Submitting Online Via Withoutabox

File Under: Film Festival Planning

Not long after our 2004 festival has wrapped, we’re already at work gearing up for next year, and it starts with opening our call for entries. And with this, my very first blog ever, I’m going to write about a first for our festival—an online submission process.

We’re partnering with Withoutabox.com, a company established just a few years ago. The way it works is that filmmakers enjoy discounts and the convenience of submitting forms online, while festivals are able to import data directly into the database rather than wasting hours of staff time manually inputting information as indicated on the printed forms. (We help save trees, too, by using online press kits!) Considering that the technology itself (an online application form) is not difficult to create, and since Withoutabox.com charges a commission on each entry, we weren’t initially sold on the merit of this service. But one notion intrigued us. Since Withoutabox.com has over 30,000 filmmakers using their system, if even a small percentage of those filmmakers have Asian American projects to submit, we could potentially reach several hundred eligible applicants and perhaps help increase the number of submissions we receive.

The two big questions are these:
1) What percentage of the filmmakers out there are Asian American (or making Asian American films)?
2) Of those, how many are familiar with our festival?

There’s no way to really know, but by the end of the year, we’ll find out if Withoutabox has helped us find more Asian American projects. Then there’s always the issue of a number of Asian American filmmakers choosing to not submit their work to an Asian American film festival, hoping instead to screen at a more "mainstream" festival, but that’s a whole other topic to be discussed later.