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How Do You Get Past the Gate-Keepers of Film Festivals and Distributors? Filmmaker Elena Rossini Has an Idea

How Do You Get Past the Gate-Keepers of Film Festivals and Distributors? Filmmaker Elena Rossini Has an Idea

By common consent, technology has made it easier to make a feature film than ever before. The downside of this? It’s harder than ever to get one distributed. Distributors are generally only interested in low budget features if they’ve made a splash at a big festival, but with festivals more flooded with submissions than ever, that’s an increasingly hard ask.

Elena Rossini is a filmmaker who has spent six years working on “The Illusionists” – a feature-length documentary that exposes the shocking impact of the modern day beauty industry on its global customer base. Having begun the arduous process of submitting to festivals, Rossini quickly realized that the difference between acceptance and oblivion may lie in just one person – no, not a festival programmer, but a famous name, as yet unidentified, who can join her project as narrator, executive producer or otherwise champion. You may think that a film ought to succeed or fail on its merits, not its celebrity cache. But in the current distribution climate, that’s just not a reality.

Rossini has created an impressively savvy campaign (with an equally impressive website) to make her case. Have a look, and – if you want to see her project go the distance – get involved. The subject matter of “The Illusionists” could hardly be more pertinent, and deserves to be shared and discussed widely. The challenge is on.

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I don't know who Rossini is talking to, but as a festival programmer and film critic, I can tell you that you do not have to have a big name attached to your film for it to get attention. This is not to say that good films don't get rejected, they sometimes do; but plenty of films without big names attached to them get accepted at festivals, major and minor, all the time. Maybe she's not submitting to the right festivals; each festival has its own focus and tone, and not every film (even if it's good) will be the right fit. Or maybe it's just not good (sorry to say that, but it could be the case). But believe me, a celebrity narrator is not the golden ticket to getting a film into a festival.


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