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Old January 25th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #1
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Film Fest requirements

So, I have a 90 minute film Iím going to be putting into some film festivals over the next year. This is something totally new for me and I know I have a lot to learn about the whole process. I think I have some of the basics down, but then I heard something to day that I havenít come across.
I was told by a friend that I will be required to have licenses and documentation for every song and sound effect I use. I donít mean copy write, because everything we used is royalty free. He was talking about a ďSync licenseĒ, ďMaster licenseĒ and some other that I had never heard of. Basically, full documentation of every sound I use, where it came from, how long itís duration and how often it was used.
Is that right?
I mean if thatís what I need to do, then I willÖ but that sounds like a real pain and a lot of paper work. Is this standard? If so, what else do I need to be prepared for.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 03:09 AM   #2
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Re: Film Fest requirements

Clearing the music is standard, you should have the paperwork available. You attract a lot of paperwork making a film, I've got short films on each of which the paper fills an archive box with the files. The sync license is part of the copyright clearance process.

I'd check with the royalty free music providers and ensure you've got all the paperwork you need. Just you saying it's royalty free isn't enough, you need the agreements saying it's cleared for your use on a film.

They won't be worried about sound effects, because you could've recorded those and you may not have used any library effects. They'll be concerned about the music because that the stuff they may face legal action over. Although, if you have an easily identified sound effect from say a feature film, you may have a query.

If you have used library effects you should stay within the terms of their use agreements.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Re: Film Fest requirements

To me the point of the film festival circuit is to obtain distribution.
So in order to get a distribution deal you will need a master license, sync license, and performance license for the music that you use. Then there are agreements that will be needed if you had music composed for your film, the composer has to provide you with guarantees that their music is original. Then there are releases from everyone in your film, for every location you shot at, etc, etc. Then you'll be asked to provide a title report and a copyright report for your script/film. Then you'll need to provide a couple million dollar E&O insurance policy to cover yourself and your distributor. Of course you will need an entertainment attorney to verify that you have done things correctly and to look over your contracts to protect yourself from unseen problems. There will be requirements for film's submission format, key art, promo material, etc, etc. It goes on and on.

The agreements for the entry to most film festival states that you will have all of this covered and the festival will not be held responsible if you haven't obtained all the required legal rights - you will.

Well, that's what I've been doing the last three months - and shelling out a couple thousand dollars to do it!

Unless there is a specific reason to do the festival circuit (and then spending a couple thousand to promote your film at each festival you get selected at), you could contact distributors directly. If you follow their guidelines they are usually willing to look at what you have.

After trying the festival circuit for 8 months I was tired of waiting for something to happen. In a month I had a number of distributors interested in my film.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: Film Fest requirements

WOW!!!.. and I was so happy in my ignorance. I'm not sure where that puts me now. I mean besides shocked and over whelmed. I don't mind putting in the time and jumping through the hoops, and everything I used is on the up and up, But I sure don't have any money for lawyers, or anything else. I 'm scrounging to come up with the entrance fees for the the film fest.
I guess I was hoping that this was one of those things that they all say for legality, but don't ask for unless there is complaint. hmmm... that is a bummer, I have really been looking forward to the whole film fest process.
Any thought or suggestions?
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Old January 25th, 2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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Re: Film Fest requirements

Jack, In my experience it's not necessary to have all of that before you submit.

I've played at over 20 film festivals (all 2nd tier including: Austin Film Festival, Big Sky, Florida Film Fest, Sidewalk, etc, etc) and none of them ever asked me for paper work like that. When we got a small time distribution deal is when I had to go to work and supply all of that before they would release the film.

Usually festivals just want you to submit via withoutabox (if offered), send them a DVD with the appropriate info labeled on the disk (running time, tracking number, region code, etc) and pay the entry fee.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 02:20 AM   #6
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Re: Film Fest requirements

You may find that the royalty free music covers you for festivals, but once you get commercial distribution you need to pay. It's a matter of reading the fine print in your agreement for the use of the music. Copyright is rather complex and given how the record companies are chasing copyright infringements these days, the festivals want to keep themselves covered.

Although, it's likely to be the case that don't want to see your paperwork, your agreement with them states that you must have the music cleared for screening at the festival. Films are often entered before everything is finished, so clearance could a work in progress at the entry stage.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 01:47 PM   #7
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Re: Film Fest requirements

Thanks guys, that's a big help.
So, basically... start working on it, have it ready in case they ask, or if we get some sort of distribution going. Where do you find all the forms for this stuff? should it be through the film fest, royalty free company or somewhere else?
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Old January 26th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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Re: Film Fest requirements

I'd check with your royalty free company, they may have standard agreements. You'll have read through these and it would be a good idea to get a lawyer (ideally an entertainment lawyer) to check them out before you sign the agreement.

If not, an entertainment lawyer will have (or write) contracts that you can provide for the royalty free company to sign that spell out the usage you'll have, the time scale and the payments involved.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #9
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Re: Film Fest requirements

This is been some good info for me as well. Thank fully I have a very talented musician as a wife. :) So that should simplify things some since she will be composing the soundtrack for my film.

I would love to get into a festival like SXSW but I hear it's tough. What are some other good festivals to look at, especially for a first time participant?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #10
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Re: Film Fest requirements

Thanks again for all the help, and good info... this is why I love this Forum some much. It's great to hear from the ones who have already been down that road and will give out what they have learned.
Awesome!!
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Old January 28th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #11
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Re: Film Fest requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Ballew View Post
This is been some good info for me as well. Thank fully I have a very talented musician as a wife. :) So that should simplify things some since she will be composing the soundtrack for my film.
You should make an agreement with her outlining the use that you can of her music. It's the same that you'd make with any other composer. Unless you do so, she still holds the copyright to the music and it hasn't been assigned for use in the film. .
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