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What Is The Film Festival Circuit?

Film Festival Circuit LLC, is a partnership of different film festival events in the United States. We accept film and screenplay submissions from international independent filmmakers. Each festival has its own set of judges and have very different audiences. Each group of judges independently evaluates submissions. Then, we judge and score each submission in order to present the highest rated films for theatrical release. Have you read our article, Film Festival Submission Tips? This is a great resource that may help strengthen your submission for the Film Festival Circuit. The following is a list of our events.

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Film Festivla Submitter's Handbook ebook and AudioBook

Learn How To Get Selected By More Film Festivals

My name is Mikel Fair and I have written this 37 page ebook to help filmmakers strengthen their submission when submitting to film festivals. This guide is based on my experience, starting in 2008 as a Film Festival Director that has watched, rated and reviewed more than 5000+ submissions of all genres from over 100 countries. There are several mistakes that filmmakers are making on a daily basis that I can help you avoid. I explain in detail how the packaging and editing of your submission can have a direct effect on how many festivals accept film. Download the ebook and audiobook bundle for only $14.99 today. I have made this information affordable for everyone and will email you any new versions that we release until January 2023. Read the first chapter for free! (LINK)

TESIMONIAL: “I just wanted to write and say that I stumbled across the Film Festival Submitter's Handbook today. I decided to purchase it, and read it this evening. It was a great read, and thank you for putting it together. I've only got one short film under my belt. I think I made a few of the mistakes you wrote about in your book when submitting the first time around. At first, It seemed like a lot of extra effort to fill out some of those forms on FilmFreeway, but it was really nice to get feedback from someone who actually is on the other side of it, and hammer home the importance of some of these details. I'll certainly modify my approach based on this information. Best $10 I've spent in a while.” - Ryan (Short Film Director)

Where Do These Films Come From?

Thousands of films are produced by independent filmmakers from around the world every day.  For most filmmakers, there are only a few places where their work can be seen. There are online options like YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo. Then there are public screenings at Film Festival Events, which is what we specialize in. These events are an opportunity for filmmakers to project their work on the big screen for an audience that may not normally reach. Filmmakers work hard to create films for a variety of reasons. Some filmmakers are trying to build their director or actor resume, create a web series, complete a school assignment, and sometimes, they create films, just because it's fun. Our judges watch and rate every submission that we receive thoroughly. Therefore, we believe that our film festival events showcase the best of the best creative work that is submitted to us.


"Awesome! Thank you so much Mikel and your team! I had SUCH a blast. What a great Film Festival Circuit event!" - Jessica Mulder, Screenwriter/Actress. Winner of the Portland Comedy Film Festival Spring 2019 Best Actress Award.

Why Film Festivals Are A Celebration

Our film festival events are fresh, fun, cutting edge, creative and captivating. For example, most people are not used to watching twenty (20) short comedy films from twenty different directors in a two hour period. It's a completely different experience than sitting down and watching a traditional 250 million dollar superhero film. We've had filmmakers fly to our festival events from Japan, Israel, Canada, UK, Spain, Peru and many cities throughout the United States. Why? Because it's an opportunity to have people watch their films and then interact with the audience afterwards. It is a memorable experience that is different then simply posting a video online. Also, friends and family that have never seen these films on the big screen get the full theatrical film experience.

Want To Learn More About Our Film Festival Judging Process?

Have you ever wondered what criteria we use to judge for our comedy film festivals? Our process for selecting comedy films, dark comedy films, funny music videos and web series episodes is pretty straight forward. When my wife Brooke and I started the Houston Comedy Film Festival in 2008, there weren’t many resources available that would clearly explain the judging process. Over the years, we have a developed a system that is fair and ensures that we always present a great line-up of films. We have created the Film Festival Judging Guide. It covers the following genres.

  • Action Films
  • Animated Films
  • Comedy Films
  • Documentary Films
  • Drama Films
  • Experimental Films
  • Horror Films
  • Music Videos
  • Science Fiction Films


Are You Ready To Screen Your Film On The Festival Circuit?

