Film Festivals: Positive Reviews & Deserved Boos: Pt. 25 – Overlook, Milledgeville and Provincetown Film Festivals


Film Festivals: Positive Reviews & Deserved Boos: Pt. 25 – Overlook, Milledgeville and Provincetown Film Festivals

Article by Justin Bowler

Keep it positive!!!!! This week is about festivals doing it right!!!

For those of you who don’t know, this is an ongoing review series about my film festival submission experience. These festival reviews are not based on whether or not I was accepted to their festival, it is based merely on my interaction with them as a filmmaker inquiring about their festival and if my genre film is the right fit. I send them three questions, and they are “Yes or No”. It’s pretty easy. Yet, for some reason, some fests, despite multiple inquiries, can’t/don’t/won’t respond.

submityourfilmFilmmakers submit their films online to festivals. They can pay upwards of $100 just to be considered. Yet, they never get confirmation that their film was actually watched. They never speak with anyone from the fest. They don’t know who is judging the film. It could be someone well versed in cinematic theory, who has studied film for years, dissected scenes for hidden nuances, and has a few degrees in writing, film studies and art. OR it could be some random guy who “really likes” going to movies, sees a lot of Hollywood blockbusters, and has opinions on which Transformers movie is the best of Michael Bay’s work. Sadly, filmmakers are forced to “trust the system”. It can be very sketchy. Some festivals take the time to make sure it isn’t, whereas others just don’t want and/or care to make it otherwise.

Official RejectionCheck out my friend Paul Osborne’s documentary Official Rejection. It will give you some real insight into how unfriendly some fests are to filmmakers. Sadly, it will blow your mind. Some fests only watch the first few minutes of your film, some don’t watch any of your film. Yet, they all accept your submission fee. It is an eye opening and sad realization.
Let me set the scene. I have a short film called OH, THE EFFING HORROR. (That’s right, the title is meant to be shouted.) Check out the trailer HERE.

Oh, the Effing HorrorClearly, it is a genre picture. It’s a horror/comedy, or “Horr-omedy”. In addition to the gore and general subject matter, it contains nudity. Finally, with a run time of almost seventeen minutes, it may be too long for some festivals to program. All three of these points give rise to questions I have for festivals.
– First, do they program horror films? (The majority of the fests out there are NOT horror fests, so I would like to know if they even consider the genre in their short film competition.)
– Second, do they accept films with nudity? (Plenty of festivals have to keep it family friendly. I don’t have a problem with that, but, I would like to know that before I shell out my $45.)
– Third, is a seventeen minute run time too long? (Many fests have time limits for their shorts, but don’t always post that info on or (For you newcomers, these are the two websites used for the majority of festival submissions.)

My journey began by contacting festivals through the informational email they listed on or In my email, I stated who I was, the answers I was seeking and inquired who could answer. Typically, I was referred to the Artistic Director or Programming Director.

Overlook Film Festival

Overlook Film Festival
Submission Price – Up to $65

I first emailed the informational email listed on WithoutABox on 11/1. Two weeks later, I got a response from the submissions team.

Hi Justin,
Sorry for the delay. If this is regarding a submissions, this is the best email address to contact the programming team. If this is regarding press opportunities, please email

Thank you kindly.
-Overlook programming team

I’ll be honest, when I get a response from someone who won’t leave their name, I assume it is a red flag. But, I immediately sent off my questions anyway. Two weeks later, I got this response.

Apologies for the delay in response and thank you for your inquiry. Horror-comedies are eligible for submission to Overlook. All films affiliated with the horror or thriller genre, regardless of tone, can be considered for the festival.

Regarding nudity, the festival doesn’t censor filmmakers or place a content requirement on what’s submitted. The programmers are evaluating the voice and artistic vision of a piece.

The festival takes submissions in the shorts category up to 60 minutes, and it is not uncommon for the programmers to select shorts around 30 minutes in length. The number of short film programs that will be slotted for the 2017 festival has not been determined.

The festival was established to create a community for filmmakers. All selected directors receive an all-access pass to all festival screenings and events, including private receptions. Lodging and airfare are, unfortunately, not provided to short filmmakers.

Please let us know if you have additional questions. Thank you and  
Happy Holidays!

-Overlook Programming Team

Though I never got a response from someone with a name, I got all of the answers I was seeking and submitted.

OVERLOOK FILM FESTIVAL gets a POSITIVE REVIEW for filmmaker friendliness. You can submit with confidence.

Milledgeville Film Festival

Milledgeville Film Festival
Submission Price – Up to $55

I first emailed the informational email listed on FilmFreeway on 12/27. One day later, I received a response from Jeremiah Bennett, pointing me in the right direction.

Hi Justin,
Our director of programming is Mary Cims. I’m CC’ing her on this email. 
Jeremiah Bennett
Milledgeville Film Festival

I sent my email off to Mary. She responded.

Hi Justin,
To answer your questions:

– While we are not against nudity as a festival, I recommend to submit the one without nudity if it doesn’t detract from the story.

