One of the most frequently asked questions we get from filmmakers is whether submissions need to be premieres to show at our festival. The question comes up because many festivals do require a premiere for consideration. It helps with marketing a festival when you’re sure no one in your potential audience has seen the film yet. It also allows for a certain amount of prestige to have the premiere…be it the world premiere, US premiere or the State premiere…of a particular movie.
The Frederick Film Festival is not immune to that. We like premieres, of course, for those very same reasons. Particularly the bit about audience members. If you have a choice between a premiere and a film that’s been on the festival circuit in the US for a while, you’re deciding between a film that NO ONE in your audience has likely seen versus a film that an audience filled with film festival fans may have had the opportunity to see previously. The premiere is obviously the safer bet and the better chance of having something to offer the audience that they haven’t yet seen. The non-premiere has some name recognition. Sometimes it’s a tough call.
That said, we at the F3 have no premiere requirements on the films submitted to us. We’re looking for quality, or an interesting topic or something that, even if it’s not a premiere, is worth bringing to our audience because of something extra we can bring to it. We generally feel that the responsibility to make a selected film watchable lies very much with us. We are the ones who select the films based on these criteria. We are the ones who think there is a good reason to present it to our audience.
It’s that reason we need to get across to the audience.
We would love for F3 attendees to know that we wouldn’t program or accept a film to the festival if we didn’t think it had merit that deemed it worthy. We can honestly say that we wouldn’t show it if we didn’t think it was worth showing.
The reasons may be different though. One may have great production and show skilled camera work or editing.
Another may have a storytelling line that is beyond the skill of the cinematographer.
Another may delve into a topic that has seldom, if ever, been addressed and shows the viewer a part of of our world one may never knew even existed.
And yet another may be just a fun film to watch and experience…nothing deep…nothing transcendent…just fun.
All of those are valid reasons for acceptance to the F3.
We accept films we hope will challenge, enlighten, interest, and engage. We can hope that our audience members will like them ALL, but, being realists, we know they won’t. Just as you don’t like every song you hear, every book you read, every show you watch, every food you taste, so it goes that you will not like every film the F3 programs.
But we do hope that it hits you somewhere. Enough, anyway, that you can understand why it is at the festival in the first place. We have very limited screen time, and we have a LOT of films submitted to us, particularly this year. So the choice to take up a block of screen time with a film is a decision not taken lightly.
With any luck we’ve earned your trust in the past. OR, if this is your first F3, we hope we’ve convinced you to loan us your trust while we seek to earn it.
We’ve got great films coming this year. We know that from the quality of submissions so far, and we’re nowhere near picking or even receiving all the films (we’re still a couple weeks away from the final deadline!). And yes, some of them are premieres…Maryland Premieres, US Premieres, and even World Premieres. But an equal number are not premieres, they’re just worthy films. Worthy of an audience. And worthy of note.
We hope you’ll come and see for yourself.