We have over one hundred (100) judges that help us rate films and screenplays. Each festival is assigned a different group of 12-20 judges each. Some judges only watch a few films, others watch 100's. We have over 100 paid judges that watch and rate submissions. Typically, they need a break from Netflix binge watching anyway. Therefore, they are happy watch films as a change of pace.

Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017

Filmmakers from New Zealand @ Austin Comedy Film Festival Fall 2017


Oregon Short Film Festival 2018 Event
Dorie Casper

New York City Filmmaker

"Thank you so much for everything! We were so excited not only to be part of the Oregon Short Film Festival but to be an award winner as well! Hope to see you in the years to come."

Dorie Casper Actress & Screenwriter

Our Top Three Film Festivals For Comedy Films And Screenplays

The Houston Comedy Film Festival, the Austin Comedy Film Festival and the Portland Comedy Film Festival. These three festivals combined, have received over 8,000 submissions in the last 10 years. We strive to have a system that is consistent. Which is important to the integrity of our events. Each of these three comedy film festivals have a completely different set of 12 judges. Sometimes these different groups will rate films higher or lower than the others. It's all about the perception of "what is funny" to the individual judge. We also have three film festivals that accept comedy films as a category, as well as, accept other genres.

Our Top Three Film Festivals With A Comedy Category
Jessica And David Martin

Oregon Short Film Festival Attendees

I've never been to a film festival before and this was so awesome! The program was so fun and different. It felt like I went to Film School, there were so many independent and fun ideas. One film made me cry. I got to meet actors from some of the movies too.

Jessica And David Martin Elementary School Teacher
Comedy Films Have Special Value In A Drama Film Heavy Film Festival

Comedy Films Have Special Value In A Drama Film Heavy Film Festival

Growing up, I used to watch the Oscars every year. I stopped watching about ten years ago, because I get the feeling that drama films get all the glory. It is rare that fun films  get their fair share of the awards. Film after film about death, tears, illness, dramatic acting and earth shattering moments are the essence of drama films. Beautiful cinematography and actors that are fighting for social justice are very popular in Hollywood. Hence, most of our submissions to the Austin Micro Film Festival and the Oregon Short Film Festival have a serious tone. Filmmakers are ready to make a statement, which is awesome. But sometimes we need to mix in a few comedies, animated films, music vides and drama films with comedic elements to lighten things up. We have found that "depress fest" only works, if there are some fun moments sprinkled in. Therefore, we are looking for fun films to lighten the mood at our all-genre film festivals. As a result, getting a better audience response.

Portland Comedy Film Festival 2018

Our Audience Loves Drama, Horror, Documentary Films And More

Although we started with the Houston Comedy Film Festival, it's the Oregon Short Film Festival that expanded our horizons. The Oregon Short Film Festival was the first film festival that we created outside of Texas. My wife is originally from Oregon and after visiting 4-5 times per year, we decided to move. We wanted to start something fresh, new and really get to know what Oregonian film lovers wanted. We screened all genres of films and then sat around with a group of filmmakers and film enthusiasts until 2am picking their brains about the films they liked. We were shocked, because everyone had such different tastes. Drama, horror, documentary films and even our experimental category had people buzzing with enthusiasm.

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Darcie Irwin-Simpson

Director From Australia

Thank you for putting on such a fun event. Great page you have created for my film, The Peacock, thanks! It was wonderful to be a part of your festival and a nice bonus to be nominated for best international director. I'm flattered that my film from Australia made such an impact with the judges and the Texas audience.

Darcie Irwin-Simpson Director/Actress
The Top Drama Film Festivals And Why People Liked Them

The Top Drama Film Festivals And Why People Liked Them

Our audience explained to us, that drama films helped them related to real stories. Discussing powerful emotional moments, films that dealt with grief, sickness, politics, arguments, romance, relationships and sexuality. People love drama films, because of the connection they feel with them. We got compliments on the number of international films that we screened. The audience didn't seem to complain about subtitles or other languages. Drama film fans embrace the cinematography and powerful music in the Drama genre as well.

