You’re an indie filmmaker, you’ve painstakingly wrapped up post-production for your film – be it short or feature – and you’re wondering what next. Independent filmmakers have opened up many times about the challenges of making a film without studio backing, with the number one roadblock being funding. Funding to start production and funding for marketing are the two most difficult issues for indie filmmakers globally. While some countries have it better than others, Nigeria isn’t one of those countries, leaving local indie filmmakers to get even more creative than they need to be.

Once you scale through the filming stage and the first phase of pre-production, getting your film to the audience is your next chapter in making a film. In order to bypass the large amount of money – that many indie filmmakers don’t have – needed to distribute and market a film using traditional media, many indie filmmakers take their films straight to film festivals first. Film festivals give filmmakers a better chance at turning international eyes to your film and tend to be a far cheaper option. Here are 10 film festivals African indie filmmakers should consider submitting their films to this season.

NollywoodWeek Film Festival

NollywoodWeek Film Festival is a week-long Nollywood based festival that was launched in Paris, France in 2013. The festival selects and screens feature films, short films, TV series, and animations through its 4-day event. A relatively affordable option for amateur filmmakers looking to pitch their films in the tent of both local and international eyes as all submission fees are $10 (N6k) and below .

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/NollywoodWeekNOW

BIPOC International Film Festival (BIFF)

BIFF is carved out specifically for Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC) in filmmaking to showcase their work and receive the recognition and acknowledgment they deserve. The festival allows for BIPOC filmmakers to have their films received and appreciated by a wider audience than they perhaps have had access to previously due to various social barriers within the film industry. Submission fees are $13 (N8k) and below.

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/bipocfilmfest

Film in Focus

Film in Focus is an international film competition with the objective of raising awareness towards screening independent cinema. The festival welcomes submissions from a wide range of shorts in several genres including drama & comedy films, documentaries, animations, experimental projects, music videos, or movie trailers. Also a relatively priced festival as submission fees are $43(N23k) and below.

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/FilminFocus

Sunday Shorts Film Festival

Sunday Short Film Festival is more or less a film festival and script competition combined. Sunday Shorts provides feedback on submissions, hosts monthly film and script events, and culminates with a Film Festival of screenings, networking, and awards. All short scripts are read to the end by a programmer and receive short or full feedback. Finalist scripts are read by another programmer and the festival director and discussed. Submission fees for this film festival range from $1.99 (N1k) – $30 (N18k).

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/Sunday-shorts

Africa International Horror Film Festival

Africa International Horror Film Festival is the first horror film festival in West Africa founded by film producer, Ann Sarafina Nneoha and it is aimed at “Reviving the African Horror Cinema”. The festival is committed to giving independent horror filmmakers in Africa and beyond a platform to showcase and promote their works. Submission fees for this film festival range from $13(N8k) – $33(N20k).

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/aihfilmfest

Paris Play Film Festival

An international film festival inspired by the new wave of French Cinema and that believes cinema has the ability to tell any story in any way to make people feel, share, experience, and even experiment. The festival’s objective is to mix interactive talent competition with a human-scale quality selection. Submission fees for this film festival range from $23(N14k) – $72(N44k).

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/ParisPlayFilmFestival

Eko International Film Festival

The annual Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) is an international film festival in the coastal megacity of Lagos. The mission of Eko International Film Festival is to promote the appreciation of Arts and Culture through the motion picture arts and sciences and increase tourism in Nigeria. Subsmission fees for this film festival are $15(N9k) and below.

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/EkoInternationalFilmFestival

Watch Africa, Wales’s African Film Festival

Watch-Africa is Wales’ annual African Film Festival celebrating the best of African cinema. Launched in 2013, the festival provides a platform for African films, art and culture in Wales. It brings a wide-range of films covering areas across the continent, Q&A’s with filmmakers, engaging and interactive activities such as the Director’s Lab, as well as other workshops. A perfect starter for indie filmmakers as the submission fee is free!

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/WatchAfricaWalessAfricanFilmFestival

Lagos International Festival Of Animation

Lagos International Festival of Animation (LIFANIMA) is one of the major animation festivals on the African continent, hosted in Lagos. LIFANIMA is dedicated to the promotion of Animation in Africa and attracts the continent’s new generation of animators and visual effects talents and studios, as well as stakeholders in the film industry.
Investors, producers, and private and public sector stakeholders find LIFANIMA a compelling platform for networking. Submissoin fees for the festival are also free!

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/LIFANIMA

IndieEye Film Awards

IndieEye Film Awards is a monthly and annual online event which celebrates Independent U.S. and international films of all genres. Official selections are screened privately for consideration. Monthly competition winners are then eligible for our annual awards. Official selections and winners will receive laurels. Submission fees for the festival range from $13(N8k) to $52(N32k).

Submit here: https://filmfreeway.com/IndieEyeFilmAwards

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