Consultancy and Festival Submissions for Animated Shorts — Festagent / Scheriaa / ZippyFrames

Consultancy & Festival Submissions
for Animated Shorts

Collaboration Festagent (Russia) and Scheriaa Productions / Zippy Frames (Estonia).
The rules and requirements (competition categories, eligibility, premieres, etc.) of animation festivals can differ greatly from those of other film festivals. Festagent joins forces with animation services Scheriaa Productions / Zippy Frames; they both offer animation filmmakers the opportunity to navigate this specialized festival field with a clear strategy and the utmost efficiency.
Scheriaa Productions
Animation Production Company
Scheriaa Productions is an Estonian film production company, established in 2016. It has produced a 2D animation short Verikoka (dir. Spyros Siakas), and has in development two other animation shorts (The Sea Tranced Isle, Mar(t)y). Its client services include animation festival and event consultancy and strategy, and story development services.
Film Festival Promotion Agency
Festagent is a leading film festival distribution agency, established in 2010, based in Moscow.
Services provided by agency covers full circle of festival distribution: promotion, dcp's, poster design and subtitling.

Portfolio includes over 500 films.
Zippy Frames
Animation news website
Zippy Frames is the premier news website on independent animation. Since 2011, it covers and reports on all major animation events, it hosts and presents short animation films from all over the world, and it informs and analyzes trends that directly concern independent animation and its practitioners.

Vassilis Kroustallis

Yulia Travnikova
Festival Submissions


Short animation — under 40 min. Platform fees are included, but not festival fees.
100 €
Consultancy + 50 submissions
399 €
Consultancy + 100 submissions
599 €
Consultancy + 200 submissions
899 €
Consultancy + 300 submissions
1049 €


Vassilis Kroustallis
Vassilis is a film and animation professional with more than 10 years of animation festival experience, reporting and serving as jury in many animation festivals. He is a member of ASIFA-Hollywood, and he runs (since 2011) animation news website Zippy Frames. He has served in animation festival positions, and he is currently serves as Animation Programme director at PÖFF Shorts, Estonia.
We join your animated film with the right animation festivals for your film. It's a matchmaking process that we propose for you as a filmmaker and your film towards both animation festivals and animation pitching events. We prepare a festival roadmap for you to follow.

How it Works
  1. You submit your film and we watch it
  2. We arrange an online consultancy section
  3. We present you with a plan of action that includes:
  • the films first and alternative choices of festival premieres
  • not-to-miss festival participations
  • a detailed map of festival /event nodes to follow that could actually prove beneficial to your film's visibility and career

Festival Submissions

Submit entry forms, track results, help to organize your visit to the festival.
Developing festival distribution strategy in collaboration with directors and producers and select festival list for months ahead.
Submitting festival entry forms due to list and deadlines of the festivals.
Delivering all necessary info for festivals for their printed catalogues and dcp copies. Coordination of the communication in case of selection or winning.
Management of the submission fees. All info about fees is transparent and available in google spreadsheet with dates and screenshots of payments.
Managing relationships with selection committees and festival's organizers.
Line-up available 24/7
We maintain google-spreadsheet with all necessary information: list of festivals, deadlines, submitting status, tracking numbers, fees, commentaries etc.
Personal film card
We create film page for every client, where you can see all important info about your film. Also we use film pages in our film lists for friendly festivals.
Agency's film lists for festivals
We are in direct contact with some festival selection committees and know their needs for current year. Due to their request we prepare list of films, selected especially for this festival.


Among our clients we have international studios like Disney and leading animation and film studios from Russia, film Schools, TV channels and independent filmmakers.

Request Consultancy and Submitting

Please make the card of your film (instruction) — it will greatly speed up the work and the process of collecting the materials.
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What should be ready before start (checklist)

By the time of signing the contract, you need to collect materials on the project — without them we will not be able to start working with the film. The list is below.

1. Preview copy with English subtitles

The copy of the film in full HD 1920x1080 resolution (up to 2 GB for movies up to 30 minutes, up to 4.5 GB for the feature films) with English subtitles in the format * .mp4 or * .mov.

