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How are independent films chosen for film festivals?

Movies are selected for film festivals through a rigorous process that involves careful consideration and evaluation by festival programmers and selection committees. While the specific criteria and procedures may vary from festival to festival, the general steps involved in the selection process are as follows:

Call for Entries:

Film festivals issue a call for entries, inviting independent filmmakers from around the world to submit their films for consideration. This call is usually open to both established and emerging filmmakers, encompassing various genres, themes, and formats.

Submission and Screening:

Independent Filmmakers submit their films to the festival through an online submission platform or by sending physical copies. The festival organizers then screen the submitted films to evaluate their quality, artistic merit, and relevance to the festival’s theme or focus.

Selection Committee:

Top Film Festivals typically assemble a selection committee consisting of experienced film professionals, critics, programmers, and industry experts. This committee is responsible for watching and reviewing the submitted films. They meticulously assess the films based on various criteria, including storytelling, direction, acting, technical aspects, and overall impact.


After careful evaluation, the selection committee shortlists a collection of films that they believe best represent the artistic and thematic vision of the festival. The final program aims to create a diverse and engaging lineup that showcases a range of perspectives, styles, and genres.


Once the films have been selected, the festival organizers inform the filmmakers about the status of their submissions. Selected filmmakers receive invitations to screening their films at the festival, while those not chosen are notified respectfully.

Festival Exhibition:

The selected films are scheduled for exhibition during the festival’s program. They are slotted into specific screening slots, and the festival organizers coordinate the logistics and technical aspects of the screenings.

Audience Response and Awards:

During the festival, audiences attend screenings and respond to the films through discussions, feedback, and voting. Some festivals also have a jury panel that evaluates the selected films and awards accolades in various categories, such as Best Film, Best Director, or Best Actor/Actress.

It’s important to note that film festivals vary in scale, prestige, and focus. Some festivals specialize in specific genres, themes, or regional cinema, while others have a broader selection. The selection process ultimately aims to curate a program that offers a diverse and engaging cinematic experience for festival attendees.

If you are an independent filmmaker, WFCN has the perfect platform for you. Once you are done making your independent movie, you can surf through our 600+ top film festivals and find your niche. We also have CANVAS, a platform for self-distribution. Go and check it out now!

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