We did an extensive research on eighty-two film festivals from Asia focusing on their call for entries. We identify countries with best opportunities, preferred submission platforms and the importance of submitting on early deadlines.
About this research:
This investigation was done considering the festivals we have indexed in our database (more than 100) and of course we only used those with open calls to the public. The research was done on July 1st, 2019, there will be another update of this article on December 2019 that will give a better picture of the industry. We welcome corrections and comments. Thanks for your time and support. – Sebastián Nadilo (Owner of AFF)
We identify eighty-two festivals from Asia with open calls. South Korea lead the list with 18 calls, followed by Japan with 15, Philippines with 14, India with 9 and Taiwan with 7. Nine countries have 3 or less festivals with open calls these are: Hong Kong (3), Indonesia (3), Malaysia (3), China (2), Nepal (2), Singapore (2), Bangladesh (1), Cambodia (1), and Macao (1).
Length & Genre
Most of the festivals (54) accept both Feature & Short Films. Eleven only accepts feature films and fifteen accepts only short films. On the other hand, only one festival is dedicated exclusively to Web Series (the Seoul Webfest from South Korea) and only one festival accepts, features, shorts and web series (the Jaipur International Film Festival from India).
When focusing on genre more than a half (45) accept only Fictions, ten only accepts documentaries and twenty-five accepts both Fictions & Documentaries.
The cost of submitting
Note: For this section we only took into account early submission fees as late fees are more expensive.
We identify fifty-one festivals with no submission fees. On the other hand, twenty-seven (*1) festivals have fees. From these festivals with fees most (20) have fees under 30 USD (early submission) while the remaining seven are above that mark.
(1) – We didn’t include two Filipino festivals because they are national festivals (Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino and the Metro Manila Film Festival).
When we look into the festivals that accepts feature films, we discovered that forty-five have no submission fees while twenty-one have. From those who have fees 14 have a fee of 30 USD or below. Only 7 have submissions with fees above 30 USD.
When we look into the festivals that accepts short films, we discovered that forty-six have no submission fees while twenty-four have. From those who have fees 16 have a fee of 15 USD or below. Only 8 have submissions with fees above 15 USD.
From those festival with submission fees (*2) for feature films the least expensive is the Ulju Mountain Film Festival (South Korea) with a fee of 2,26 USD (2 Euros) and the most expensive is the Jaipur International Film Festival with an entry fee of 100 USD (on early submission). As for festivals accepting short films the least expensive festival is again the Ulju Mountain Film Festival (South Korea) with a fee of 2,26 USD (2 Euros) and the most expensive festival is the Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hong Kong) and the Bali International Film Festival (Indonesia) both with an entry fee of 40 USD (on early submission).
(*2) – We didn’t include two Filipino festivals because they are national festivals (Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino and the Metro Manila Film Festival).
When looking at the platforms chosen by the festivals, we discovered most (51) prefer direct submission via their website or via mail. The most preferred platform was Film Freeway with 23 festivals. Please bear in mind seven festivals have multiple ways of submitting.
The importance of submitting early
It should be obvious the importance of submitting early to a festival, you get lower fees but how much? Well we look into those festivals with fees and we discovered that in general you could save between 10 – 40 USD depending if your movie is a short film or a feature film.
If you have a feature film the average difference between early and late submission is around 20-30 USD. And if you have a short film the average difference between early and late submission is around 10-20 USD.
In the following sections we will analyze calls from three different countries.
The country has 18 festivals, 14 festivals (78%) without fees and only 4 with fees. From these last only one exceeds the $4 USD-mark fee, the Seoul Webfest. Also, 1 festival accepts only feature films, 4 short films, 1 web series and 14 accepts both feature & short films. As for the way to apply 8 accepts direct submission, 4 uses FilmFreeway, 2 FestHome, 1 Withoutabox and 3 uses a mix of these platforms.
The country has 15 festivals, 9 festivals (60%) without fees and only 6 with fees. From these last only 2 exceeds the $30 USD-mark fee, the PIA Film Festival and the Sapporo International Short Film Festival and Market (in some categories). Also, 3 festival accepts only feature films, 5 short films, and 7 accepts both feature & short films. As for the way to apply 12 accepts direct submission, 2 Withoutabox and 1 uses a mix of these platforms.
The country has 12 festivals, 9 festivals (75%) without fees and only 3 with fees. From these last only 1 exceeds the $20 USD-mark fee, the Cebu International Film Festival. Also, 1 festival accepts only feature films, 3 short films, and 9 accepts both feature & short films. As for the way to apply 10 accepts direct submission and 2 via FilmFreeway.