5 Reasons Why Movie Posters Are Essential For Film Festival Marketing

By Mikel Fair

You Are Reading Chapter 7 Of The Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook

Movie posters are still as relevant today as they have been for decades in the film industry. Why? Because they typically are the first image associated with your film, video or screenplay. A good poster usually contains an image or collection of images that represent elements in your submission. Also, a traditional poster contains credits for several of the “above the line” crew. Including the stars, director, composer and cinematographer. Many include studio and production company logos as well. You’ve seen this marketing formula your entire life right? There are even people that collect movie posters and creative film festival posters, for their historical value.

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Why do filmmakers and screenwriters skip this step when submitting to Film Festivals?

Are you worried about the cost involved in your decision to create your movie poster? Have you ever arrived at a movie theater a little early? Did you find yourself strolling along the walls, checking out the movie posters to see what is being released? If you see a cool poster for a film, you may say to yourself “I want to take the kids to this one” or “Wow, I didn't know they were releasing a sequel to that one.” Then, you might check out the film’s trailer online and read some of the early reviews to see if it’s worth your money. This is the same thought process that film festival attendees go through, when deciding which film session they would like to view at an event. I send out an email, like the one below, to multiple submitters that have been selected by our film festivals. This is a time consuming process that shouldn’t be happening.

5 Reasons Why Movie Posters Are Essential For Film Festival Marketing

“Hi, my name is Mikel Fair from Film Festival Circuit. Congrats on being selected to one of our festivals. I’d like to post about your submission on social media, but you don’t have any images uploaded to your FilmFreeway Submission form. Can you please update that? Thank you. We look forward to marketing and screening your film at our upcoming event.”

Creating a poster that sparks interest in your submission is the goal.

Having an 11×17 or 18×24 dimensions of a movie poster is the standard. The average movie poster size that we receive from submitters is 11x17.When our Film Festivals release the official selections for an upcoming event, we post every poster for every submission on social media. We also print the most attractive posters and decorate the venue with them. Sometimes we group them together and create a cinema festival poster. This generates excitement and gets people asking questions.

Sadly, 25% of film submissions that we received in 2019, did not have an image included on their FilmFreeway submission form at all. No poster, headshot, screenshot, behind the scenes photo, nothing. Also, 35% of submissions included images, but had issues. Either they are not designed in a poster format or they do not have any text. If your poster doesn’t have your name on it, how are people going to associate it with your submission? A picture alone, is nearly worthless without context.

3 Film Posters

A strong movie poster will have the title of the film, an interesting image element and the name of the director, writer, stars, production company logo and should be updated with Film Festival Laurels as your film earns them. The old saying “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words” somewhat applies to Film marketing, but it’s more than that, because the words on the poster mean something as well. A release date, tagline and credits can potentially hook a viewer. Don’t pass up this opportunity to reach more people with this simple marketing tool.

If you’re not sure how to add an image to your FilmFreeway Submission Form, please watch this 60 second tutorial video. https://youtu.be/3-ftHVe3jls If you’d like to create a poster yourself, you should check out the Canva Poster Maker. You can generate an image in minutes and export it for $1. I created a tutorial video that walks you through the drag and drop process. No photoshop experience required! https://youtu.be/waT1Ev_6Nd4 This tutorial also shows you how to add a Film Festival Laurel to your poster artwork. The process is very straightforward.

Would you like more tips that will help strengthen your submission for the Film Festival Submission process? Please download the Film Festival Submissions Handbook by written Mikel Fair.

5 Reasons Why You Should Create A Poster For Your Film Festival Submission
  • The official poster is the first impression that most people get about your film.
  • The info on your movie poster generates interest in your Festival Screening session.
  • Film Festivals use film posters for social media posts and articles.
  • Movie posters make great photo opportunities at Film Festivals.
  • Printed Movie posters are a memento and a part of your film’s history.



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Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

From 1999-2015 I worked on location in the television and film industry as a location sound mixer, production manager and field producer. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Today, I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit LLC, a US based company that manages international film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Our team is passionate about showcasing new independent films, videos, series episodes, screenplays and teleplays of all genres.

Topics: Submission Tips

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