I decided not to premiere “Hypothetically” online because I feared no film festivals would accept it. It is common knowledge that posting a film online, whether a short or a feature, makes it ineligible for film festivals. Well, that common knowledge is wrong (at least for short films). Months ago, I was turned on to Short of the Week from The170.com, (a great site on film, by the way). Short of the Week compiled a list of Oscar qualifying film festivals that accept online short films. Big players like Sundance, SXSW, and Clermont-Ferrand will accept a short film that is available online. I can have the best of both worlds – online availability AND film festival laurels.
As with everything, there are some caveats. Shorts that premiere online are ineligible for Oscar consideration. The SAG/AFTRA Short Film Agreement allows you to defer payment to cast UNLESS the film is distributed, which includes going online. This budget consideration may affect many self-financed short films. Not all festivals want a short film that has done well online. But then again, if your short did well online, you may not need to submit it to a festival. Now I will think twice next time about putting my short online. At least it would make my cast and crew happy to see and share it.