5.3 Service Guides for Professionals

For newcomers to the international film festival circuit, festivals are notoriously difficult places to find your way around. Filmmakers are burdened by a host of practical questions, ranging from how to submit films to festivals and increase chances of selection to using festivals to close distribution deals or find funding. For these “virgin” professionals service guides are published that offer “strategies for survival” or disclose “festival secrets.” For those aiming to set up their own film festival, there are also several guides on the market. Besides giving practical information many of the guidebooks mentioned below include some historical background information. For academics, they are of interest mainly because of the revealing “human interest” look at the real life struggles of filmmakers, only a few of whom will find success.


Beutelschmidt, Thomas, and Wolfgang Samlowski. 1991. International Guide Film-Video-Festivals ’91. Berlin: Vistas.

How to Set up a Film Festival. 2001. With the assistance of P. Eldridge and J. Voss. London: BFI. Accessed April 14, 2020. https://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-how-to-set-up-a-film-festival-2001.pdf.

At a Cinema near You: Strategies for Sustainable Local Cinema Development. 2002. With the assistance of R. Baker, J. R. Inglis and J. Voss. London: BFI. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://filmresearch.org/pdf/618.pdf.

Craig, Benjamin. 2004. Sundance: A Festival Virgin’s Guide: Surviving and Thriving in Park City at America’s Most Important Film Festival. London: Cinemagine Media.

Craig, Benjamin. 2006. Cannes: A Festival Virgin’s Guide: Attending the Cannes Film Festival for Filmmakers and Film Industry Professionals. 5th ed. London: Cinemagine Media.

Edwards, Rona, and Monika Skerbelis. 2012. The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide to Film Festivals: Your All Access Pass to Launching Your Film on the Festival Circuit. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Falco, Sidney. 1988. “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Film Festivals: (But Were Afraid to Ask).” Films & Filming (405): 22–23.

Gann, Jon. 2012. Behind the Screens: Programmers Reveal How Film Festivals Really Work. Washington, DC: Reel Plan Press.

Gann, Jon. 2012. “’Develop Meaningful Relationships’: Joanne Feinberg, Ashland Independent Film Festival.” In Behind the Screens: Programmers Reveal How Film Festivals Really Work, 167–78. Washington, DC: Reel Plan Press.

Gann, Jon. 2012. “’Dream Big. Never Settle. Give Everything.’: Roberta Marie Munroe, Producer and Film Consultant.” In Behind the Screens: Programmers Reveal How Film Festivals Really Work, 191–203. Washington, DC: Reel Plan Press.

Gann, Jon. 2012. “Why Did My Film Not Get in?!”. In Behind the Screens: Programmers Reveal How Film Festivals Really Work, 5–6. Washington, DC: Reel Plan Press.

Gaydos, Steven, ed. 1998. The Variety Guide to Film Festivals: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Film Festivals Around the World. New York: Berkley Publ. Group.

Gore, Chris. 1999. The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide. Los Angeles, CA: Lone Eagle.

Greuling, Matthias. 2004. Cannes, Venedig, Berlin: Die grossen Filmfestivals. Norderstedt: Books on Demand. Ein Servicebuch für Filmer und Medienvertreter.

Holland, Christopher. 2009. Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent Filmmakers. Austin, TX: Stomp Tokyo. Accessed April 21, 2020. http://www.filmfestivalsecrets.com/dddownload/.

Langer, Adam. 1998. The Film Festival Guide: For Filmmakers, Film Buffs, and Industry Professionals. Chicago, Ill. Chicago Review Press.

Mirvish, Dan. 2017. The Cheerful Subversive’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking: From Preproduction to Festivals and Distribution. New York: Routledge Focal Press.

Nowlan, Robert A, and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan. 1988. An Encyclopedia of Film Festivals. Foundations in library and information science 23. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Stolberg, Shael. 1998. International Film Festival Guide. Toronto: Festival Products.

Tanner, Laurie Rose. 2005. Creating Film Festivals: Everything You Wanted to Know but Didn’t Know Who to Ask. San Francisco: Big Horse Inc.

Vannucci, Enrico. 2020. “Training Documentary Professionals: An Interview with Stefano Tealdi, Member of the Executive Board of Documentary Campus Workshop.” In Documentary Film Festivals Vol. 2: Changes, Challenges, Professional Perspectives, edited by Aida Vallejo and Ezra Winton, 185–90. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wolf, Reinhard W. 2017. “Checklist for Online Festival Submissions.” shortfilm.de, December 6, 2017. http://www.shortfilm.de/en/checkliste-fuer-online-festival-einreichungen/.

(Last updated: 11. April 2024)