This Startup Is Connecting Nigerian Filmmakers To International Film Festivals

For many Nigerian creatives, international exposure is the best chance they have at monetizing their craft. So, for many artist(e)s, getting their work onto international stages means a lot, but the process isn't easy.

That’s the problem Nigerian tech startup, Festivilia, is trying to tackle. Festivilia is a film festival distribution platform that helps Nigerian filmmakers automatically submit their movies and shorts to over 500 curated film festivals.

'93 Days' debuted at the 41st Toronto Internation Film Festival (Photo: Native Film Works)

The promise on Festivilia’s website is straightforward:

"Submit once and get into over 500 film festivals - Only fill one festival submission form and get your film comprehensively reviewed and automatically submitted to over 500 curated film festivals."

The startup aims to save filmmakers the stress and effort of blindly submitting their work to film festivals by matching films to relevant festivals, and submitting automatically — increasing their chances of selection, and saving them time and money. Festivilia was in closed beta for one year and just recently launched full operations.

Founded by filmmaker, Tobi Ogunwande, the startup says it has about 565 film festivals onboard, and has so far helped over 300 films get accepted into festivals — with a 70% acceptance rate at their listed film festivals. The startup also serves as a sales agent for filmmakers, liaising with content acquirers and helping filmmakers get distribution deals – they have distributed 76 award-winning films.

Photo: Festivilia)

Tobi’s motivation for starting the company was personal. As a filmmaker himself, he had spent a lot of time submitting films to festivals, and then following up:

"It can be a very time wasting and boring activity. So, I thought, why can’t we just have a universal platform where you only have to fill one submission form and your film automatically gets submitted.

All you have to do is sit down, relax and receive festival acceptance notifications from time to time, as well as monthly updates on the progress of your film."

The team spent a lot of time before launch curating the right film festivals and working out the submission. Time well spent, because Festivilia now serves filmmakers from all over the world, even though it is headquartered in Nigeria.

Festivilia currently operates a freemium model – there is a free plan, but also paid plans for people who want to take full advantage of the platform’s offerings. It also takes a percentage cut from the distribution deals it makes on behalf of filmmakers.

(Photo: Festivilia)

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