Documentary Film Category Judging Guide Download .pdf or Read It Online - Click Here -

Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018
Clarissa Jacobson

Writer/Producer for Los Angeles

Thank you for that flipping awesome shout out on TWITTER about our film "Lunch Ladies!" Putting together all those photos - all that takes so much time - thank you for working so hard to promote Oregon Scream Week!

Clarissa Jacobson Writer/Producer of "Lunch Ladies"
Portland Comedy Film Festival 2018 Day 4 Event

Top Horror Film Festivals And Why People Travel To Ours

Oregon Scream Week shocked us all with the number of serious Horror Film fans that turned out. In Portland, Oregon, the freaks come out at night. There were so many people that showed up to watch the horror film genre and not just a specific film. It was like "show me everything you got" instead of "when is this particular movie playing." When filmmakers flew in from South Korea, Japan and France, I knew that something really different was happening.

Ana Valenzuela

Oregon Music Video Director

Thank you so much for choosing my music video as the winner! I am truly honored! You've made me the happiest girl ever! Smile 🙂 I had an amazing time at your event! Thank you so much for having me!

Ana Valenzuela Director
Where Do The Judges Come From And How Do You Find Them?

Where Do The Judges Come From And How Do You Find Them?

We get a lot of our judges from film enthusiasts that email us and want to be a part of the process. We also run ads on craigslist as well as meet people through networking. It’s not a requirement to be in the film industry to judge films. We like to have judges that are enthusiastic, consistent and who really enjoy it. It’s easy to “burn out” if you’re not very interested in independent film. Some judges will commit to watching less films, others will binge an entire festival season without blinking.

Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017 Event
Who Runs All Of These Film Festivals?

Mikel and Brooke Fair started the Houston Comedy Film Festival in 2009 to give filmmakers a place to screen their comedy films and target the independent film audience. Mikel Fair worked in production and post production in the film industry from 1999-2015 as a Freelance and Union Location Sound Mixer. Mikel also worked as a Field Producer and Production Manager in the Television industry from 2009-2015. Mikel and Brooke moved from Texas to Oregon in 2015 and are now producing film festival events full time under the name Film Festival Circuit LLC.

Why Do You Have So Many Events And How Do You Do It All?

Why Do You Have So Many Events And How Do You Do It All?

It’s pretty simple, we love screening independent films in theaters for people that really appreciate independent filmmaking. We don’t produce these events by ourselves. We have over fifty judges in Texas and in Oregon that watch films and read screenplays all year around. Some judges prefer specific genres like comedy, documentaries or horror films. Others like to watch everything. We pay all of our judges a small portion of each submission fee collected. It’s kind of like binge watching Netflix or Hulu, but you you get paid to do it.

Watch Films Now!

Austin Comedy Film Festival Official Selection:  Hammersmith Hurdle Of Dreams

Austin Micro Film Festival Official Selection: Lion On Tiger - The Fast Food Version, Animated Music Video

Austin After Dark Film Festival Official Selection: Safe (Action, Science Fiction)

Houston Comedy Film Festival Official Selection: Sudden Death (Comedy Film / Musical)

Oregon Documentary Film Festival Official Selection:The Hunt for the Asian Giant Hornet (Documentary Film)

Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival Official Selection: The Dollmaker (Dark Drama, Horror Film)

Oregon Short Film Festival Official Selection: Monday (Experimental Film)

Portland Comedy Film Festival Official Selection: Anything I Can Do


Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017 Event
Giancarlo Fusi

Screenwriter From London

"You're doing such a great job of promoting the selected works on Facebook and Twitter. So much better than other festivals! I'm sure all the filmmakers and screenwriters appreciate it. I know I do!"

Giancarlo Fusi Screenwriter
Houston Comedy Film Festival  2018 Event