Film Festival Mastery: State of the Circuit, an Insider’s Guide to Film Festivals in 2021 – A FREE Course!

Event Date February 26, 2021 @ 11am – 12:30pm PST (2pm 3:30pm EST)
Location ONLINE - so you can take it from ANYWHERE!
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Hi everyone,


Here’s info on a great event coming up on the STATE OF THE CIRCUIT: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO FILM FESTIVALS IN 2021 – which will tell you everything you need to know on how to make a splash on the film festival circuit, and how to Covid-Proof your festival run!


A FREE COURSEand it’s ONLINE, so you can take it from ANYWHERE!


Details are below – as always, feel free to forward if you know someone who might be interested, and be sure to mention I sent you!


Good luck, have a great day, and don’t forget to dream big!




Jeffrey R. Gund

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You are invited to attend





Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald breaks down the insider secret

to COVID-proofing your festival run – and making a splash on the circuit!




FRIDAY, February 26th, 2021

11am – 12:30pm PST (2pm 3:30pm EST)


ONLINE – so you can attend from ANYWHERE!


It’s common knowledge that the success of an indie filmmaker can be heavily influenced by whether or not a film has a successful festival run.


If your film makes even the tiniest of splashes, it can lead to distribution, sales, financing, representation, connections, exposure/street cred, and future (paid!) gigsThat’s a pretty bad-ass list, amiright?!?


The problem is that so many filmmakers don’t know what they don’t know and they end up sabotaging their own film, killing its chances of making an impact (sometimes before it has even screened)!


“But Jon, what about COVID?  Aren’t film festivals dead??”

Nope. In fact, savvy filmmakers have more opportunity to get their films seen, sold, and leveraged than ever before.


2021 is (finally) here and you’ve got a real shot at making a splash with your film on the festival circuit!  I have carefully tracked the impact of COVID on the festival circuit and we now know how festivals have adapted, what’s working, and what’s not.


YOU need to know what WE know – so here’s where FILM FESTIVAL MASTERY comes in…


Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald (me!) & award-winning filmmaker Justin Giddings have teamed up to break down the insider secrets to COVID-proofing your 2021 film festival run!


This LIVE online seminar will teach you:

–  How to put together a film festival strategy for 2021 that maximizes your film’s full potential…

–  How the paradigm shifts forced by COVID have created new opportunities for filmmakers…

–  The differences between virtual and live film festivals (some of which are pretty damn surprising)…

–  How to save money on your submissions so you don’t blow your budget on the wrong festivals that aren’t going to help your career (spoiler alert: you can even MAKE money)…

–  How to get and stay on a programmer’s radar so your film actually gets seen…

–  BONUS:  A live Q+A for ALL your film festival questions!

–  A special surprise announcement!


Don’t let this year slide by because you’re in an echo chamber where all your filmmaker friends keep repeating, “Festivals are dead.”   …Because your friends are incorrect.


For example, one of our students just got his short picked up for HBO and he’s been slaying it on the festival circuit:

“Hey Justin Giddings, really cool idea! My film 1, 2, 3, All eyes On Me has recently been accepted to two Oscar-Qualifying festivals: Cleveland and BronzeLens. It also got into the LA Latino Film Festival, the new York Latino Film Festival, Phoenix, Pasadena, and won Best Drama Short at both Queen palm and Cordillera. If you’re in LA, it’ll be playing at a drive-in as part of Salute Your Shorts this Friday, the 21st.

Thanks to Justin Giddings and Jon Fitzgerald for all they’ve taught me. It’s been invaluable!”

     — Emil Gallardo, Filmmaker


Things have changed, but festivals are adapting and many of these changes are here to stay!


We hope you join us on Friday for an in-depth look at those changes and how you can take advantage of them and move your career forward!



Register now at the link below so you can learn all you need to make the most of film festivals:


Can’t wait to meet you!


Got questions you want us to try to cover?  Email them to!





Jon has twenty-five years of experience in the independent film, internet, and film festival communities – a rare leader with a unique combination of skills.  As a filmmaker, he has produced a number of award winning documentaries; and as a consultant, he has guided many independent film projects through the maze of festivals and hybrid distribution models.


As a co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival (1995), he led the event the next two seasons before being named the Festival Director for the prestigious AFI Film Festival in 1997.  After running AFI Fest for three years (1997-1999), he created a consulting business, guiding the launch of numerous film festivals (Bahamas, Lone Star, Orlando), directing many others (Santa Barbara, Naples, Hollywood), and consulting to dozens more.


In October of 2012, Jon authored his first book, entitled Filmmaking for Change: Make Films That Transform the World.  Again, based on the premise that powerful stories can create change, Jon founded Cause Cinema & Cause Pictures, connecting social impact films to related causes.  After serving as Head of Acquisitions for several distributors, Jon Founded in 2019 as a guide to engaging movies and series.



Justin Giddings is an award-winning actor, writer, and director who got sick and tired of waiting for permission to be creative.  Despite success as an actor on shows like Shameless, Nashville, Pretty Little Liars, and General Hospital, Justin decided to get behind the camera.  His and his partner’s first two shorts played at over 100 film festivals around the globe, winning multiple awards and best-ofs and gaining distribution and development deals with Gaiam TV and Gunpowder & Sky.


While he continues to work as a writer and director, Justin also has the distinction of being the Kickstarter Guy, the #1 crowdfunding coach for filmmakers.  He’s coached over 170 clients, helped raised $6 million, and has a 97% success rate.  He’s an official Kickstarter Expert, a Forbes Business Coach, and regularly teaches with organizations such as Film Independent.  The empowerment of a filmmaker to totally control their creative expression in the world continues to drive Justin’s coaching and educational work.



Register now at the link below so you can learn all you need to make the most of film festivals:




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