I’m not going to profess to be an expert in this matter, but I have worked as a festival screener for a few notable and well-respected New York-based film festivals over the last couple of years. I’ve picked up a few things along the way—some things perhaps obvious, others maybe not so much. I spend hours upon hours watching terrible films of all types, including features, shorts, narratives, documentaries, live action, animation, drama, comedy, and experimental. There are the occasional good films, which act as a welcome palate cleanser, but often even those films don’t make the cut. Seems unfair, but it’s the reality of festivals. There is no silver bullet—no road to take that will guarantee acceptance into a festival, but there are a few things worth considering—things that we screeners and programmers look for—that can only help your chances. But before I spill these pearls, let me give you a brief description of who we screeners are and what role we play.
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