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Three Ways to Set Your Submission Apart at NHFF

With just over two weeks left until the early deadline for film submissions (June 5), NHFF programming director, Nicole Galovski, gives filmmakers some of her personal insights on how to get ahead in the selection process:

1. Prune to Grow:  If you’re still in the editing room and struggling with a scene that you really like, but you’re not sure if it fits, or if you should include it, the answer is almost always “cut.”  This is an extraordinarily difficult, and sometimes heartbreaking, but necessary task. Always ask yourself with every act, scene, line, camera angle “Is this absolutely necessary?” “Does this move the plot forward?”  “Will the audience have lost something without this?”  If the answer is NO to any of these questions (let alone all of them) then let it go.  It’s really sad to have to reject a film that has so much potential, because of the superfluous content.

2. Include a Cover Letter: When the films are finally narrowed and there are ten films and five slots, we are looking at your submission for anything that will make our job easier. If you have a cover letter the programming team is allowed a deeper understanding of you as a filmmaker (or producer) and it gives the film a more personal touch. Don’t go crazy though, the best cover letters are very brief: Introduce yourself, one or two sentences about why you’ve made the film, key people involved, festival acceptances, press garnered, show knowledge of and enthusiasm for our festival and whether you’d be able/willing to attend.

*If you really want to set yourself apart don’t use the phrase “labor of love.”

3. Respond (briefly) to the Submission Received Email: NHFF sends out individual submission confirmation emails, and by responding it shows you’re on top of things.  You’re opening the line of communication, and you have another chance to show us how passionate you are about your project, and getting accepted into our festival.  Sometimes a member of our programming team will send out the email, sometimes an intern, but most of the time I log the films myself, and you have the opportunity to once again give me a glance at your project from another angle. (One or two sentences max.)

Every film festival and programming department is different, and it’s difficult to cater to all of the different specifications, and preferences, but if your eyes are set on New Hampshire, following this advice could take you a long way.  Happy Submitting!

All films must be submitted through Withoutabox, and must have been completed after January 1, 2011 for consideration in the 2013 festival.

Early deadline: June 5th,
Official deadline: July 5 
Late deadline: August 5

Filmmakers will be notified by the end of September regarding submission status.