label VoD (video on request);
  • System of creating and uploading DVD image, so the organizers can download it;
  • The file is kept  at the server for 24 months;
  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • Reminders on e-mail with the list of recommended fsetivals;
  • An opportunity to follow film status;
  • Online catalogue for film buyers.

– Disadvantages:

  • Signing is required;
  • Fee-paying applications;
  • Short films only;
  • No filters for choosing festivals.





Film festivals in the database: ~ 70


European site where there are more than 70 short films festivals. There are no American festivals among them, but there are festivals from the South America, Europe and Asia, that play important role in the world of cinema (for example, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival and Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival). Each user can choose among five options of the interface: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Festivals in the database are ordered according to deadline. Many of them do not have any fee so the filmmakers pay only for the application procedure (1,5 to 3 euros). For paying there is used only inside currency — «stamps». The cost of one stamp is negatively related to the stamps’ quantity.

How to work with the service

  1. Create an account.
  2. Fill in the forms (description of the film, contact data, formats, photos and so on).
  3. Upload the film  (not more than 2 Gb) and add a link to Vimeo.
  4. Buy inside currency — «stamps»:
    • 1 stamp costs 3 euro;
    • 5 stamps — 12,5 euro (2,5 euros for one stamp);
    • 20 — 39 euro (1,95 euro for one stamp);
    • 50 — 75 euro (1,5 for one stamp).
  5. Choose proper festivals and submit the film.

+ Advantages:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Easy to use;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • E-mail reminder with the list of recommended festivals;
  • All festivals are free.

– Disadvantages:

  • Signing in is required;
  • Fee-paying application;
  • Only short films;
  • No filters to choose proper festivals;
  • Few festivals in the database;
  • No American festivals.





Festivals in the database: ~ 1200


The project of famous spanish distributor company Promofest. On the platform there are more than   500 short films festivals. Many european, spanish and Latin American festivals. You can choose two version of the interface: english and spanish.

Submission cost varies from  1 to 3 euros. If a film is chosen for the festival the service returns the sum you’ve paid.

The project suggests to upload your film on the server or give a link to the side resource, where the file is uploaded (Dropbox or Vimeo). Uploaded file is kept at the server up to 2 months (if the film is not submitted to any festival) and 1 month from the moment of the ending of the last festival, where he was applied.

How to work with the service

  1. Create an account and upload the film (or give the link to the outside platform, where the film is kept). One can upload any number of versions of one film;
  2. Fill in the description;
  3. Buy inner currency — «clicks» (in common 1 click accord with one application, but some festivals take 0,5 click) via PayPal. The cost of one click  depends on the range of your purchase.
    • 1 click —  3 euro;
    • 3 clicks — 7  euro (2,3  euro for one);
    • 10 clicks — 22  euro (2,2  euro  for one);
    • 20 clicks — 40  euro (2  euro  for one);
    • 50 clicks — 90  euro (1,8 euro   for one);
    • 100 clicks — 150  euro (1,5  euro  for one);
    • 200 clicks — 300  euro (1,2  euro  for one);
    • 500 clicks — 500  euro (1 euro  for one).
  4. Choose festivals among the list and submit the film. The system will automatically draw money.

+ Advantages:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • Submission discounts;
  • Integration with other file storage services (Dropbox, Vimeo);
  • An opportunity to control film status.

– Disadvantages:

  • Signing in is required;
  • Fee-paying submisions;
  • Only short films;
  • No filter system for sorting out  proper festivals (only by deadline).





Festivals in the database: ~ 1800


Spanish company that was founded in 2010 by two expert filmmakers. Now this service represents more than 1800 festivals (both short and feature). Here one can find a lot of spanish projects, festivals from Latin American countries. Each application costs 2 euro. The information is presented in 7 languages: English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian and Portuguese. But festivals’ description usually are only English and Spanish.

Perhaps the most favourable for filmmakers is an opportunity to upload large files (up to 20 Gb)  both for pre watching and festival screening. The film is kept at the server for 6 months since the last downloading. Recently the company offered a new service that helps to save money: you can give a link to Vimeo and not upload the file on the server. Though it requires  a “visa” (annual pass) purchase that costs about 40 USD. A filmmaker can also send DVD  with the film to the address of the company.

Besides  Festhome offers some additional services: purchasing agents catalogue, converting files opportunities, film translation (3 euro per minute), making subtitles (4 euro per minute) and  DCP (8 USD per minute for short films).

