RECAP Film Festival Strategies

You and your team worked hard and made an awesome film. Now what? There are so many festivals to consider but what’s the best way to go about getting your film maximum exposure, buzz, and chances for success?  This virtual workshop was held November 17, 2021 7-8pm 

This Filmmaker’s Workshop was designed to help filmmakers prepare to have a successful festival run. Award-winning filmmaker, Yolonda Johnson-Young and Festival Programmer and Critic, Kristal Sotomayor provided insights into the film festival circuit. And answered individual questions on best practices going into this process of submitting your film to various festivals.

Some topics covered included:

  • how to market yourself through FilmFreeway
  • how to build an electronic press kit
  • best practices for maintaining a festival calendar
  • how to determine which festivals are right for you
  • how to get the biggest bang for your budget.
  • Can you submit a rough draft of your film and more…


Here’s a brief excerpt of the evening.  The complete workshop will soon be available on our Vimeo Channel:

Yolonda Johnson Young was a first-time filmmaker when she produced, Finding Elijah (2019), a 25-minute social justice film to shine a light and create a dialog surrounding mental health issues and suicide prevention awareness. She received a 2018 Leeway Art and Change Grant, a 2019 Philadelphia Independent Media Finishing Fund grant, and pitched at the 2018 Good Pitch Local Philadelphia, a Doc Society event. She went on to screen nationally and internationally at 38 Film festivals and won 26 awards including the BlackStar Documentary Audience Award in 2019.

Kristal Sotomayor serves as the Awards Competition Manager of the IDA Documentary Awards, the world’s most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre, and the Programming Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival. In the past, they have assisted with curation for the “Spotlight on Documentaries” at IFP Week, Camden International Film Festival, Tri-Co Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, and the award-winning PBS documentary series POV | American Documentary. They have served on festival juries for aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival, Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF), and the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Currently, Kristal is a Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellow through the Film Festival Alliance and Full Spectrum Features.

This workshop is supported by the Independence Public Media Foundation.

SIFTMedia 215, a Black & Latinx Women Filmmakers Collective of Philadelphia, was awarded $215,000 for operating expenses from The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) as part of their initiative to support organizations that lift up storytelling and creative expression as pathways for communities building power.

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