Ask any director, writer, or cinematographer for advice on breaking into the industry and they’ll all say the same thing: Get directing. Get writing. Start shooting ASAP. Figure it out on the fly. There are 16-year-olds out there making movies, why aren’t you?
Film school isn’t like being a doctor. There are no promises of wealth once you graduate. Perhaps you should reconsider going into massive debt and create your own film school by hitting the festival circuit. Imagine, you’ll be watching films from directors all over the world. You’ll have the ability to chat with the minds behind the art. You’ll be exposed to the cutting edge of the industry’s technological boom. You’ll build a network of peers, producers, distributors and financiers that will be crucial to getting your own work on screen one day.
There are so many reasons to the travel the world — #VanLife, Inca trails, Instagram fame. Every time you travel, you learn. You grow. You evolve. So check out this month-by-month breakdown of the best film festivals around the world, all 100% worth booking a ticket to and learning from:
May is a big month for movies. Cannes (11-22 May 2016) and its Marche du Film are the gold standard of film festivals. Cannes itself is a tiny city on the Cote d’Azur and not without its charms. But unless you have a really good reason to be doing business in Cannes, it’s not the most consumer-friendly of festivals. If you really want to get a grasp on how to get a film made, then the Marche du Film’s talks and market are essential film schools and worth the price of admission. Cannes’ Marche du Film and Berlinale’s European Film Market are where films get made and you find your network. Plus, while in Cote d’Azur you’ll have time to explore Nice and Monaco. Wine, seafood, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful people: It’s the French Riviera in a nutshell.
Access to March du Film is €339. For an extra €60, you can also attend Producer’s Talks and lunches to pitch your film and learn from the masters. Don’t come unprepared. Practice that pitch until it’s no more difficult to recite than taking a breath. Research who you want to pitch to and why. Know who they are inside and out. Note: Even with the above accreditation pass, you still need an “invitation” to many of the screenings.
Alternative Fest: Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj, Romania, (27 May-5 June 2016) is a mid-sized fest that caters heavily to local culture, music, and cinema. Plus, it is in a largely untouched corner of Europe. Despite the local focus, there’s still a strong international documentary program. Accreditation with full access is €50. Tickets to films and concerts are 15RON (about $3.50) a pop.