COMING SOON: The International Movie Trailer Festival

Back in 2007 I directed a documentary feature and it actually played in some decent film festivals.  But for every acceptance letter we got, we received 2 or 3 (friendly) rejection e-mails.  It was a rough and expensive process but it was also weirdly addictive.  Being accepted to a festival is kind of a rush and actually going to a film fest and watching your movie play in a real theater in front of a real audience is a hell of a lot of fun.  When you make an independent film you only have a year to submit to film fests so my festival experience was done by late 2008.  And that was nice timing for me because right after I “retired” my documentary I discovered online video contests.  I think one reason I took to video contests was because they were sort of similar to film festivals.  Both are competitions of sorts and both give filmmakers a chance to show off their work.  So that’s one reason why the International Movie Trailer Festival has piqued my interests.  It sounds like a hybrid between a film fest and a video contest.  Plus any indie filmmaker who’s ever shot their own feature already has a trailer cut and ready to go.  So this fest is a good chance to submit work that you’ve already completed.  Here are some of the basic details about the fest:

Movie trailers can be more interesting than the movies they represent. This fact led a group of indie moviemakers to launch the International Movie Trailer Festival (IMTF).

IMTF hosts the world’s leading online video contest devoted to the art of the preview. Entries can be for completed movies—shorts or features—or for movies still in the dream stage. All genres are accepted including trailers for fiction movies, documentaries, web series, and books.

Since its inception in 2010, IMTF has awarded $20,000 in cash prizes. A jury of industry professionals chooses the $3,000 grand-prize winner. Fans voting online pick the People’s Choice Award. Every entry entered via Withoutabox.com gets fast-tracked for an IMDb page.

According to IMTF cofounder Murray Suid, “Nearly half the entries in the Festival are faux trailers created to raise money for full-blown productions. There are no sure things in the movie business, but producing a faux trailer can be effective. It’s how the Coen brothers raised money for their first movie Blood Simple.”

This year, IMTF has added two special prize categories. One is for trailers shot using smartphones. Suid explains, “We’re intrigued by the creative possibilities of using the cameraphone and want to encourage experimentation with mobile moviemaking.”  The other new category is for micro-trailers, which run one quarter of a minute or less. Fifteen seconds could win an imaginative filmmaker $3,000.

According to the company’s CEO Roberta Suid, “In addition awarding cash prizes, IMTF seeks distribution opportunities for completed movies that we discover.  So far we placed one docu-drama—Codebreaker—into major theaters in New York, Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco,  and L.A”

The rules, the online entry form, tips, and recent winners can be found at www.internationalmovietrailerfestival.com.  If you have questions, you should write .  The deadline for entering this year’s festival is October 30th. The entry fee is $25 for students; $35 for everyone else.  Yep, there’s an entry fee because like I said, this is more of a film festival.  If you’ve never submitted to a film fest before, entry fees are just a part of the game.


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3 Responses to “COMING SOON: The International Movie Trailer Festival”

  1. Hans says:

    Is poptent still going on as a website? I remember I visit there long ago and there were many assignments. Today, it seems there very little and I wish to compete again with my girlfriend and son but there was only small assignments. Are they done with online contests?

  2. Dan L. says:


    I’ve been getting that question a lot. I honestly have no idea what is happening to Poptent. I suspect they’re soon going to focus 100% on private assignments. If they don’t launch a bunch of new public assignments by the end of the month it probably means they’re going private.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Tongal is eating up the competition. The sense of community at PopTent is great but they just fail to deliver on brand deadlines and communication is poor. They don’t realize how agonizing those waits are for creators, just have to stick to their guns. I wish them luck and hope they stay though.

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