What Is The Film Festival Circuit?
Film Festival Circuit LLC, is a partnership of eight 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.
- Austin After Dark Film Festival
- Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
- Austin Micro Short Film Festival
- Houston Comedy Film Festival
- Oregon Documentary Film Festival
- Oregon Scream Week: Horror Film Festival
- Oregon Short Film Festival
- Portland Comedy Film Festival
Event Calendar - Chronological Order
- August 16-19, 2020 - Oregon Short Film Festival
- TBA 2020 - Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival
- TBA 2020 - Oregon Documentary Film Festival
- September 11, 2020 - Houston Comedy Film Festival
- September 12, 2020 - Austin After Dark Film Festival
- September 13, 2020 - Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
- September 14, 2020 - Austin Micro Short Film Festival
- October 15-19, 2020 - Portland Comedy Film Festival
Learn How To Get Selected By More Film Festivals
My name is Mikel Fair and I have written this 30 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, about how the packaging and editing of your submission can have a direct effect on how many festivals that your film is accepted to. Priced under $10 US, I have made this book affordable for everyone and will email you any new versions that we release until January 2021. Read the first chapter for free! (LINK)
“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)
The Austin After Dark Film Festival is an event dedicated to Films, videos and screenplays dedicated to content for a mature audience. Dark Science Fiction, Dark Drama, Dark Comedy, Horror Films, Dark Animation, Experimental Films and so much more. If your content is not appropriate for children, this festival was specifically designed for this type of content. In 2019, we sold out 2 theater rooms on a Friday night at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline. The Austin independent film community comes out of the woodwork to check out what international filmmakers are presenting in the genres that are less mainstream than most film festivals.
The Portland Comedy Film Festival screens more comedy short films, music videos and web series episodes than any comedy film festival we know of. With a spring and fall session every year, screening 150-250 videos each session, this event has opened the door for 100's of comedy filmmakers and screenwriters. Portland is a great, laid back city with positive energy, a friendly atmosphere and liberal arts community that really gives you the Northwestern US experience. The event is casual with lots of laughs, networking and connections to be made. All types of comedy, from diverse countries, lifestyles, ideologies and age groups merge in a way that few film festivals do. It is less about "the look" and more about the laughs. A formula that gives more opportunities to comedy creators than a lot of the mainstream festivals that hyper focus on the drama genre.
Rapid fire, back to back, micro films, music videos, animations, commercials, documentaries, horror, comedy, sci fi, romantic comedy, drama. They all keep coming at you with the Austin Micro Short Film Festival which specializes in films that are 6 minutes or less in length of all genres. There are few places that offer a viewing experience where you can see 100 films in 210 minutes. I promise you that it's not as painful as the brainwashing "Ludwig van" scene in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange." It's a refreshing experience of variety, diversity and unexpected applause, laughter and screams that is really different from the way anyone watches video. The judges do a great job of selecting a collection of videos and putting them in a specific order which takes the audience on a wild ride.
The Houston Comedy Film Festival was founded in 2008 and is the event that started it all. As a freelance location sound mixer and production manager in the Film and Television industry, this event was a side thing that turned into a big thing. I knew that we put something together that was special, when filmmakers from London, Israel, Russia, Germany and about 35 US States showed up at the theater to watch their films screen and enjoy the fun. Since then, it has been a wildly successful event, rated in the FilmFreeway top 100 and has a reputation for picking the funniest screenplays and films on the circuit. More than half of the judges speak English and Spanish and have been watching independent films for years.
The Oregon Documentary Film Festival specializes in documentary film and docuseries episodes exclusively. The audience that attends, is usually a bit older than our other events. They are always on time and don't seem to leave until the last minute of every film has screened. This is an audience that wants to be educated, learn something new or experience a story that is unusual. Everything from medical docs, environmental docs, military docs, LGBTQ stories, social justice, politically charged issues and inspirational stories screen in Portland for this event. Take a look at the main page for this festival to get an idea of films that have screened at this event in the past.