VOD service IndiehomeTV is also integrated with the platform, it helps to monetize films.


How to work with the service

  1. Sign in.
  2. Add project to the database and fill in required information.
  3. Select festivals for the film with the filters system (by length, genre, theme, application cost etc.).
  4. Add a file in following ways:
    • Upload it to the server (up to 20 Gb);
    • Give a link to Vimeo;
    • Send  DVD with the film to the address of Festhome.
  5. The payment for several festivals for ease can be made with one transaction (via PayPal, bank payment  or credit card).
  6. One can buy «credits», they help to save money when submitting the film (discount grows proportional credit quantity), 1 credit = 1 submission.
  7. Credit costs (for short films):
    • 5 credits voucher - 10€ (2€ per submission)
    • 10 credits voucher - 17€ (1,7€ per submission)
    • 15 credits voucher - 22,5€ (1,5€ per submission)
    • 30 credits voucher - 40€ (1,3€ per submission)
    • 75 credits voucher - 75€ (1€ per submission)
    • 200 credits voucher - 150€ (0,75€ per submission)

+ Advantages:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • An opportunity to upload large files (up to  20 Gb);
  • Filters system for finding proper festivals: sorting out by length, submission fee, genres, theme, country;
  • Submission discounts;
  • Integration with Vimeo;
  • Catalogue for purchasing agents;
  • An opportunity to control film status;
  • An opportunity to control selection results;
  • Online application for files’ converting;
  • Additional services for subtitles making and translation.

– Disadvantages:

  • Signing in is required;
  • Fee-paying submission;
  • Lack of American Festivals in the database.





Festivals in the database: ~ 500


Spanish company, founded in 2009. In the database is nowadays more than 400 festivals of feature and short films (mostly European). A lot of Spanish festivals. Any user can choose among 7 variants of interface: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Greek.

For submitting filmmaker should pay from 1,5 to 4 EUR. One application cost is in inverse proportion to their total amount.

  • 1 sending for 1 film festival 4,84€
  • 3 sendings for 3 film festivals: 14€
  • 5 sendings for 5 film festivals: 20€
  • 10 sendings for 10 film festivals: 30€
  • 20 sendings for 20 film festivals: 40€
  • 40 sendings for 40 film festivals: 60€

On the server files of different formats can be uploaded (not more than  2 Gb) or add a link to Vimeo. There are convenient filters at the site by genres (comedies, horrors), types (narrative, animation, documentaries), themes (human rights, environment). Festivals can also be added to the lists (“interested”, “viewed”, “not interested”).

The hosts regard their project not only as a mediator between filmmakers and festivals but also as a distributor company and educational service for film schools. Aiming this the company has initiated two projects: Movibeta Distribución and  Movibeta Formation. The first one let the filmmakers send their works to any film industry members (producers, agents and so on). The second one  provides  convenient communication space for students and film schools teachers.

How to work with the service

  1. Create an account with personal information;
  2. Get confirmation of signing in and upload the film to the server, choose needed file on the computer (not more than 2 GB, many possible formats). Digital file link is also possible to mark (choose option Share Link), such services as  Hightail, Dropbox or Vimeo.
  3. Choose festivals for the film, define certain categories for the film (short, comedy, environment etc.);
  4. Pay for the application process to the chosen festivals (via PayPal) buying “credits”.

+ Advantages:

  • A lot of free festivals;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • An opportunity to give a link to the side services as Hightail and Dropbox and not uploading film to the server;
  • Filters for selecting proper festivals;
  • Educational service, targeted at film schools.

– Disadvantages:

  • Paying by card is not optional (only PayPal);
  • Signing in is required;
  • Fee-paying application;
  • Few American festivals.





Festivals in the database: ~ 480

One more spanish company  — mediator between filmmakers and festivals. More than 480 festivals in the database for both short and feature films (mostly European), large majority do not fix entering fees. There are many projects from Spanish language countries but practically no American ones. English and Spanish interface.

Application costs from 1,5 to 2,5 EUR (more festivals chosen less is the cost of one).

Festivals in the catalogue are marked green if the deadline is open at the moment, orange if the deadline is closing and red if it is closed. Two filters are optional to sort the festivals: by deadline and entry fees.

How to work with the service

  1. Sign in.
  2. Register your project, fill in the form and upload the file to the server (not more than 2 Gb).
  3. Buy inner currency of the festival — «Ups» (1 Up = 1 submission) — via PayPal or credit card:
    • 1 Up — 2,5 EUR;
    • 5 Ups — 10 EUR (2 EUR for one submission);
    • 20 Ups — 30 EUR(1,5 EUR for one submission).
  4. Choose proper festivals and categories and submit your project.

+ Advantages:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • Both feature and short films;
  • Many free festivals;
  • Filters for sorting festivals (by deadlines and entry fees).

– Disadvantages:

  • Signing in is required;
  • Fee-paying application.





Festivals in the database: ~ 1100, among them  ~ 180 get submissions via the service  

German company which seems to be a professional social network for by its structure for film industry workers: filmmakers, festivals, distributors and so on. The project provide  information about festivals and opportunity to contact other filmmakers and festivals. Users can comment festivals and make lists and rankings of the most interesting projects. The service is especially useful for aspiring filmmakers who yet “are sinking” in the festival world: at the site they can find experienced colleagues, so they will share their experience of creating and managing projects. It is important to know English language because all communication is in English.

In the database there are a little more than 1100 festivals from all over the world. For every application filmmakers should pay 2,99 EUR (for short films), 4,49 EUR (middle-length) or 5,99 EUR (feature). Any can also buy subscription for unrestricted submissions, each month from 5 EUR.

There are special offers for short films, as an example:

  • 1 submission — 2,99 EUR
  • Unlimited monthly submissions — 5 EUR
  • Unlimited quarter submissions — 13,50 EUR
  • Unlimited year submissions — 48 EUR

Though films can be submitted not to every festival among 1100; the list of the festivals with open deadlines at the moment that have passed service qualification and now accepting submissions is published separately. There are lists of themed festivals for documentaries, animation, LGBT-films, horrors and etc.

The service is integrated with popular social networks (Twitter and Facebook), that helps to enter site without registration with the use of your account. The project also manages a blog with useful publications. User can create closed virtual filmrooms and invite other users from professional industry to them.

How to work with the service

  1. Pass registration at the site or sign in with Facebook or Twitter account.
  2. Fill in the necessary information about yourself and your projects.
  3. Upload a film (short — not more than 2 Gb, middle-length — up to 4 Gb, feature — up to 5 Gb).
  4. Select proper festivals and submit the film (via the service films can be submitted only to the festivals that are marked green).
  5. Make a payment by any way suggested (PayPal,credit card).
  6. Follow interesting festivals, make ratings, leave comments, invite users into your virtual film room, get acquainted with colleagues and their works.

+ Advantages:

  • Service can be used both as a festival submissions tool and as a professional social network;
  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • Filters system to make festival selection more ease;
  • Social networks integration (Facebook and Twitter);
  • Specialized festivals lists;
  • An opportunity to make private virtual film rooms;
  • Themed blog with useful information;
  • An opportunity to control the status of preferable festivals;
  • An opportunity to leave and read comments about festivals.

– Disadvantages:

  • Fee-paying submission.





Festivals in the database: ~ 100


The most specialized among all platform in this list. In the database there are more than 80 short films festivals, all of them based in France. One can choose among two versions of the interface: English and French.

If your film has no French subtitles, then there is no sense to apply to most festivals via this service. French jealously protect their language and country, that’s why practically all festivals in the base ask for French subtitles. Each submission costs about 1,5-2,5 EUR.

How to work with the service

  1. Create an account with information about yourself and contact data. Get confirmation email about signing in.
  2. Register your short film or several ones (technical information, synopsis, photo etc.). All information can be edited.
  3. Upload a film (file not more than 2,5 Gb).
  4. Buy inner currency of the platform — «credits» (1 credit = 1 submission) with credit card.
    • 1 credit — 2,5 EUR;
    • 10 credits — 20 EUR (2 EUR for one submission);
    • 50 credits — 75 EUR (1,5 EUR for one submission).
  5. Choose festivals and submit a film (online or via post).

+ Advantages:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Single form for all festivals;
  • Many free festivals.

– Disadvantages

  • Signing in is required;
  • Only short films;
  • Only French festivals mostly asking for French subtitles.


Text: Lika Lashuk, Dmitriy Safin
Translation: Valeria Ougurtsova
Image: Georgia O'Keeffe — In The Patio VIII