2. Preview copy without subtitles

A similar file, without subtitles in the original language.

3. Subtitles file in *.srt format

Even if your subtitles are embedded in the video, you will still need a separate file. It is required for translations at the festival. The file must be prepared in advance.

4. Logline and synopsis

Synopsis is used in all festival profiles. Read the article on writing logline and synopsis.

5. Director's biography and filmography

Required in all, without exception, festival profiles.

6. Director's statement

We recommend writing the director's statement so that we can use it for personal submission straight to the festival selection commeet.

7. 5 shots and director's photo

Photos in print quality (300 dpi) — can be used in the festival catalogue. The face on the photo should be clearly visible. The file is needed in print quality (300dpi) — for festival catalogue.

8. Film poster and trailer

These are additional files, but it is better to prepare them too. Poster is used in all online materials and can be printed and hung on the venues of the festival. The movie trailer can also be used as a promotion at the festival.

Read: How to make a movie poster.

9. DCP copy

You can prepare it right before the first festival screening. One version is enough, to which you can add an additional package (subtitles, audio tracks).

Questions and Answers

We have collected popular questions and answered them

General issues

Why do I need to send a film to a festival at all?
Festivals are the best way to show movies around the world, get a prize and money for the next project, travel and personally attend the screenings, find a distributor, make useful contacts in the industry, get feedback and read about your film in press. And in general, to be sure that the world get know about you. Among other things, the festival is always a holiday!
What is an animation festival consultancy?
Animation festival consultancy is an expert analysis of the film in the context of the festivals' choices. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the film, highlight the individual characteristics that are important for animation and film festivals, and also offer you the certain directions for promoting your project — which categories of festivals should it be sent first of all, in which countries it can be well received etc.
Can I send an animated short to a festival without having a consultancy first?
Of course you can. Animation short films can in principle travel in many animation festivals, because the premiere status there is not always a prerequisite. Yet, the fact that they can travel is no proof that they do travel, at least as efficiently as they could. While some films understandably get the big attention everywhere in the festival circuit, there are films that could benefit more if they had a more focused approach on where their filmmakers really want them to be. With everyone targeting the exact same group of festivals (and with festivals receiving an ever-increasing number of submissions), it is essential to know your way through both animation and film festivals -even if you have to submit to most of them. And remember, your budget and your premiere preferences still count.
Is there any confidentiality in this consultancy procedure?
We don't leak personal or film info online or in any other way, and we expect the same from you as well.
What is included in the price of the service?
Included in the price are the following issues:

  • Film promotion consultancy and strategy  : film analysis and highlighting the festival promotion potential;
  • Selection and compilation of festivals list;
  • Conforming the list of festivals with the author of the film;
  • Filling in the festivals' applications in English
  • Translation of the questionnaire into English (if you do not have a readymade translation);
  • Writing synopsis and logline for the film, cover letters to festivals;
  • Recording and printing on a DVD (as long as necessary), envelopes and other materials;
  • Payment for postal services in Russia (150–300 rubles for one shipment);
  • Payment for online platform fees in EUR or USD (an average of 2-6 USD per application);
  • Correspondence with the organizers of the festivals in English;
  • Informing you about film's selection;
  • Assisting in sending DCP-copies of the film online (unless courier services are required);
  • Consultations on the presentation of the film at the festival;
  • Assisting in obtaining visas and organizing trips to the festival;
  • Maintaining a progress report table;
  • Tracking the results of the work of selection committees and the festivals results.
And what is not included in the price and I will have to pay myself?

