Warning to all filmmakers regarding bogus international film festivals
I know this is a bit off topic but as people on this forum have helped me greatly I am posting ti here.
This comes from a friend of mine who has been duped. I will give you the overview, a list of the festivals, link to a fuller article and a short film (http://swanseatelly.org/video/60/looking-for-an-audience-swanse) about the scam. This started in the UK but has gone international this year.
There seems to be a network of bogus film festivals run by Binda Singh. The way the scam works is you submit your film to all at once (you send just a single copy). The hook is that you don’t pay unless the film is accepted. It seems that your film will generally be accepted for all (or a lot of) the festivals and there is a fee for each you want to have your film shown at. I believe the submission fee is something like $30 a festival so it could cost you over $150.
Its not so much that the film festivals don’t exist, they do and the films are shown. Its just that there is no publicity about the festivals and no program. They do publish the list of film titles and roughly what time they will start (i.e. between 1200 and 1400) but not actual times. There is no info about the film except for is title (i.e. not even a sentence saying what the film is about). If you go to the festival you can get a list of films and when they should be shown (roughly) but even these rough times change. The venues can be anything (i.e. a 20 seat room in a community centre).
Basically you wont get an audience (unless you do your own publicity) and its probably a good thing as the time will probably change and the venue may be very small. OK, is this a scam, are the festivals bogus. I think so. This is all based on the Swansea Bay Festival which is where it all started and there are a lot of angry film makers (watch the short film). This year they seem to of got some info about the films on the Swansea Bay Festival website but the websites for the other festivals either are a single page or non existent. They even have published times but based on peoples experience from the previous years I wouldn’t personally wouldn’t trust them.
There is and Article at http://undercurrentsvideo.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-swansea-is-scamming-inte....
The Film about the scam, 'Looking for an Audience' is at http://swanseatelly.org/video/60/looking-for-an-audience-swanse
This is the list of film festivals Binda Singh seems to be involved in. The first few have websites but the later ones do not even seem to have a official web presence, this alone should raise alarm bells.
There is a page that lists them all at http://www.amritsa.com/test1.htm (Now the scam has been blown this may change).
Swansea Bay Film Festival - http://www.swanseabayfilmfestival.com/
The Heart of England International Film Festival - http://www.amritsa.com/iffe/2010/home.htm
International Youth Film Festival - http://www.amritsa.com/IYFF/
International Film Festival of Mind, Body, Spirit and The Ecology - http://www.amritsa.com/spirit/2011.htm
International Film Festival South Africa - http://www.amritsa.com/eiff/2010/home.htm
International Film Festival Ireland Tipperary - http://www.amritsa.com/eire/index.htm
International Film Festival Egypt
International GAY Film Festival UK
International Film Festival of Australaisia
International Film Festival Thailand , Kanchanaburi
International Film Festival of West Wales
International Film Festival Italy, Rome
International Film Festival of Digital Arts UK
India International Film Festival Goa
International Film Festival London
Heart of North America International Film & Video Festival
Ben Edwards - Freelance Filmmaker