The Sundance submission deadline has passed; SXSW is looming (early: Nov. 16; late: Dec. 7). But thousands of films are made each year, and many are not appropriate for these big, industry-driven (read: sales) showcases. Don’t get me wrong… submit your film to your dream festival, because, hey, you never know! If you don’t get in, don’t be too disappointed because there has been a proliferation of festivals big and small where your film can find a home. I’ve been to enough regional festivals at this point to know that they can have some of the most engaged audiences, and are often a lot of fun for filmmakers who want people to see their work. Read Holly Herrick’s essay about the Sarasota Film Festival (big by regional standards but not a festival designed to sell product).

For another perspective on how much fun smaller fests can be, my film-loving neighbor here in Austin sent me this great article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Barbara Vancheri about the Three Rivers Film Festival with reasons why folks should attend the festival.  My favorite reason:

Bonus hockey nights — Pittsburgh Filmmakers has found a way to combine hockey with moviegoing, and the $8 admission ticket is far cheaper than a Penguins seat. Besides, the Pens aren’t at home two of the three nights “The Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard” shows.