To up-and-coming filmmakers, rejection by a major festival might seem like a horror story. To veterans of the independent film industry, it’s simply a fact of life. Let’s look at the hard facts: there were 193 films screened at Sundance in 2013. Sounds like a lot, right? That is, until you look at the number of submissions: 12,000. You can do the math yourself.
Getting rejected by one festival, or even multiple festivals, is no sign that your movie can’t find success. There are more factors at play than whether a film is “good” or “bad.” Maybe your film just didn’t gel with the rest of the scheduled programming, or clashed with the tastes of that particular festival. Maybe they just ran out of slots. Rejection by Sundance or SXSW doesn’t mean your film is hopeless. It means that you need to search out another festival and try again.
IndieFilmmaker.org has a searchable film festival database to assist you in the process. There are currently 1,575 entries logged in their database – it may seem daunting, but with some hard work you’re sure to find a good match for your film. Good luck!