The undying question: What is the ticket to success? How can I make it big? I’ve only got a film/journalism/music production/any other art degree. Arts students are the epitome of the digital age’s starving artist and for good reason –we don’t have a detailed, step-by-step method to a secure job, unlike our S.T.E.M. and pre-law comrades. No matter, we are arts students. We thrive off of unique ways of going about things. Allow me to introduce you to arguably the biggest independent film festival in the U.S: Sundance Film Festival.

Nestled in the quaint town of Park City, Utah, the festival was built on the idea of independence. Independent films, that is. The festival features films made outside of the Hollywood, big business, one-for-the-money realm for a refreshing take on the passion and the art of film. Because isn’t that what it’s all about? We aren’t pursuing –insert art major here—for the sake of stability and monetary gain. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have the best of both worlds.

The film festival platform is the perfect playing field for art grads for the very reason that film is an all inclusive medium. Depending on your interest, whether it’s music, graphic design, marketing, art direction, or even –gasp—filmmaking, a film cannot operate without each of these components along with several others.

Fast forward to the completion of post production on your film that you were a part of, now what? Ride the festival circuit. Several festivals across this great nation accept submissions from students and beginners, and some are even geared specifically for this age bracket, such as: Delta Moon Student Film Festival and The Shortie Awards.

Film festivals get your film and name out there for public viewing. You never know who is going to be sitting in that audience seat and who believes your set dressing is a work of art or your soundtrack selection skills are needed on the team of some major elite/executive/CEO/producer. You simply never know.

This past summer I worked on a film entitled “The Intervention” as the key set production assistant. I got to work with an incredible cast and crew for an entire month seeing a range of talents and skills working together like a well-oiled machine. On Jan. 26, that film’s world premier was at Sundance Film Festival.  Nothing beats seeing your name roll in the credits on a major motion picture. Two days later, the film’s worldwide rights were signed over to Paramount Studios for $2.5 million dollars.

Sundance Film Festival is the end all be all of independent film festivals in this country, but that does not mean that your submission is far-fetched or wont get in. Simply attending film festivals could also be what you need to get your foot in the door and compile your team. By attending, you can meet with producers, filmmakers, or just experienced film lovers who would be willing to steer you in the right direction or partner with you on a project. Film festivals provide an avenue of connections that could be the launching pad for your career that you never saw coming. Experience and exposure open doors. Consider this as an answer to your elder relatives’ questions regarding what you are going to do with your film degree.

What film festivals can do for you:

  1. Committing your time to a film let’s you see how a film set is run and the varying fields of expertise needed for the production’s success.
  2. Networking with filmmakers, distributors, agents, and producers can help launch your career.
  3. Having your film screened or handing out one-sheets detailing your film is a good way to market yourself and to get your name circulating.

It just takes one film to be launched into success and have the entire county buzzing.

-Charlotte Norsworthy