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Answers to the Eternal Questions

Submissions to the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival are open, and every year, filmmakers ask the same questions about submitting. So we took three of the most common ones to TFF Co-Executive Director and Programmer Nancy Schafer and asked her for her two cents.

Submissions to the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival opened last week, and every year filmmakers ask the same questions about submitting. So we took three of the most common ones to TFF Co-Executive Director and Programmer Nancy Schafer and asked her for her two cents. Here’s what she told us.

What are we looking for?

It’s the inevitable question, for which there is one equally inevitable answer, sure to be both boring and frustrating to filmmakers: We know it when we see it. Sometimes filmmakers think that we have specific slots to fill, and if you have the one and only film about naked subway explorers or how hoboes are the new unicorns, you’re sure to be accepted. The truth is, we’re simply looking for films that are fresh, compelling, well-directed, well-acted, creative, fun… We know it when we see it.

Submissions Musts
  
1) Make sure your DVD or VHS actually works.
You’d be surprised how many submissions we receive that don’t play. If we can’t watch it, it won’t get in.

2) Label your DVD or VHS.
If it gets separated from your entry form, we’ll still know it’s your submission.

3) Don’t send extras.
We receive thousands of submissions every year. As the deadline approaches, it becomes difficult to reach our desks. Don’t send us anything we don’t ask for.

4) Attach proper postage.
Both too little and too much can lead to delays.

5) Make sure to include your entry fee.
It pays our salaries!

Do we watch the films?

Yes, actually, we do watch the films. All of them. It is our job, you know. Years ago, some disgruntled, rejected filmmakers started a vicious rumor that film festivals don’t watch the films that have been submitted, and it’s simply not true. Just remember: If you are rejected from one festival, this does not mean that you will be rejected from all festivals, and if you have been rejected from 17 festivals, it doesn’t mean that the 18th won’t fall in love with your film.

Can we be bribed?

Now there’s an intriguing question. Why have I never been bribed? I’ve been doing this for several centuries now, and amazingly, no one has ever offered me cold hard cash. I’ve gotten more than my share of T-shirts, hats, and sometimes even candy, and to all that I say this: Whoopee. Now, if someone gave me cash I could take all my colleagues out for drinks in lieu of watching your film. Or I could have a spa day, which would certainly put me in a favorable frame of mind when I do get around to watching your film. Or I could shop. Shopping always makes a girl feel good, and every time I pick up that extravagant item I’ve purchased with your hard-earned money, I will think fondly of you and your film.

Good luck, and we look forward to seeing your submissions!

The early submission deadline for features and shorts is November 16, while the official deadline for all work completed in 2007 is December 14. For 2008 works in progress, there’s a January 11 late deadline. The seventh annual Tribeca Film Festival runs April 23rd through May 4th, 2008.

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