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Should you pay to attend a film festival if you are nominated?

Hello everyone.

I have been recently nominated with my short film at a film festival (international, running for 6+ years). I'm very excited and want to go of course, but I learned that attending the actual awards night costs quite a lot of money. The festival has good opinion online, some of my filmmaker friends heard positive things about it as well, but at the same time nobody ever heard of having to pay to attend a festival if you are one of the nominees.

Does anyone have any experience with something similar? I would love to hear your feedback as I'm not sure what to do because paying for the awards night ticket + flights + accommodation would ruin me. But at the same time I'm willing to risk it if it's worth it.



    Not all festivals are equal, some are about selling tickets to gala dinners!

    1 year ago
  • I've been nominted at a few festivals, went to even less. Look into them to see what they are really about. I went to three in LA. One was a huge hall, red carpet ereal prizes, cash even. The other was in a function room, again a bit of a do -- both well worth the travel I made contacts and had a blast. The third, which online looked the most pretigious was at the back of a pub and showed the films on a bed sheet rigged on a brick wall. I actully left the trophy I won there in the hotel room. Some of these fesivals seem great on line - but really arn't worth the vist. Good luck - Adam

    1 year ago
  • That sounds a bit cheeky and an attempt at a cash grab, especially as you've already paid to submit your film.

    I've never heard of a festival doing that. All the film festivals my films have screened at actively encourage the filmmakers to attend and always offer free passes, quite often for the duration of the festival. I've been to some bigger international ones that have offered free accommodation for one night or longer, and usually include some kind of dinner for the attending filmmakers.

    I wouldn't fork out for flights and accommodation for a festival that requires me to pay to attend.

    1 year ago
  • MY film was selected to close a niche fest in NY and I paid my flights and accommodation but then was treated as a special guest (and given another guest ticket) for making the effort to turn up. I don't think it's right or normal to ask you to pay for your ticket too.

    1 year ago
  • My scripts have been official selections at over 100 screenplay competitions / film festivals and I've picked up 1st prize at 45 of them. Like everyone else, I've never heard of paying to attend. What's the name of the festival?

    1 year ago
  • The only way to know for sure is to ask someone who's been there before. And the only way to find that someone is to name the festival!

    Payment to attend, especially your screening, is dubious in my view, but it happens. Payment to attend a gala event is common, and may be worthwile if that's where the networking is done.

    I've just returned from Cannes. There's no specific outcome I can point to, but in a year's time I may be working on something which had its origin there. In short, it's too soon to tell if it was worth the expense.

    Remember, things happen when you say yes.

    1 year ago
    • "I've just returned from Cannes. There's no specific outcome I can point to, but in a year's time I may be working on something which had its origin there. In short, it's too soon to tell if it was worth the expense."

      I'm still in vague touch with a few people I met in Cannes a decade ago, occasionally we'll check in and see how the world is shaping up, give one another a warning if there's something unhealthy going on, etc. I hope you find likewise, or better! :)

      1 year ago
  • Hi Kacper,

    If the film festival is asking you to pay to attend, I would suspect it is a money making scheme. Most film festivals I have attended when my films have been selected are the opposite. I have always been offered accommodation when it is outside the UK, The Black harvest International festival at the Gene Siskel Centre even paid all the filmmakers whose films were being screened last year and all the film festivals my films have been to, offer a free full festival pass. This definitely sounds like a scam in my opinion!

    1 year ago