Bob Billiams Productions - Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers
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film field notes

A collection of stories, musings, how-tos, behind-the-scenes explanations, and inspirational offerings from Bob Billiams Productions filmmakers and artists Keylee Sudduth and Micah Sudduth.

A Filmmaking, Storytelling, and Believing in Yourself Blog

Featuring production stories, filmmaking resources, creative musings, how-tos, behind-the-scenes explanations, and inspirational offerings from Bob Billiams Productions filmmakers and artists Keylee Sudduth and Micah Sudduth.

Web Series Festivals That Are Worth the Submission Fees

So, you created a web series! First things first: congratulations! We at Bob Billiams Productions understand just how much work that takes. You had a vision, you put months (if not years) of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears into creating it (and most likely, your hard-earned savings, too) – and now you’re ready to share it with the world. Not a lot of people are able to see a project through to completion and then are brave enough to share it with the world, so know that you’re already doing something rare.

Also, congratulations on deciding to pursue the film festival route! Fests are incredibly valuable. They not only help in securing a curated audience for your work, but they can also provide your project with legitimacy that doesn’t quite exist online alone. Plus, by getting your web series showcased at a festival, you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded creators, network with creatives and industry folks alike, get live audience reactions to your work, pitch ideas for larger projects, and hopefully make connections for future collaborations – which is what it’s all about. We hope this list of web series festivals is helpful to you as you navigate this exciting part of your creative journey!

Top-Tier Film Festivals that Program Indie Web Series / Episodic Content

Let’s start with some top-hitters. These are some of the most prestigious, established film festivals that feature a program of web series/ digital series each year. Most of these require some sort of premiere status for your project, and only program a short slot of series, so competition is a bit steeper than festivals that are solely focused on web series.

• Tribeca Film Festival: New Online Works (N.O.W.) Program

Tribeca Film Festival is our favorite because we happened to have the honor of premiering our show Home here in 2018. The programmers are incredibly kind and really value high-quality, narrative web series. They do require a World Premiere, and your web series cannot be available online prior to the festival.

Here’s a great quote from their site:

“Tribeca N.O.W. is a program that discovers, highlights, and celebrates New Online Work from independent storytellers who choose to create and share their work in the online space.”

There are two subsections for independent web series in the program: N.O.W. Showcase (for completed scripted web series) and the N.O.W. Creators Market (for scripted web series pitches with creative executives). Bonus: if you are selected to screen your web series as a part of the N.O.W. Program, you will automatically get to participate in the N.O.W. Creators Market and have a chance to pitch your current and upcoming web series projects to industry executives.

Location:

New York City, New York

Dates and Rates:

Submissions generally open in August, close in November, and you will be notified of your status in Mid-March. Early submissions start at $40 and late submissions are $80. The film festival normally takes place in late April/ Early May.

Link to Submit:

You can apply directly through the Tribeca Film Festival website.

• Austin Film Festival: Produced Digital Series Program

Austin Film Festival is known as “the writer’s festival.” This fest accepts submissions for both produced digital series and scripted digital series (script only). They do not require a World Premiere, your web series can be available online prior to the festival, but Austin Film Festival must be your Texas premiere.

Location:

Austin, Texas

Dates and Rates:

Submissions generally open in March and end in July. Early submissions start at $40 and late submissions are $80. Notifications usually roll out in Mid-September/ Early October. Austin Film Festival usually takes place in late October.

Link to Submit:

You can submit right through the Austin Film Festival website.

• Sundance Film Festival: Episodic Content Program

Sundance is one of the most notoriously prestigious film festivals in the U.S., but you already knew that. Did you know that they now have a program for web series? Sundance accepts both short-form and long-form series. This festival does require that your web series is not yet released online prior to this festival, but has some specifics.

