GUEST POST: Zach Jenkins

If you are a movie buff, chances are that you have attended or intended to attend a film festival. Whether it’s a theater experience or from the comfort of your own home, it is a very enjoyable time. My fiancée (Paige)  and I co-operate a horror film festival called Thrills, Chills, and Kills Film Festival. This year will be our last fully virtual event, as we are planning a physical event next year. Our growth has been eye opening to say the least. Our first year (2020) we had a tiny festival with only 15 films with one of them being feature length. In 2021 we had a massive jump in attendance and in submissions. With a jump from 15 to 76 films accepted, we knew this was taking off a little bit. This year (October 20th-23rd) we had an even larger jump in submissions. We had 290 films submitted to us across every continent and we narrowed it down to 84.

I encourage anyone with a love of film regardless of genre to attempt a virtual festival, it’s rewarding watching Directors, cast, and crew grow after their film gets screened. I will explain the process behind running a film fest using TCK as an example.

  1. Selecting the best site to manage submissions. We use FilmFreeway, it offers everything from email forms, ad creators, laurel creators to marketing options, and direct downloading of materials.
  1. Choosing your name and branding is very important in terms of standing out.
  1. Using Facebook groups and other areas to post for submission calling. It is very important to use this alongside any marketing the website provides. All you have to do is make a post with a picture of deadline dates and explain what your festival is and why filmmakers would submit their films.
  1. When the films start rolling in, it can be overwhelming at first but use any tools when it comes to sorting the films. We use built in flags on FilmFreeway and we also use Google Sheets and Trello for keeping everything together.
  1. When the final deadline is over with, it is time to make your final selections. We have judges that select awards for us. We provide nominees and they pick their favorites based on criteria. You can do this any way you would like.
  1. It is important to provide information to the selected directors, this can be done in the notification section on FilmFreeway. Provide everything you see as important.
  1. Find the perfect destination to stream the films. We use BingeWave, we can embed it into our website or we can direct viewers to watch on their site. There are many ways but be mindful of privacy first because most of the films are for festivals only at the time and are unreleased. You always want the security of knowing the films won’t be pirated.
  1. During festival time, make sure you are watching as well. It can be extremely fun to use the chat function to chat with actors, directors, and anyone else apart from the films. We have a blast hearing stories and connecting filmmakers to their audience.
  1. After the festival has concluded, you should announce winners of awards and send their winner laurels. The laurels can provide credibility for future years.

I hope you learned something or maybe got inspired. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to either me or Paige.

Boo-graphy:
Hello everyone, my name is Zach and I am a co-founder of Thrills, Chills, and Kills. I am the goofiest one of the bunch yet least likely to get injured from inanimate objects. I may have the least experience in writing (as you can probably tell) I make up for it in creative vision (most of the time). Horror has been in my veins for as long as I have been alive.  Having watched Halloween around a million times by now, I could probably quote every scene. 

I am also an aspiring filmmaker. I have completed 2 short films already and have ideas for several more films in this warped brain of mine. My first film The Mind’s Window is a 13 minute short about being locked in a space not knowing what is lurking on the outside. You can watch it on YouTube for the time being. I have always wanted to make a film that I’m proud of and I told myself this is the time to start. I have another film that is fully shot but is in editing purgatory at the moment. 

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