Not included in the price are the following issues:
  • Fees for participation in paid festivals (entry fees);
  • Additional services: video conversion, translation and subtitles, dialogue/ editing sheets, creating DCP-copies;
  • Sending a copy for screening at the festival by courier services DHL and FEDEX (at first we always try to arrange a DCP transfer straight with the festival via online services).
What guarantees do you provide?
  • The festivals (and sections) chosen by the agents correspond to the theme and genre of your film, and the technical details correspond to the regulations;
  • The film will be submitted to the festival on time. We do not guarantee (and no one can) the selection of the film into the competition programm;
  • We work under the contract;
  • Exclusive rights for the film remain totally yours. Under the contract, we have the right to sign the festival applications, to reproduce the film (DVD replication for festivals and private links);
  • Prizes, diplomas and cash awards belong to you as the copyright holder;
  • Security at all stages of work, the film will be seen only by selection commitees.
Why do festivals charge money for entries?
Festivals charge money for submission for two reasons:

  • This is an additional source of the festival budget;
  • It disciplines the filmmakers.
With the development of technology in the world has increased the number of produced video and film products. And at the same time greatly the submission process is simplified. The fees are needed for arrangement of this space. The fees for the festivals range from $5 to $150, a short film is cheaper than full of course.
Can I send my film only to free festivals? Most animation festivals are free, anyway.
Yes, you can. But keep in mind that you’ll probably need to send it also to short film festivals and film festivals in general; and 95% of the festivals in America, UK and Australia have paid entries. If you are interested in these geographical areas, plan your budget for the fees. Most of the top festivals also need paid applications (Berlinale, Venice, Rotterdam and others), and sometimes it happens that a particular paid festival fits the film thematically. Even some animation festivals / short film festivals have now introduced fees. According to statistics, more and more festivals around the world every year turns to paid applications.
How many applications do you need to make so that the film will be shown at least at one of them?
There is no general answer to this question. Each film has its own destiny - some will be taken for the competition, so to say "from the street", from the first application sent. And sometimes good films are not taken for months. Do not forget that a huge amount of projects are sent to both animation and film festivals in general, starting from 800 to the average animation festival to 2500 for top animation festivals (and the number is even bigger for short film festivals and film festivals). From this amount only several dozens of authors are invited to participate.

Therefore the general recommendation — the more applications the better, especially for short films. It is better to do about 120-180 shipment submissions in a year. In this case it is possible to cover the whole range of festivals suitable for the film. But an individual strategy is always available, taking into account your personal budget and time resource.
Which film is considered an animation short, and which is an animation feature?
There is no set standard. On average, an animated short film can be around 10 minutes, but festivals accept both shorter and longer films; however, if your animated short is more than 40 minutes, it is then considered an animation feature by some festivals.

At the same time, if your film is longer than 20 minutes there may be animation festivals which will not accept your film; longer animation shorts are more difficult to programme, especially at festivals with a small competition, where the number of sessions is limited.

On the other hand, if your animation short is very short (up to 3 or 5 minutes), there are festivals with specific competitions for very short films and an associated programme. There are also festivals where a narrow theme (genre, technique) is set.

Do I need to acquire rights fot the music playing in the film? If I made a film based on a literature text, do I have to buy the rights for it?
In accordance with Art. 1274 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation for educational shows it is allowed to use other rightholder works without the consent of the author and without paying remuneration, but with the obligatory indication of the author's name and the source of borrowing. In all other cases for any public shows you need to acquire rights, regardless of the length of the music part. The exclusive copyright of works is limited (it generally expires 70 years after the author's death), but even if the work you are using is now in the public domain, there are related rights to recorded performances (for example, the orchestra playing the composition by Bach that you want use in the film) and phonograms.

Application Form and Files

Why do we need such a detailed questionnaire?
There are no random questions in the questionnaire. Since the film festivals world is big we need the most various information about the film.

Is the music in the film original, or was it bought in the record library? — Film festivals that award prizes for soundtrack must know if the original music sounds in the proposed film, or from some resource.