Here’s the Sundance Film Festival website has to say:

“Projects originating from within the United States are not eligible for Sundance Film Festival if all of the submitted episodic series content has been made available in its entirety to the general public via any platform (broadcast television, Blu-ray, DVD, streaming, VOD, etc.) prior to Sundance Festival dates. Projects originating from outside of the United States remain eligible if all of the submitted content has been released only within their country of origin or not released at all. You may submit episodes that have previously been screened at other festivals or broadcast and/or streamed via another platform, but you must also submit subsequent episodes that have not been screened by or released to the general public. For example, if your pilot episode has screened at another festival or is available online, you may only submit it if you currently have additional episodes that have not been screened anywhere or otherwise made available to the public.”

Location:

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dates and Rates:

Sundance Film Festival episodic series submissions usually open in June and end in September. Early submissions start at $40 and late submissions are $80. Sundance Film Festival takes place in January.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to Sundance via FilmFreeway.

Web Series Focused Festivals

One great thing about festivals that are solely focused on web series is that these festivals are able to select way more web series for their screenings than the larger film festivals. This gives you a higher chance statistically of having your web series programmed.

• Raindance Web Festival: Web Series Program

Raindance Web Fest will be hosted online for the duration of the Raindance Film Festival on the high-traffic Raindance Film Festival website. Audiences will have the opportunity to watch all selected web series and vote for their favorite works.

Raindance Web Fest accepts scripted and documentary web series. A qualifying web series must have at least 3 episodes available for festival programmers to view (these can be password protected for unreleased episodes). Web series must have been released after 1 January of the year prior to the festival year to be eligible for Raindance Web Fest.

Location:

Online

Dates and Rates:

Submissions generally open during September and end in May. Early submissions start at $13 and late submissions are $27. The festival generally takes place in late September/Early October.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to Raindance Web Fest via FilmFreeway.

Catalyst Content Festival (formerly ITVFest): Web Series Program

We took our series Home to ITVFest in Vermont during our film festival run and had a blast. This festival has recently relocated to Duluth, Minnesota and changed its name to Catalyst Content but promises to keep it’s charming and intimate vibe. Catalyst prides itself on being for and about the creators of quality content - regardless of industry status, with selected creators ranging from new filmmakers to Emmy winners.

They offer a wide range of web series categories for both produced and yet-to-be-produced web series scripts, so you can apply to your specific niche. (Comedy Web Series, Drama Web Series, Animated Web Series, Short Form Web Series, Long Form Web Series, etc.)

Location:

Duluth, Minnesota

Dates and Rates:

Submissions for web series usually open in January and close in June. Notifications go out in September and this web series festival usually takes place in Early/Mid October. Fees for scripted series are $65.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to Catalyst Film Festival via FilmFreeway.

• New York Television Festival: independent Pilot Program

We know some friends who have taken shows to NYTVF and had a blast. Apparently, this web series festival has a great community vibe – which is what it’s all about.

The Independent Pilot Competition (IPC) is the NYTVF’s flagship, annual competition, accepting independently-produced, original television pilots and web series from around the globe. Official Selections from the IPC will screen in competition during the annual New York Television Festival each fall. IPC Official Selections are eligible for the competition's category and individual achievement awards as well as guaranteed development deals from Festival Development Partners and the opportunity to submit to NYTVF Pitch.

Location:

New York City, New York

Dates and Rates:

The specific dates of the Festival change from year-to-year. The 2019 festival is taking place in late September/Early October. Rates vary from early to late submissions, but we hear $65 is the ballpark for early bird submissions, and late submissions can go up to $95.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series directly through the NYTVF website.

• SeriesFest: Digital Short Series Program

According to the SeriesFest website, “SeriesFest is the must-attend destination for episodic content creators to showcase their new pilots and network with top industry leaders.” Some friends of ours took their independent pilot here and absolutely loved their experience.

They have a Digital Short Series Program (less than 15min episodes) as well as an Independent Pilot Competition (18 to 60 minute pilot episode) and a Late Night Competition (defined as live action or animated programs with a total run time of 4-15 minutes featuring the strange, absurd, comedic, sketch, or “what the hell?” that can run as a mini-series or extended seasons).

