So What's the Difference?
1998 marked a change in the independent film festival scene as Dances With Films became a reality. With film festivals popping up daily (sometimes hourly) it's difficult for many filmmakers to understand the differences that we all play. From a filmmaker point of view it's important to know and understand these differences as it could have a large impact on the pedigree of your film.
No Politics. No Stars. No Sh*t.
This isn't just a cute phrase - nor was it designed to thumb a nose toward other fests. It simply is how DWF operates. Since its inception, DWF remains the only film festival in the U.S. solely geared to unknowns...no "known" actors, directors, producers or writers within our competition slate. While there are several festivals across the country that have taken up a portion of this charge, this is DWF's very foundation.
We do not politize our selections.
While you may have an advantage with other fests having name recognition in your film or personal contacts with the festival itself - DWF will not select a film based on either. We choose the best...period.
We do not "invite" films.
The fact that a filmmaker chooses to submit to Dances With Films is important to us. Because of this - we never "invite" films (from other fests or otherwise) to play at DWF. This practice is unfair to all the filmmakers that have chosen to submit and doing so effectively eliminates slots that should go to those filmmakers.
We watch and respect all of our entries.
Respect for filmmakers is of paramount importance to DWF. Should a film not gain entry to the fest - the entrant will be contacted and given a few positive quotes about their film.
This is important for two reasons: 1] It shows that we have watched the entry and that 2] The submission was respected. In recent years - a few fests have started doing this...and we applaud them. It takes a great deal of time and the endeavor is well worth it.
We do not screen films against each other.
While many festivals have several screenings going on simultaneously - are screenings are set up so that no film is put at a disadvantage with regard to audiences.
We do not charge attending filmmakers ridiculous fees.
All filmmakers attending the fest (two per selection) have the opportunity to see everything at DWF. In fact, we encourage it. All parties and other events are equally open to attendees.