Today we are in conversation with Zachary Jones, the Founder of FilmFreeway.com, the new alternative submission center for Film Festivals and Filmmakers/Screenwriters. A startup from Canada that launched in February 2014 that is already becoming stiff competition to the dominance of withoutabox for over 15 years.
Matthew Toffolo – First off, congrats on announcing 1250 Film Festivals in your database as of this interview. That’s amazing in such a short time. What has been the key to your success so far?
Zachary – Thank you so much! The secret is really quite simple. We set out to re-invent festival submissions with modern technology and a fair business model. FilmFreeway offers a simple, user-friendly service that is always 100% free to filmmakers and writers. We back that up with friendly, reliable customer service from real people who care and are happy to assist our customers anytime.
MT – What motivated you to begin this start up?
Zachary – Festival submissions have been dominated for far too long by a company with grossly outdated technology, a miserable user experience, excessive fees and an overall predatory business model. It was about time somebody changed that.
MT – There have been many other startups attempting to compete with the competition, but almost all have failed. Why do you think your company has succeeded so far over the rest?
Zachary – We created FilmFreeway to be incredible simple and easy to use for both filmmakers and festivals. We added to that by offering the service 100% free to filmmakers. Our mandate when building FilmFreeway was to make it fair and simple. That seems to be the magic formula that has resonated with over 85,000 filmmakers and counting so far!
MT – Bottom-line, why is your site better than the competition?
Zachary – FilmFreeway is lightyears ahead of Withoutabox when it comes to the user experience we offer. Our online screeners play in beautiful, crystal-clear HD. We also integrate with Vimeo and YouTube. The days of paying $3 each time to submit a pixelated, standard definition online screener are over. With FilmFreeway, filmmakers can have their project added and ready to submit in under 5 minutes. Also, our search engine for discovering amazing festivals is powerful and fast. It’s a night and day experience when compared to Withoutabox. Here what filmmakers are saying on Twitter: https://filmfreeway.com/pages/love
MT – The main issue with film festivals is that you were forced to use the main submission source in order to succeed because that’s where all the filmmakers were submitting their films. But, because the company took so much commission from the festivals, it was impossible for most of them to not to lose money and therefore many festivals have been forced to shut down. Or, they were forced to raise their submission fees to stay in the black, which takes more money from the filmmakers themselves, which in the end forces them to submit to less festivals than they want and therefore gives them less opportunity to get their film out there. It has been a vicious cycle. How are you going to be different while still being profitable for your own company and site?
Zachary – You’re exactly right! We’ve already heard from many festivals that have told us that thanks to FilmFreeway they can once again afford to operate their festivals and stay in business. We are actually helping the industry thrive, rather than suck the blood out of it like Withoutabox. We offer optional paid marketing services for festivals which helps to pay our overhead and make sure that FilmFreeway will always remain 100% free for filmmakers and writers.
MT – What was the first film festival to sign up to your website?
Zachary – The wonderful Food & Farm Film Festival was the very first to sign up: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/foodfarmfilmfestival
MT – What is FilmFreeway’s ultimate goal?
Zachary – To simply provide the best film festival submissions experience in the world for filmmakers and festivals alike. You can expect to see continued improvement and added features as we grow and develop as well. We’re always listening to the feedback of the community to make FilmFreeway even better. Thank you again for all of your support!