Film Festivals: Positive Reviews Deserved Boos: Pt. 41 – Festival Reviews REVIEW!

Film Festivals: Positive Reviews and Deserved Boos


Film Festivals: Positive Reviews Deserved Boos: Pt. 41 – Festival Reviews REVIEW!

Article by Justin Bowler

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 INTO 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.

Film Festival Submissions

Filmmakers 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.

Check 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.

Official Rejection

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.

This is a look back at the past forty weeks, to see in short form, who received POSITIVE REVIEWS and who received NEGATIVE REVIEWS.

Green- Positive Reviews
Green Bold- OTEH Acceptances
Red- Negative Reviews
Purple- Undecided Review

Cheyenne ZombieFest

Week 1.
Cheyenne ZombieFest Horror Film Festival – 6th Annual Festival
Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival – 4th Annual

Week 2.
Socal Clips Indie Film Fest
Brightside Tavern Film Festival

Week 3.
Die Laughing Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival- 43 Annual- undecided

Week 4.
Los Angeles Film and Script Festival
Tally Shorts
Fantastic Planet: Sidney Scifi and fantasy film fest

Week 5.
Long Beach International Indie Film Fest
Fic Autor
Green Bay International Film Festival

Week 6.
Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival
CinePlay Film Awards
Challengers International Film Festival
Oregon Short Film Festival
Dreamers International Film Festival
Malta Film Festival
London Classic Film Festival

Week 7.
Dam Short Film Fest
ICE Film Festival
RiverRun International Film Festival

Week 8.
Julien Dubuque International Film Festival
Media Film Festival
International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival
Atlanta Shortsfest
Austin Revolution Film Festival

Week 9.
Atlanta Film Festival
California International Shorts Festival (CISF) (Winter)
Liverpool Independent Film Festival
Cinemagic London

Short. Sweet. Film Fest

Week 10.
Dawson City International Short Film Festival
Zed Fest Film Festival & Screenplay Competition 2016
Short. Sweet. Film Fest
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

Week 11.
Northeast Film Festival Horror Fest
Depth of Field International Film Festival
Washington DC Independent Film Festival
New York City Independent Film Festival

Week 12.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival
Columbus International Film + Video Festival
Newport Beach Film Festival

Week 13.
Dallas International Film Festival
Kew Gardens Film Festival

Week 14.
Pacific Coast Premiere
Omaha Film Festival
Big Easy International Film Festival

Week 15.
Maryland International Film Festival
International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema – London

Week 16.
Dances with films
Southside Film Festival
Update: Omaha Film Festival

Week 17.
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
Nashville Film Festival
FirstGlance Film Festival

Week 18.
Oaxaca FilmFest
Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest
West Chester Film Festival

Week 19.
Hoboken International Film Festival -undecided
NYC Downtown Short Film Festival
Love Horror Short Film Festival 

Love Horror Short Film Festival

Week 20.
Lisbon International Film Festival
Lake George Film Festival
Illinois International Film Festival
New York State International Film Festival

Week 21.

Week 22.
Sun Valley Film Festival
Brooklyn Short Film Festival
Budda International Film Festival

Week 23.
Atlanta Underground Film Festival,
FAMEUS International Film Festival
The Indie Horror Film Festival

Week 24.
Breckenridge Film Festival

Week 25.
Overlook Film Festival
Milledgeville Film Festival
Provincetown Film Festival

Week 26.
Woods Hole Festival
Cayfilm International Film Festival
Sick N Wrong Film Fest

Week 27.
Idaho Horror Film Festival
12th Annual Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival
Kansas City Film Festival

27.5 Update
Breckenridge Film Festival

Week 28.
Crested Butte Film Festival
NEPA Horror Film Festival
Norwich Film Festival

Week 29.
Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival aka
Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema
Cinema at the Edge Film Festival
The Los Angeles Thriller Film Festival
London Independent Film Festival

Austin Film Festival

Week 30.
Austin Film Festival
Monmouth Film Festival
Atlanta Horror Film Festival

Week 31.
Sidewalk Film Festival
Nightmares Film Festival
HorrorHaus Film Festival

Week 32.
Killer Valley Horror Film Festival
Los Angeles Reel Film Festival
Halloween International Film Festival

Week 33.
Catalina Film Festival
Woodstock Film Festival
The Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image

Week 34.– Follow Up
Without a doubt, the Woodstock Film Festival is the worst festival that I have dealt with.

Week 35.
Molins Horror Film Festival
Et Cultura

Week 36.
Shriekfest Film Festival
Tulsa American Film Festival

Week 37.
Blue Whiskey International Film Festival

Week 38.
DC Shorts Film Festival
Gasparilla International Film Festival

Week 39.
Great Lakes International Film Festival
Vancouver Lift-Off Film Festival

Week 40.
Willson Oakville Film Festival

Willson Oakville Film Festival

This ends my weekly output of this series. But, since there are more festivals still getting back to me, I will be posting follow-ups from time to time. Stay tuned.

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 @OhTheEffingHorror for 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 again 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’s Friday Film Festival Friendliness reviews:

PART FORTY – Willson Oakville Film Festival
PART THIRTY-NINE – Great Lakes International & Vancouver Lift-Off Film Festivals
PART THIRTY-EIGHT – DC Shorts, Gasparilla International & FirstGlance Film Festivals
PART THIRTY-SEVEN – Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival
PART THIRTY-SIX – Shriekfest and Tulsa American Film Festivals
PART THIRTY-FIVE – Et Cultura and Molins Horror Film Festivals
PART THIRTY-FOUR – Woodstock Film Festival Follow-Up
PART THIRTY-THREE – Catalina, Woodstock Film Festivals & Artists Forum Festival of the Moving Image
PART THIRTY-TWO – Killer Valley Horror, Los Angeles Reel & Halloween International Film Festivals
PART THIRTY-ONE – Sidewalk, Nightmares and HorrorHaus Film Festivals
PART THIRTY – Austin, Monmouth & Atlanta Horror Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-NINE – Cinema at the Edge, Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival & London Independent and Los Angeles Thriller Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-EIGHT – Crested Butte, NEPA Horror and Norwich Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-SEVEN.5 – Breckenridge Film Festival Follow-Up
PART TWENTY-SEVEN – Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival, Idaho Horror and Kansas City Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-SIX – Sick ‘N’ Wrong, Woods Hole & CayFilm International Film Festivals
PART TWENTY-FIVE – Overlook, Milledgeville and Provincetown Film Festivals
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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