If you can’t include sample footage from your current project in your Cinereach submission, don’t stress!
Although the Cinereach submission portal offers applicants the opportunity to upload a teaser, footage, or a cut of the project for which they are seeking support, we understand that applicants early in their development may not have those materials yet. In these instances, we find it very helpful when applicants provide other reference points to illustrate their ideas and their ability to execute them. Here are some tips for doing so in a way that can enhance your submission.
Referencing Other Films
It can be helpful to refer to other films when describing the tone, style or theme of your project, as long as you do so with intention and care.
While it might be tempting to pitch a project as the next Get Out, or another recent film that is widely recognized as successful and distinct, doing so can evoke very specific ideas of genre, scope, casting and more. It can come across as reaching if there is not a thoughtful rationale behind such a comparison. For example, if Get Out is the reference you want to use, you could explain how your creative use of genre will provide a unique way to tackle a topic or theme. And if you’re going to talk about how your film will be similar to an existing work, it may also be a good idea to describe the ways in which your project differs, adding something new to the conversation.
If you can reference titles and filmmakers that are less in the recent spotlight, but that provide more specific relevance to, or inspiration for, your film, they might be better tools for expressing what you’re trying to do. We aren’t looking at your reference films as a test of your film theory knowledge. Rather, we encourage applicants to express their vision for the film in whatever manner illustrates it best, whether it’s a film, a book, a work of art, or a lived experience.
A well-produced lookbook can be an effective way to tie together the language, information and visual world of your project, and place any references you want to use into the context of the overall project. It can help give reviewers a clearer sense of the vision for the project, and act as a guidebook for reading the script. A strong lookbook can also help ensure the applicant and the reviewer are speaking the same visual language.
If you have previous work to share it can be incredibly helpful to include these materials with your submission to give reviewers a fuller picture of your voice as a filmmaker. Even if the current project differs from previous work (tonally, thematically, etc.) a previous work can acquaint us with your unique perspective as an artist, and demonstrate how you translate an idea into a completed work. It’s also a good idea to provide context for the previous work. How does it echo or diverge from what you will do with this latest project?
The common thread here is that when seeking support from Cinereach (all funders have different priorities of course!) we appreciate you sharing any references you can that show us the specifics, not just the broad strokes, of what you plan to do. We want to know what’s driving your ideas and creative approach, and how you will put the tools of filmmaking into practice, so we can get as fired up as you are about the potential of the new work you want to bring the world.
Find all Meredith’s advice for applicants here.