Did the film have public screenings? — Depending on where the film has already been shown an individual consultancy of promotion to top festivals is provided, taking into account the status of premiere.
In the questionnaire you ask about the wishes for promotion, do you take them into account?
Of course we take into account your wishes and choose the appropriate festivals. For example, you want to participate in festivals of a particular region or country, or you want festivals with paid prizes — we will take this into account when making the list.
What should I write in the director's biography?
Biography should be short. Likely it includes the year and place of birth, education and professional success of the director (prizes, participation in festivals and well-known educational programs). If you are a human orchestra — name your main professional interests: Ivan Ivanov (born 1980) — director, screenwriter, animator, bodybuilder and specialist in ancient Russian literature. In total the text should be packed in 3-5 sentences.
What is the director's statement?
A few words from the director to present his film to the audience. Why this film is important for the author, and why he wants to show it to the whole world. Interesting facts about the film and the history of its creation. The form is free, but not more than 1500 characters with spaces.
Why do you need my home address?
It’s the festivals who need your home address, not us — the director's home address is often required to be indicated on the application form when the film is submitted. Sometimes festivals' souvenirs to this address can be sent — postcards, catalogs and certificates of participation.
What is the difference between the open premiere of the film and the closed one?
The open premiere of the film is usually the first festival screening. Previous screenings for friends, for the project team and their friends and friends of their friends are private screenings, even if they were held at the cinema (one-time, without selling tickets).
Why do you need the cutting script or srt?
They are needed for translation of the film into other languages. Some festivals translate films into the languages of their countries, and to do this without any extra cost, the srt file (external subtitles) in English is suitable, or at least dialogue sheets with input and output timecodes of each phrase. Sometimes festivals ask to provide these documents when submitting an application, so that they will already have all the necessary files for translators to form the program. Otherwise the festivals request subtitles files from the filmmakers after forming the programm, and those do not always send them on time.

How to get started

Can I trust the list of festivals that my agent has selected?
Absolutely. Festivals are selected according to the individual film strategy, where priority directions of promotion are stated. You get the strategy before starting to work, so there will be no surprises for you on this issue. And, of course, you can be sure that your film fits the regulations of selected festivals (timing, year of release, etc.).
Can you contribute to including the film into the festival program? Perhaps you have some connections?
No, the final choice of film stands for the festival program director. Of course, nobody is an isolated island, and in the film and animation world sometimes you have to wear a lot of hats to learn the animation and film community better. Yet, the final program is influenced by many factors, and no one will meet the wishes of someone at the expense of the status of their event. The best way to get to the festival is to make a great film!

What should be written in cover letters (cover letters to the application for the festival)?
This is an optional item when filling in the applications, but if there are important facts about the film that should be known by the festival, you must write about them. For example, you have a co-production and a team from a country other than your own, you should mention that. Or you wish to display better your animation technique(s) Or the film perfectly matches the stated theme of the festival. Or the director has already participated in this festival with a previous film.

Read: How to write a cover letter.
What are the ways to sending films to festivals using FA?
We use all existing shipping methods: platforms, forms on festivals sites, vimeo-links, dvd with questionnaires by mail. Information about the submission method is entered into the festival table, so each application can be tracked — mailing by individual number on the Russian Post website, application from the platform — by status on the film's internal page on the website, and so on. At some festivals, we send films directly to the selectors.
How long can I promote a film to the film festivals?
The average period of the festival film life is a year or two. This is due to the fact that large festivals, as a rule, do not accept films created more than two years ago. Therefore it is important to start the festival promotion on time. If the film was shown somewhere once, and then it laid "on the shelf" for a year or two, it would be difficult to work with it.
Can I refuse to participate in the festival?
As a rule, yes. Some festivals mention this in the contract, which is often the application on the site, that the film cannot be removed from the program after its public announcement. But in this case, there is also a high probability that the festival will agree to the author's request in this matter.
How can I go to the festival if my film was taken into the program?
If the film is an animation feature, then, as a rule, the festival pays for the coming of at least one from a film crew to present the film at the screening, press conference, opening / closing ceremonies, etc. Details of the trip are discussed individually.

If the film is an animation short, the festivals in rare cases cover all the costs of the trip; sometimes they only pay for accommodation, but in any case they will be happy to see you. You can always visit the festival, and it is worth doing. FA will provide you with maximum assistance in dealing with the film festival up to the organization of the trip.
I want to participate in paid festivals, what is the procedure?
We determine paid festivals for a period of 1-3 months in advance; you make a deposit, from which we pay the fees. Due to frequent changes in the exchange rate, we either accept money in the currency of contributions, or recalculate it once a month.