The Austin Comedy Short Film Festival is a bi-annual event on the Film Festival Circuit for comedy filmmakers and screenwriters from all over the world to showcase their creative works in Texas. This event screens international independent short films in a "back to back" format in HD 1080p at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline. The Austin Comedy Short Film Festival judges are searching for funny and engaging films to entertain a comedy loving audience. All types of comedy submissions are selected and screened including Funny Music Video, Web Series Episodes, Dark Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Mockumentary, TV Pilots, Commercials, Micro Films, Animated Comedy, Horror Comedy, Stand-up Comedy, Sketch Comedy, and any other type of Comedy that you can think of. We want our audience to laugh non-stop in a fun, fast paced program at a great venue. Enjoy a great slate of films on a massive theater screen with large cushioned chairs. You can order appetizers, meals, desert and a full bar menu from your seat and still get the full theater experience while you watch films. Austin is a great independent film town and this event is a lot of fun, as well as, a great opportunity to network with filmmakers, screenwriters, crew, actors and industry professionals at our Awards and Filmmaker Networking Mixer event.
At Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival, the freaks come out at night. The most rabid, dedicated scary movie fans in the Northwest US support this festival. It's not just the Horror Films though, the Horror Comedy genre is in high demand for this festival as well. Just as important as scaring the pants off of people, the Horror Comedy films in the tradition of Shaun Of The Dead, get big laughs from the audience as well and help break up the tension. Dark Science Fiction, Dark Animation and Dark Drama and Suspense stories are mixed in as well. Combine all of that with some cold Portland area beverages and you've got yourself a party.
When this event started in 2016, it was a small crowd in a small room, watching a fun selection of films. Well, the Oregon Short Film Festival is no longer a small event. With over 2000 in attendance (about 512 unique attendees) at our Winter 2020 event, OSFF is growing at a record pace. A showcase of the best creative work on the Film Festival Circuit of all genres, 30 minutes or less. Great acting, stunning cinematography and most importantly, the best stories from around the world screen at the Oregon Short Film Festival. I'll put the quality of this line-up against any festival, large or small, in the world.
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 in a two hour period from twenty (20) different directors. 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 an opportunity to fully experience these films that they are personally attached to.
Want To Learn More About Our Film Festival Judging Process?
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 pay our judges a small fee to watch and grade movies. Typically, they need a break from Netflix binge watching anyway. Therefore, they are happy to get paid to watch films as a change of pace. In order to fund our judging process and events we have submission fees for screenplays, films and videos. If you'd like to learn more, please click on the links below.
Filmmakers from New Zealand @ Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017
A Screenwriter That Purchased The Judges Notes
New York City Filmmaker
Our Top Three Film Festivals For Comedy Films And Screenplays
The Houston Comedy Film Festival, the Austin Comedy Short 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
The Oregon Short Film Festival, the Austin Micro Short Film Festival and Oregon Scream Week: Horror Film Festival, accept a lot of comedy films. These festivals play the comedy films in groups. For example, Oregon Scream Week has a Horror Comedy category. Sometimes we get submissions from filmmakers that are a parody of the genre. Films that feature vegetarian vampires, zombies that take selfies, or people being attacked by a trash bag from outer space. These films really lighten the mood and get everyone warmed up at the beginning of a horror film festival program. Before the films about people falling into the wood chopper, being eaten by monsters or tortured by someone's crazy grandmother.
Oregon Short Film Festival Attendees
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 Short 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.
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.
Director From Australia
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.
Top Documentary Film Festivals And The Demand For More
Are you looking to screen your film at a dedicated Documentary Film Festival in Atlanta or a passionate Documentary Film Festival in Oregon? A couple of years ago we launched the Georgia Documentary Film Festival and Oregon Documentary Film Festival to meet the demand for this genre. Documentary Film enthusiast really love the education, research and dramatic stories that our judges have selected. Learning something new about science, history or life in foreign countries, is an opportunity that attracts a special dedicated audience. The support for international independent films has been amazing in Atlanta and Portland. Are you ready to send us your Documentary Film?
Writer/Producer for Los Angeles
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.
Oregon Music Video Director
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.
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 Inc.
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 Short Film Festival Official Selection: Hammersmith Hurdle Of Dreams
Austin Micro Short 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: Song In A Day (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