Location:

Denver, Colorado

Dates and Rates:

The festival usually takes place in June. Early submissions end in November (starting at $35) and late submissions end in February ($70).

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to SeriesFest via WithoutaBox.

Los Angeles-Based Film Festivals with Web Series Programs

We know a lot of first-time filmmakers making web series also live in LA, so here are some web series festivals to consider right here in Hollywood.

• La Indie Film Festival: Web Series Program

This is an intimate film festival in the heart of Hollywood. Though it is a small festival in a black-box theater setting, it’s program consists of high-quality work from all over the U.S. and even some international selections. We took Home to LA Indie Film Fest and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the other filmmakers there. The programming selection was awesome.

Location:

Hollywood, California

Dates and Rates:

This festival takes place twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Early submissions for web series start at $35 and late submissions go up to $75.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to LA Indie Film Fest via FilmFreeway.

• HollyWeb Fest

HollyWeb Festival is a web series focused festival that runs every April, featuring both a short form web series (under 10 minutes) and long-form web series (over 10 minutes, but under 20 minutes) category. We’ve had friends screen here and they had a blast! Here’s what the HollyWeb website has to say:

“Screening and attending HollyWeb is an opportunity not to be missed. Official Selections get to see their series and/or pilot screened at the AMC located at Universal Studios Hollywood and have many opportunities to network with fellow creators and distributors.”

Location:

Hollywood, California

Dates and Rates:

Early submissions open in July starting at $50-$70, and late submissions end in January for $70-$90.

Link to Submit:

You can submit your web series to HollyWeb Fest via FilmFreeway.

Additional Web Series Focused Festivals

Here are some additional festivals for web series to consider. Information should be available via their individual websites. These fests are well-regarded, but we have no direct information about them/experience submitting to them. Some are international.

DC Web Fest

Seattle Web Fest

Miami Web Fest

NYC Web Fest

Berlin Web Fest

Bilbao Web Fest

KWebFest / Seoul WebFest (Korea)

Marseille Web Fest

Melbourne Web Fest

Vancouver Web Fest

Toronto Web Fest

There you have it. We hope this list of web series festivals/ film festivals with web series categories is helpful to you on your journey. We know the process of putting your work out there to be evaluated can feel overwhelming and scary, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. Yes, you will face rejection. You will most likely face way more rejection than acceptance, especially if you’re just starting out, and that’s just a part of the game. Like striking out in baseball when you really want to hit a home run is unavoidable, so is being rejected from film festivals that you really want to have your work be a part of.

Wanna know the truth? We have a whole collection of film festival rejection letters ourselves. Like, way more than the number of laurels we have. But here’s the thing: festivals are great but they don’t make or break your project. Other people’s validation will not change your project. It’s your project. You created it! It’s done! It was an idea in your brain and you worked really hard to make it a reality. That in itself is a win. Focus on the fact that you created something and saw it to complete fruition. Not a lot of people can say that. Also, remind yourself that with every no you receive, you get closer to a yes. All you have to do is keep going, keep growing, and keep creating! We believe in you.

…And if you haven’t yet, be sure to watch our series Home!

As a reviewer from Starry Magazine put it,

“…There’s no doubt in my mind that this show will hit home with anyone who’s made a risky move to try and make their dreams come true.”

If you’re a creator, this show will resonate with you, and hopefully encourage you to keep chasing what you love, no matter the difficulties or roadblocks. We would love it if you would leave a comment and let us know if this packet was helpful for you. We want to add value to other creators, so if there’s anything else we can help with, please reach out!

Thanks for taking the time to check out our site. For more tips and insights, follow our journey on social media and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Links:

Bob Billiams Youtube

Bob Billiams Instagram

Bob Billiams Facebook

Bob Billiams Twitter

Love and light,

Keylee and Micah Sudduth

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman