8 online platforms for festival submitting — Festagent

8 online platforms for festival submitting

The online services help to save up your time. You fill in the questionnaire once and then submit your film via the Internet to any festival presented in their catalogues.
Since we first posted the list of online services for submitting a film to the festivals it has changed greatly. The registration is no longer surprising, the foreign interfaces are now intuitive (if not - your browser will help to translate). Some platforms-pioneers in this area ceased to exist. One of them, Withoutabox, that had recently claimed to be the monopolist in the sphere of the digital submitting resources, couldn’t stand the competition with FilmFreeway platform that appeared in 2014. The reason was in the uncontrolled services price increase, lack of technical support and unfair competition – at one point the service managers start blackmailing the festivals which were ready to cooperate with other platforms. The Spanish platform Uptofest ceased to exist in 2017, it merged with Festhome service, also Spanish based. Reelport that once was considered one of the largest services now is actually a digital library.

1. FilmFreeway
2. Shortfilmdepot
3. Clickforfestivals
4. Festhome
5. Movibeta
6. Filmfestivallife
7. Filmfestplatform
8. Docfilmdepot

  • always free for the filmmakers (except for the paid festivals fees);
  • few free to submit festivals;
  • big and fast growing festivals base accepting both short and feature films;
  • many one-day festivals;
  • up-to-date info about submission terms (the festivals update it themselves);
  • the service is integrated with the popular platforms for watching the video online (YouTube, Vimeo);
  • a great amount of filters to select the festivals for a special film (deadline, year and place of the festival, prize amount, genre, fee, venues).

Amount of festivals: ~ 8500

Canadian company born in 2014 года. Its managers considered all the critical reviews from the cinema industry (especially addressed to Withoutabox) and created the significant alternative - free, easy to use and convenient service. During the three months after its lounge there were already over 600 festivals registered and 5000 submissions sent. Nowadays it is one of the most fast growing services for online submissions, more than 1 million filmmakers from all over the world use it. There is a huge variety of the festivals presented on the platform, they accept films of different duration and genres, including 156 Oscar and BAFTA qualified.

Only the paid festivals pay the fee, which is only 6%. The filmmakers don’t pay anything. Though such a business strategy has some substantial disadvantages. A great amount of illiquid submissions that festival selectors receive (not every filmmaker read the submission terms before sending his project). That’s why many festivals set at least a minimum fee. Only 4% among all the FFW registered festivals are fee-free now. There comes a flip side problem - many one-day festivals that do not even have any website but ask for the fee, quite a high one.

Thus a variety of festivals at FilmFreeway is partly alleged on the mentioned reason. Though it should be noted that many top festivals receive submissions via FFW, among them are Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival, Raindance International Film Festival.

  • Special currency — «stamps»:
1 stamp costs 3 EUR;
5 stamps — 12,5 EUR (2,5 per stamp);
20 stamps — 39 EUR (1,95 per stamp);
50 stamps — 75 EUR (1,5 per stamp).
  • e-mail reminders with the the list of recommended festivals;
  • most of the festivals are free;
  • only short films;
  • no filters to select the proper festivals for each film;
  • small festival base;
  • no festivals from the USA.

Amount of festivals: ~ 100

European site with more than 100 festivals for short films. There are no North American festivals, but a lot from South America, Europe and Asia which play a significant role in the cinema industry (for example, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, Interfilm, and Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival). Every user can choose among five options of the interface: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Most of them do not provide any fee so the filmmakers pay only the service fee (from 1,5 to 3 EUR). The service has special currency — «stamps». The cost of one is inversely proportional to the amount of all stamps bought.

  • special currency — «clicks» (usually 1 click refers to one submission, but some festivals take 0,5 click per submission). The cost of one click depends on your purchase amount.
1 click — 3 EUR;
3 clicks — 7 EUR (2,3 EUR per click);
10 clicks — 22 EUR (2,2 EUR per click);
20 clicks — 40 EUR (2 EUR per click);
50 clicks — 90 EUR (1,8 EUR per click);
100 clicks — 150 EUR (1,5 EUR per click);
200 clicks — 300 EUR (1,2 EUR per click);
500 clicks — 500 EUR (1 EUR per click).

  • service submissions and festivals fees discounts;
  • integration with other services for the files storage (Dropbox, Vimeo);
  • no filters to select the proper festivals for each film.

Amount of festivals: ~ 2100

The project of the famous Spanish distributor company Promofest. There are more than 2100 film festivals at the website. A lot of European, Spanish, Latin American Festivals. There are two versions of the interface to choose: English or Spanish.
The service submission cost varies from 1 to 3 EUR. The platform provides 10% discount for the paid festivals submission fees. They are paid separately.
The platform suggests to upload the film to the server or give a link to another resource where the file is stored (Dropbox или Vimeo). The uploaded file is kept at the server for 2 months (even if not submitted to any festival) and 1 month since the end of the last festivals it was submitted to.

  • You can buy «credits» to save up money while submitting (1 credit = 1 submission):
1 credit — 2 EUR;
5 credits— 8,95 EUR (thus the submission to the short film section will cost 1,79 EUR);
20 credits — 29,95 EUR (1,49 EUR per one);
75 credits— 89,95 EUR (1,19 per one).
  • Russian Interface;
  • uploading the heavy files (up to 20 Gb);
  • filters system to select the proper festivals: sorting by duration, by fee, by genres;
  • submission discounts;
  • Vimeo integration;
  • buyers catalogue;
  • online app for converting the files;
  • additional translation and subtitling services;
  • few American festivals in the database.