-In the past we have programmed shorts anywhere from 5-40 minutes depending on several factors. A 17 min film is probably around the average time for shorts submissions.

-Our festival is run by filmmakers so we try to make the festival be one that we would want to attend! We have been called “filmmakers summer camp” by previous attendees and have had several folks attend multiple years in a row.  We truly pride ourselves in being filmmaker friendly! Check out our reviews on FB and FilmFreeway if you have any doubts 🙂

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

Mary Cims
Director of Programming
Milledgeville Film Festival

He answers were concise and to the point. So, I submitted.

MILLEDGEVILLE FILM FESTIVAL gets a POSITIVE REVIEW for filmmaker friendliness.

Provincetown Film Festival

Provincetown Film Festival
Submission Price – Up to $70

I emailed my eligibility questions on 1/9 to the informational email address listed on FilmFreeway. On 1/10, I received a message from the programming team directing me to Andrew Peterson and Lisa Viola. So, I emailed my questions off to them immediately. Three days later I received this response from Lisa Viola, the Artistic Director.

Dear Justin,

Thank you for your interest in the Provincetown Film Festival!

Our festival does not specialize in a specific genre and therefore considers and programs a wide variety of films. We do screen a variety of lengths of short films including films that are over 15 minutes in our shorts programs and we do not have a policy against language or nudity.

I hope I have answered your questions and if you choose to submit, we will look forward to viewing your film!

Lisa Viola
Artistic Director
June 14-18, 2017

This is an excellent example of all that I am looking for. It took Lisa less than five minutes to answer my questions. In addition, from my first contact to getting my answers, it was a total of four days. This is exactly the way it should work. Kudos to Provincetown International Film Festival. I wish all fests would follow in their footsteps.

PROVINCETOWN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL gets a POSITIVE REVIEW for filmmaker friendliness. Submit with confidence.

Look at that, three fests that you can submit to with confidence (UNLIKE LAST WEEK). Hopefully, other fests will take after this positive lead. Sadly, many don’t, but let’s not focus on that. Instead, let’s focus on how awesome these fests are. Feel free to submit with confidence.


If you would like to know more, check out the past articles for this series with the links below. If you would like to find out more info about my genre film, follow it on Instagram at @OhTheEffingHorrorfor instant updates.

Once again, I’d like to hear your stories about festival submitting. If you think there is more to be said about any of the festivals I have reviewed, then I would love to hear it.

Thanks for joining me, check back Friday to find which fests are fab and which fests are effed (see what I did there?).

Let’s stay positive!

Justin Bowler
IG @IndyFilmTwittic and @OhTheEffingHorror
Twitter @JustinTBowler

Read More of Justin Friday Film Festival Friendliness reviews:
PART TWENTY-FOUR – Breckenridge Film Festival
PART TWENTY-THREE – Indie Horror, FAMEUS Int’l & Atlanta Underground Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-TWO – Brooklyn Short Film, Buddha Int’l & Sun Valley Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-ONE – Festival Reviews REVIEW!
PART TWENTY – Lake George Film Festival and Lisbon, NY State & Illinios Int’l Film Festivals
PART NINETEEN – Hoboken Int’l, NYC Downtown & Love Horror Short Film Festivals
PART EIGHTEEN – West Chester, Oaxaca and Crimson Screen Horror Film Fests
PART SEVENTEEN – Nashville, Minneapolis/St. Paul Int’l & FirstGlance L.A. Film Festivals
PART SIXTEEN – Dances With Films & Southside Film Festival
PART FIFTEEN – Int’l Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema & Maryland Int’l Film Festival
PART FOURTEEN – Big Easy Int’l & Omaha Film Festivals and Pacific Coast Premiere
PART THIRTEEN – Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema & Dallas Int’l Film Festival
PART TWELVE – Chhatrapati Shivaji Int’l, Columbus Int’l Film + Video & Newport Beach Film Fests
PART ELEVEN – Northeast Film Festival Horror Fest + Depth of Field Int’l, DC & NYC Independent Film Fests
PART TEN – Dawson City & San Louis Obispo Int’l Film Festivals + Zed & Short. Sweet. Film Fests
PART NINE – CISF, Cinemagic London, Atlanta & Liverpool Independent Film Festivals
PART EIGHT – Julien Dubuque, IHSFF, Atlanta Shortsfest, Austin Revolution & Media Film Fests
PART SEVEN – Dam Short, ICE & River Run International Film Festivals
PART SIX – Tampa Bay Underground, CinePlay Film Awards and more
PART FIVE – Fic Autor, Long Beach Int’l & Green Bay Film Festivals
PART FOUR – Los Angeles Film & Script, Fantastic Planet & Tally Shorts Festivals
PART THREE – Die Laughing Film Festival, Slamdance & SIFF
PART TWO – Cheyenne ZombieFest & MiSciFi
PART ONE – SoCal Clips Indie Fest & Brightside Tavern

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