DOVER — More than 460 projects were received by the Independent Television and Film Festival team that is making selections on what will be shown in October, shattering all previous records for submissions.
"It's a really big deal for us," said Phil Gilpin Jr., executive director of ITVFest.
Last year, the record was set at 298 submissions. The achievement also factors in the seven years when the festival was held in Los Angeles. This year marks the 11th annual festival, which moved to Dover in 2013.
Submissions have come in from approximately 23 different countries — including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay — and 35 states within America. More projects trickled in after a press release put the number at 466, according to Gilpin.
"It's been great. I guess it shows the marketing of the festival is working. Word's getting out there and people want to come to Dover for the purpose of the festival," Gilpin said. "The quality we're seeing is really amazing. It's definitely going to be a tighter competition."
The inclusion of Network Notes at last year's festival allowed rejected applicants to meet with judges and receive feedback on their projects. Gilpin said a lot of participants in that program have now resubmitted their shows.
Small events held in New York, L.A. and Boston since December are considered by Gilpin to be "constant groundwork in cities." He said the work is starting to show and submissions are always the first indicator of growth.
ITVFest is scheduled for Oct. 5 to 9.
Between 40 and 50 projects will be announced as selections in the first week of August. That is about half as many as last year's screenings.
The idea is to invite more speakers and host more workshops. New writing software and camera equipment will be available for testing. Virtual reality gaming is another addition to the festival.
"We just had so many people who want to come and participate in the festival that have really cool technology," said Gilpin. "We had to turn the screening tent behind Dover Forge into a tech lounge."
A three-step process will see a team watch the submissions and pick out the top 100 projects or so. Those will be passed along to the judging panel made up of industry producers who then return the projects to the team with notes. Soon after, the screening schedule is created.
Variety in genres is important.
"I have to make sure there's a good mix," said Gilpin. "We have a lot of really good studio executives and network people coming, I mean top level people that are looking for different things."
Panelists will be confirmed over the next two weeks, he said, and the festival has a found a new sponsor in the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.