Most filmmakers think the hard part is making the web series, but they are wrong. There’s much more work to be done, in fact the real work begins after the pilot (or the last episode, in case of mini-series) is in the can. A web series is not good if no one sees it, that’s why you have to create a buzz and web festivals offer a great opportunity to do just that. So what are some of the targets needed to have successful festival experience?
With hundreds of Web Festivals that are popping up year by year worldwide, how do you narrow down your list and not bankrupt your bank account?
At first you need doing the research ahead of time and designing a strategy, a good guide to Film Festivals to get access on Festival Circuit could be very helpful, so you will be able to generate a plan and an appropriate budget so there won’t be any surprises. But of course all of this takes time. Targeting the right web fests and understanding what you must do in order to make that web festival work for you is one of the most important aspect. Now we are trying to help you out with a brief short list of “10 Web Fest Worth Your Time in 2018”.
When we decided to write this article, we had many doubts on it. The principle one was: What criteria should we have to follow?
If a festival is completely uninterested in promoting online activity, but totally committed to bringing creative partnerships to fruition, is it doing right or wrong? Perhaps. If a festival hosts a group of workshops but falls short of being a brilliant programming, does it make your thirst of knowledge satisfied so that you can override its screening schedule’s weak?
Don't worry. The festivals we’ve handpicked here are the best ones regarding to quality/price relationship. But none is perfect, since we are lovers of web series online, we tried to advantage the ones compatible with the needs of emerging filmmakers are looking for exposure and influential reviews. That’s why we’ve taken great torment to sort them to scale, based on how well they do what they should have to do on social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and then we evaluated how long the festival lasts and how much expensive is the submission fee.
10. ITV Fest
Manchester, Vermont, USA/ 10-14 October / www.itvfest.com
ITVFest is an exclusive industry marketplace for independently produced episodic programming. The Independent Television Festival is a worldwide community of television creators, executives, agents and fans responsible for discovering the best new television programs created on independent (aka, non-network) budgets. Throughout the year from New York to Los Angeles and places in between, our global network of creatives, executives and fans gather for seminars, screenings and retreats. It all culminates at the week-long festival in Manchester in October. Unlike big city festivals where it can be difficult to interact with the right people, ITVFest in Vermont offers a unique opportunity to meet fellow professionals and make these lasting connections that can lead to prosperous careers. Since its inception in 2006, ITVFest has been designed to connect creators with mentors and industry executives. It is a community of forward-thinkers who all just want to collaborate and make cool stuff.
Director: Philip Gilpin
Pros: Facebook and Twitter and a rich program in 5 days long.
Cons: a few Awards and a little expensive submission fee.
Fee Range: around 65$
9. Bilbao Seriesland
Bilbao, SPAIN/ 25 Oct. - 1 Nov. / www.bilbaowebfest.com
Web series celebration in Bilbao with the best panels, international industry judges and over 40 awards, providing a lot of opportunities for filmmakers, including press contact, distribution deals and in-kind prizes. There is also an interesting part of the Web Fest which is the Bilbao Web Market, ￼that is the first fair/market which is specifically dedicated to the web series, oriented to professionals that want to make deals during the festival.The activities include a co-production Forum, Case Studies, Project Pitching, One to One meetings, ￼Screenings, Producer’s Round Tables.
Director: Rose of Dolls
Pros: Facebook and "Awards".
Cons: needs to work more on Twitter and Instagram, but not so bad.
Fee Range: 40$ - 65$
8. Hollyweb Festival
Hollywood, L.A., California, USA / 26-30 March / www.hollywebfestival.com
HollyWeb aims to honor those who create work for the digital space-whether it be a series, pilot, or short. Projects previously screened at HollyWeb have gone on to receive Emmy nominations, feature film deals, and TV deals (through Free Form and the Mark Gordon Company). You can see your work screened on a big screen in Hollywood (AMC Universal Citywalk), and have a chance to win one of our beautiful HollyWeb trophies at our incredible awards ceremony and party.
Directors: Jennifer and Daniel Doherty
Pros: Twitter and a rich program in 5 days long.
Cons: Submission fee is almost double of the average for web fest.
Fee Range: 50$ - 90$
7. Vancouver Web Fest
Vancouver, CANADA / April / www.vancouverwebfest.com
VWF's three-day event brings together local & international content creators, buyers and distributors offering something for everyone; screenings, workshops and panels featuring industry experts to jump-start ideas alongside a vibrant networking hub, pitch sessions and networking parties that encourage collaboration. VWF concludes with a formal awards ceremony and gala. New this year: Online Content Creator Day’ with special guest panels & keynotes from online talent and Virtual Reality panels, workshops and VR displays.
Directors: Suzette Laqua
Pros: Facebook and Twitter
Cons: A few days for a submission fee a little too expensive.
