I am currently in the process of hearing back from several film festivals on whether or not my film has been accepted for their official selection, however, it has properly qualified for all of them. In anxiously awaiting a response, I also figured it wouldn’t hurt to apply to this online company, IndieFlix, for global, non-exclusive distribution through their general online marketplace. I just recently received an e-mail from them stating that my film has been accepted for distribution. However, I just realized that I am not sure at all whether or not the film festivals I applied to will still accept me if I have already been granted distribution, especially if it’s already distributed online. Should I just inform IndieFlix to hold out on placing it online until all the film festivals have gotten back to me, which can take all the way up to summer? Or should I just try to contact each film festival one by one until they respond back, which might take equally as long? I’m not sure if there is any standard distribution law which might apply in this case. Can anyone shed some light on whether or not distributing a short film before having it screened at film festivals will be a problem?
Typically a festival will state in their submission guidelines/rules whether or not it is acceptable to show the film if it has distribution. Many festivals often show movies that are already distributed and film festival showings are not distribution, so should not affect exclusive agreements (unless the exclusive agreements come with a contract or similar stating otherwise). Let the festivals get back to you first before you tell them about online distribution, if at all.
What DiB said, if you go through WithoutABox, it can point you in the direction of fests that don’t mind films being “out there,” because many do.