Getting into Film Festivals
We are thrilled to have these incredible, talented & extremely knowledgeable woman join us for the first episode of The SohoLIFF Spotlights. Here they are sharing their wealth of experience and inside knowledge about getting films into Film Festivals, how, why & which ones and how you go onto get distribution.
Thank you so much Rebekah Louisa Smith, Jenna Suru & Tracey Adlai.
[Recorded 23rd April 2021]
Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith
Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith (aka The Film Festival Doctor) was born in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. From humble beginnings working as a Personal Assistant at lots of corporate companies, she worked her way up to become an award-winning consultant and media personality who now has more than 10 years of film festival strategy consulting experience.
After choosing not to pursue a career in Academia teaching film studies, Rebekah began her film industry career in 2009, working as one of the producers of Wales’ most successful national horror film festival; the Abertoir Horror Festival, and during that time began to develop a great knowledge of the film festival business. Which led her to become inspired to start her own innovative company in an industry she loved.
Rebekah and the hard-working team behind her company The Film Festival Doctor are creators of success and are committed to nurturing filmmakers in order to help them secure film festival screenings, win awards, and a positive recognition within the film industry. Currently, her company has won more than 900 awards for their clients and one Oscar nomination. Her team has supported nearly 850 creatives across the world, enlightening and inspiring their journey towards achieving their goals and following their filmmaking dreams.
One of the factors which has led to her success is the blending of both practical business skills and spiritual techniques that infused new life into her company’s growth. She decided to record her hard-won knowledge in her new book Born to Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques to help others who are pondering the leap into entrepreneurship or are already on the journey, but yearning for more success and profitability.
Jenna Suru, Festival Director, Producer, Director, Writer, Actor
Jenna Suru started her career at the International Sales Team of 2 top Distributors in Paris, Gaumont and SND (M6 Group). Jenna has been working for Canneseries (Cannes Series Festival) since the kickstart of its first edition in 2018, managing the relationships with French and International Authors and Producers, and kickstarting the In Development Forum co-organized with MIP Markets in the Palais des Festivals. She has been serving as a very humble Juror on the recent editions of Cinequest and Columbus IFF.
She is the Director of the Paris International Film Festival, which presented in February the International Premiere of Kiss The Ground, the environemental documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson, and Cream, Nóra Lakos’s romantic modern tale, which was recently acquired by HBO.
She produced and stars in her directorial debut period drama L’Âge d’Or (The Golden Age), London IFF 2020 Opening Night Winner, with an international cast. The Golden Age is her tribute to the world-changing charms of 60s Saint-Tropez, and the last drama every filmed at Notre-Dame Cathedral before the fires. The Golden Age features a 60s soundtrack, including songs from Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed, and screened for the first time at Cannes in 2019. The film has received multiple awards and honors including at the Columbus IFF in the USA and sold-out the Opening Night of London IFF last March.
With her company Belle Époque Films, she has also produced the sold-out Los Angeles Premiere of Happy, published by Samuel French, and two UK shorts. The first, Spitball, was funded by the Northern Ireland Screen, and the second, Bigger Picture, stars BAFTA‐nominated Robert Sheehan (Misfits, The Umbrella Academy) and Rosie Day (Outlander).
Tracey L. Adlai
Tracey L. Adlai is a native Angeleno and the Founder of The Valley Film Festival (VFF), the first and longest-running film festival in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, supporting both local and international voices that advance storytelling. She holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has served as Chair of Tisch West Alumni Council, Board of Governors for the Valley Economic Alliance, and is a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Citywide Film Task Force. As an advocate for creatives worldwide, Tracey volunteers her time working with marginalized creative professionals.
is a native Angeleno and the Founder of The Valley Film Festival (VFF), the first and longest-running film festival in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, supporting both local and international voices that advance storytelling. She holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has served as Chair of Tisch West Alumni Council, Board of Governors for the Valley Economic Alliance, and is a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Citywide Film Task Force.
As an advocate for creatives worldwide, Tracey volunteers her time working with marginalized creative professionals.