Fee Range: 45$ - 70$
6. Buenos Aires Web Fest
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA / March / www.bawebfest.com
The BAWEBFEST is the first international web series festival in South America that brings together both local and international projects of high artistic level; created and marketed through the web. It is a meeting place for filmmakers that has workshops, panels, talks and business rounds for the development of this constantly growing format. Since its first edition, BAWEBFEST has been held at the Univerdidad del Cine in San Telmo, Buenos Aires. The university with the longest path in the training of filmmakers in Argentina and Latin America.
Directors: Martín Lapissonde
Pros: A lot of "Awards" and admission is FREE.
Cons: A little poor in social media channels (especially Twitter and Instagram)
Fee Range: FREE
5. Melbourne Web Fest
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA / 28 Jun. - 01 Jul. / www.melbournewebfest.com
Melbourne WebFest is Australia’s international web series festival, working to honour innovative creators that are transforming the world of entertainment. MWF was the fourth festival of its kind in the world, and remains the biggest celebration of web series in Oceania. The festival is working to acknowledge digital screen producers and is creating a hub for networking and professional development in the heart of Melbourne. It is also an opportunity for the public to experience the best in digital series entertainment from around the globe. The festival includes screenings, keynotes, discussion panels, masterclasses, and, a live pitching competition.
Directors: Steinar Ellingsen
Pros: Very good in social media networking and very good Awards (with big cash-prizes).
Cons: Submission Fees are not public
Fee Range: n/a
4. Miami Web Fest
Miami, Florida, USA / 02-05 May / miamiwebfest.com
The Miami Web Fest is a 4 day festival showcasing the hottest new web series content from around the world. The event is designed to create a work-play environment, attracting Miami’s vast and multicultural community of arts enthusiasts. For attendees, Miami Web Fest is a “window into the future” of new media, allowing the general public to see independently produced shows before they are discovered by big television networks and media entities such as Netﬂix.
Directors: Bryan Thompson
Pros: a big amount of Awards and quite good in social media networking.
Cons: a little bit over the average fee
Fee Range: 40$ - 60$
3. Rio Web Fest
Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL / November / www.riowebfest.net
Rio Webfest is the final round of the Web Series World Cup, an international web fest contest created by Joël Bassaget, web series blogger of the french newspaper Libération. There are CASH AWARDS and several activities very interesting for emerging filmmakers:
- SUPER PROJECT: pitching sessions for co-productions with international producers.
- SILVER TICKETS: Direct official selection to other web fest partners of the Web Fest International Circuit.
- GOLDEN TICKET: Direct official selection to other web fest partners (including air ticket and accomm. paid).
- BUSINESS ROUNDS with representatives of Brazil's TV Channel such as Canal Curta!.
- SCREENING SESSIONS of web series.
- CLOSED PARTIES and special events for festival participants only.
- RED CARPET and AWARDS SHOW broadcasted online.
Directors: Leandro Silva
Pros: a huge amount of Awards (with big cash-prizes) and good in Facebook and Instagram.
Cons: a little poor on Twitter
Fee Range: 30$ - 65$
2. Roma Web Fest
Rome, ITALY / November / www.romawebfest.it
The Roma Web Fest is the first official Italian Festival of the web series and was born to promote a new model of interaction between the traditional film and the latest kind of productions, which use Internet to create and upload their contents. The Roma Web Fest is not just a celebration of the web series, it is aiming to become a permanent multimedia showcase for the newest talents and the independent productions. In fact, the Web Fest is the central event of the organization, which works constantly and continuously with the web contents over the year. The Roma Web Fest is just not an event, a competition, a celebration of the new digital trends, a showcase for independent contents, but has the goal to represent the contemporary media world with a permanent area in which to share new ideas and projects, and to create new connections between other authors and productions, in order to lead the websphere to the consecrated film factory.
Directors: Janet De Nardis
Pros: Excellent in social media networking and admission is FREE.
Cons: a few "Awards"
Fee Range: FREE
1. Austin Film Festival (yes, now it accepts digital series!)
Austin, Texas / USA / austinfilmfestival.com
The Austin Film Festival accepts both filmed and written digital series in an effort to find talented voices who can adapt their vision to emerging digital platforms.
AFF will select one winner who displays the strongest voice and greatest potential for establishing a digital series. FILMED SERIES Submit 1-3 filmed episodes, totaling no more than 30 minutes in length. SCRIPTED SERIES Submit 1-3 scripted episodes, totaling no more than 30 pages in length.
There is a variety of parties beyond film screenings with opportunities for networking or just having fun. There is also a "Film & Food fundraising gala" benefits own Young Filmmakers Program.
Directors: Barbara Morgan
Pros: Amazing exposure in social media networking and big amount of Awards.
Cons: Fee is a little expensive, but can worth it since it is the longest festival for web series (8 days!)
Fee Range: 50$ - 85$
Now that you have more ideas about interesting web fests around the world, you need to plan your good and appropriate strategy to go ahead and save your money. If you didn't have a look and read the Guide "Your All Access Pass to Launching Your Film on the Festival Circuit" yet, here is the link. It worths your time for sure!