Sandwich Film Festival at the Empire

The Empire Cinema, Sandwich, the art deco cinema where the festival takes place.

What kind of films are we looking for?

We welcome the unconventional, we welcome the conventional.

We HOPE to find films that do not conform to current expectations or conventions. We have found that despite claims to the contrary, most festivals chose films with a strongly sub-mainstream feel, in editing style, acting, narration and overall artistic conception. All that separates most independent films from commercial films are the production costs.

We are not looking for ever more extreme viscera, or violence or hyperbole of various kinds that often passes for “indie” style. We are looking for genuine independence or originality of thought and conception, and of execution. We aren't even searching necessarily for films that are stupendously shot or stunningly acted with overwrought dramatic scripts, for there is nothing particularly original in all of that, so deep has the rot gone in the way film has become a part of the swallowing up of individuality by the corporate world.

So by original, we mean something that is not fashionable, not following a successful trend, whether it is one that calls itself new or not, films that are not packed with the editing and acting clichees that are the usual badges of success in film-making. We want films that are not looking over their shoulders to see if they are going to be liked or approved of or successful. We are looking for films that follow their own artistic path, for whatever it is worth.

We make no presumptions, we preclude nothing and exclude nothing, as long as it is genuine and real and of good quality in its conception. Your film can be technically imperfect, but redeemed by its essence. You can be honest with us, you can tell us about your project.

One little clue, we are trying to get away from the dip to black, tympani, blade sharpening sounds that punctuate every film and every trailer- please!

So, if you really feel that you don't fit in, and produce good quality work then we might be for you.

This is the first year of the festival and so audicnces depend partly on the efforts of the film-makers whose films are being screened.

We will screen as many films as we can, a few each day of the festival. Film-makers and their supporters are encouraged to stay to see each other's films. We hope there will be an environment of intelligent receptivity, often lacking for genuinely original work in any field.

We accept films of all genres.

What does it mean to be included in the Sandwich Film Festival ?
All films selected to be in the festival will be screened in the Empire Cinema, Sandwich, an art deco cinema which now has two screens. The one we use seats 50 people. The seating is normally in Cafe/theatre style placing, which allows a slightly informal and discursive environment, ...and gives the audience somewhere to put their tea or drinks.

There is a licenced bar (as well as light refreshments, tea, coffee etc.) and we hope this is where participants will discuss their own and each others' films, and exchange advice and experiences.
We hope that we will be able to attract distributors as the festival's reputation becomes established.
We may invite directors to take part in Qusetion and Answer sessions, or to introduce their films.

Sandwich, is a small beautiful medieval town, in Kent, totally unspoilt, with many resturants and pubs and shops, as well as hotels of varying sizes. It's well worth a look round.
There are regular trains to London from Sandwich station. These take roughly 100 minutes.
Awards and prizes - come not to be judged......
Our priority and chief interest is to provide screenings for films. More important than awards, we hope to be able to offer further screenings beyond the festival for some films.

Some festivals give awards without even screening the films (and sometimes, we suspect, without even watching them).Every film seems to have at least one award, but the value of awards is at last being questioned. Ours is a small but genuine festival, it's about screening films. We award laurels to all films selected to be in our festival, to show on your publicity and posters that you have been screened at a proper festival with high standards. Awards can be given lightly, screenings can't - there is strong competition for inclusion.

To be judging between films already deemed to be good enough to be in the festival, when all films have different artistic aims, seems a misleading distraction.
The serious judging is done by choosing which films to screen.

Shorts and features

Feature films should be 70 minutes or over.

Short films should be up to 10 minutes.
The cost for submission to the festival is

Short films £20 (regular deadline)

Feature films £30 (regular deadline)

Rules and guidelines

You may enter as many films as you wish. there is no stipulation as to when, or where, your film was made.
The owner of the film must obtain all permissions and licences pertaining to the film, and promises to indemnify the festival against any legal actions resulting from any failure to have them.
The applicant must have obtained the necessary clearances for the inclusion of any copyrighted music and images used. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights required to screen the submitted film.
There are no fees for participating in the festival. Participants are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for screenings of their films at the festival.
Stills from selected films may be used for publicity and press.
Submission fees are non-returnable.

If your film is selected for the festival you must provide a DVD for us to use in screening your film
How to submit your film

This is easiest done on film freeway

Alternatively send a link to where we can watch your film to, and make your payment by paypal to: