There was a time you have to submit your film to the film festivals only by post, now things are changed, you can now submit your film to the film festivals through the online platforms like Withoutabox and Filmfreeway. Both these are really good platforms to submit the film to film festivals through online mode, but which among these are more beneficial to the filmmakers? Here we are analyzing about it.
Withoutabox.com was launched in January 2000 by Charles Neulight, Joe Neulight and David Straus for distributing and submitting the indie-filmmakers films. Latter on January 2008, IMDB (A division of amazon.com) acquired the site for an undisclosed amount. The Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival are some of their leading festival partners. Similarly, the Filmfreeway.com is another great site that allows the online film submission. The Filmfreeway.com was founded by a Canadian website developer ‘n’ filmmaker Zachary Jones on February 2014. As of now, the website has partnered with 1300 Film Festivals.
Now let’s analyze it…
For testing, we created two brand new accounts in Filmfreeway and Withoutabox. Here explaining about the differences that we found in both.
The first thing is sign up process, in filmfreeway the signup process is easier as comparing with the withoutabox. We took approximately 5 minutes to create an account in withoutabox, while in filmfreeway we needed less than a minute for the account creation
Now the second stage is site accessibility and the display. In Withoutabox, we sawed two content sections. The first one is left sidebar (Includes- Submissions, Project, create projects, help/support) and the second is main content section (includes film festival details and submission links).
Meanwhile in Filmfreeway.com, we observed that the site placed the exact things in the right place that a submitter is seeking for. There are three different sections (right side bar- film festival organizer details, mid portion- festival submission guidelines and left side bar- deadlines and film category details) are displayed in filmfreeway website. Comparatively, the display of Filmfreeway.com is found clutter-less when considering with withoutabox.com. (see the screenshot below)
Withoutabox is owned by IMDB, so if you add a project in Withoutabox, you can also get an option for showing that in IMDB.
Comparing with the Filmfreeway, we noticed out some hard criticism against the withoutabox.com. Wikepedia.com stated that the filmmakers and film festival representatives blamed the site for excessive charges and the outdated technologies.
Austin film festival’s director Barbara assured that Withoutabox is a secured platform, but the embedded technology (especially the online screener) is not good. She said to Indiewire.com that “We had approximately 1000 submissions on last year, but we didn’t watch a single video at Withoutabox.com. Their site was constantly freezing; therefore it’s not seems good for watching the films within their web page”
There is a website called withoutaboxsucks.com, the tag line of their site is ‘Join the fight against withoutabox’ they said that Withoutabox totally having a monopoly attitude; they are threatening the festival organizers and saying that don’t use any third party applications other than Withoutabox. The site also says Withoutabox makes more money than a festival organizer makes from his event. The commission charges of Withoutabox approximately 18%-20% also every festival organiser compulsorily purchase marketing packages from the Withoutabox for promoting their festival.
Now come to the section on pricing, the submission charges of all the international film festivals are same on both the platforms. Periodically, both these sites are offering discount packages that help the filmmakers get a chance to submit films in a reduced rate than pre-decided submission charges. Because Of High charges, new film festivals and the no-fee film festivals now prefer filmfreeway than the withoutabox. If you scroll through the submission page of both these sites, you can find it.
Finally, for the filmmakers we want to remind you one key thing- ‘Any one can start a film festival on now a days; the third party online submission sites are the great gateway for them. Never be fooled, before submitting your film and transferring the payment, make sure that the film festival is worthy’
How to check a film festival is good or fraud?
- Check the Film Festival history: for an instance a film festival starts on 2008 and after two consecutive years they didn’t conduct any film festival, then again after two years , then again one year gap etc…Don’t give a trust on such film festivals. Clearly, the gap occurred because of the lack of submissions.
- Make sure that the film festival that you are preferred to submit having a wiki account, almost all the good film festivals definitely listed in the wiki. (Exceptional cases also exists)
- Don’t get confused, See for an instance New York international film festival is different from New York documentary film festival (if Exist). Beware of such things, for finding the authenticity, copy + paste the festival name in Google and trust only the first three results that show-up.