• March 3, 2010
  • By admin
  • Comments Off on Film Festival Strategy
  • in Case Studies

Film Festival Strategy

The film festival environment has changed! What used to be a huge platform for independent films, is now bringing fewer picture "deals" and even less of an opportunity to connect with an audience. Of course getting into Sundance is a great accomplishment, but when a filmmaker's focus is only on top tier festivals it can be detrimental to the message of the film.

Choosing the festival circuit in which a film will play should not be determined solely by chance or acceptance, but by a strategic path for exposure and credibility that generates buzz and potential outreach partners. The QLP team created a different strategy that opted for a grassroots approach, in order to maximize the message of Sin by Silence.


Screen Sin by Silence in smaller and regional festivals that can garner larger audiences and create communities of support that prove to be more valuable to the film and campaign.


  1. Identify festivals that mirror the message and activism of Sin by Silence - human rights, women's issues, community based, etc.
  2. Partner with each festival area's local domestic violence organizations to maximize exposure to a niche audience.
  3. Debut in a place that is meaningful, relevant and engaged in the topic.


Sin by Silence debuted at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2009 to great success. In 1990, Ohio was the first state to grant clemency to 25 battered women convicted of killing their abusive husbands and became the catalyst for the movement the Convicted Women Against Abuse group started in California. So, it was only fitting that the Sin by Silence campaign start in the state that brought our movement and message to life. Having our debut at this mid-tiered festival with meaning, gave the film more press opportunities than might be available at larger festivals.

Our next step on the film festival route was another strategic opportunity, at the Sacramento Film and Music Festival, on the night Governor Schwarzenegger was to sign the state's budget. The QLP team joined protesters and advocates to help ensure that the message of domestic violence agencies funding was vital to the state of California. Even though the next day the Governor vetoed the budget, we knew we had an impact with our efforts by being receiving the Audience Award for Best Documentary.



  • Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
  • Cleveland International Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Film/2nd Runner-Up
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Starz Denver International Film Festival
  • Female Eye Film Festival
  • Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
  • Women of Color Film Festival


  • San Francisco International Documentary Festival
  • Portland Women's Film Festival
  • Women's Film Festival