Amount of festivals: ~ 2900

Spanish company founded in 2010 by two experienced filmmakers. The service provides submissions to more than 2900 festivals (short and feature). There are a lot of Spanish spoken projects, festivals from the Latin American countries. The service submission fee is 2 EUR per one application. The info at the website is provided in 9 languages: Russian, English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, German and Portuguese.
Seems like the most attractive platform's feature is the opportunity to upload the huge files (up to 20 Gb) both for pre-watching and festival screening. The film is stored at the server for 6 months since its last upload. Recently the company has suggested the new service helping to save up money: one can provide a Vimeo link without uploading the film to the server. Though you need to buy an annual pass which costs 49,95 EUR.
Moreover, Festhome provides several additional services: catalogue for purchasers, service for converting the files, film translation (3 EUR per minute), subtitling (4 EUR per minute) and DCP (from 52 USD for the short film).
The platform is integrated with the VOD service IndiehomeTV, which helps to monetize film.

  • many fee free festivals;
  • an opportunity not to upload the file to the server but providing a link to other resources, such as Hightail or Dropbox;
  • filters to choose proper festivals for each film;
  • no straight card payment system (only via PayPal);
  • few American festivals.

Amount of festivals: ~ 1100

Spanish company founded in 2009. There are more than 1100 festivals in its catalogue for both short and feature films (mostly European ones). A lot of Spanish venues. The user can choose among the seven interface options: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Greek.
The submission cost varies from 1,5 to 4,84 EUR. The cost of one is inversely proportional to the total amount.
One can upload the files of different formats to the server (not more than 2 Gb) or add a link to Vimeo. There is a convenient festival sorting system at the platform by genre (comedy, horrors, westerns), formats (fiction, animation, documentary), themes (human rights, environment). You can also add festivals to the lists («interested», «seen», «not interested»).

  • one can follow interesting festivals, make ratings, leave the reviews, invite the users into the private virtual cinema room, get acquainted with colleagues and their works;
  • the service can be used both as an instrument for festival submissions and a professional social network;
  • filters system for festival search;
  • social networks integration (Facebook and Twitter);
  • thematic festivals lists;
  • an opportunity to create private virtual cinema rooms;
  • thematic blog with useful publications;
  • an opportunity to leave and read reviews on different festivals.

Amount of festivals: ~ 1100, ~ 400 can be submitted via the platform.

German company which is actually structured as the professional social network for the cinema industry members: filmmakers, festival managers, distributors and so on. The project provides the information about the festivals, an opportunity to contact other filmmakers and festivals managers. The users can leave reviews on the festivals thus creating ratings and lists of the most interesting projects. The service can be especially interesting for the first-time filmmakers that still feel themselves lost in the world of festivals: they can find experienced colleagues at the website who are ready to share their life hacks in filming and managing the projects. The English is the main language of the service so it is important to know it.
There are a little over 1100 world festivals in the database. To submit the film one needs to pay 2,99 EUR (for short film), 4,49 EUR (for middle-length film) or 5,99 EUR (feature film). You can also buy a subscription to an unlimited number of submissions, monthly payment is about 5 EUR. Though the film can’t be submitted to all 1100 festivals; the list of the festivals with open deadlines, which passed the service qualification and are accepting the applications is published separately. There are theme based festivals lists for documentaries, animation, LGBT films, horrors and so on.
The service is integrated with the popular social networks (Twitter and Facebook). That means you can enter the site via your account without registration. The project also provides a thematic blog with useful publications. The user can create private virtual cinema rooms and invite other members of the professional community.

  • Special currency — «credits» (1 credit = 1 submission). Optional card payment:
1 credit costs 2,5 EUR;
10 credits — 20 EUR (2 per submission);
50 credits — 75 EUR (1,5 per submission).
  • many fee free festivals;
  • only short films festivals;
  • only French festivals, most ask for the French subtitles.

Amount of festivals: ~ 80

The most specialized platform from the list. Its catalogue consists of about 80 short films French festivals. There are two interface options: English and French.
If you do not have French subtitles then this service is not worth using. The French tend to guard fervently their culture and language, because most of the festivals at the platform ask for the French subtitles. Each submission costs about 1,5-2,5 EUR.

  • submission fee;
  • special currency– «stamps». The cost of 1 stamp is decreasing proportionally to the amount bought:
1 stamp — 4,5 EUR;
5 stamps — 20 EUR (thus the cost of one stamp is 2 EUR);
10 stamps — 35 EUR (3,5 EUR per one submission);
20 stamps — 65 EUR (3,25 EUR per one submission);
50 stamps— 150 EUR (3 EUR per one submission).
  • many fee free festivals;
  • most of the festivals are France based.

Amount of festivals: ~ 40

Recently founded aggregator of the European - mostly French – documentary films festivals. The website has an intuitive modern interface. The service has a fee, but many festivals at the platform are free to submit. It is easy to register and submit the film, the platform informs about the deadline opening and all the stages of film consideration: receiving by selection committee, film selection to any festival programm, awards.
Moreover the resource has a vast archive of the documentary films, consisting of 16 000 items, that anyone can see joining the Club du Doc.

July 18, 2020

Text: Lika Lashuk, Dmitry Safin, Alexandra Filatova

Photo by NASA on Unsplash



«Cinema» is an online arthouse theater showing films that have been screened and awarded at film festivals and are available online and free of charge.