Jen Swanson

Jen Swanson is a freelance writer living in New York City.


Howdy from Houston...

Dear Jen ...

a very fine and thoughtful story on WAB ... I do so wish you had called us! WorldFest does not use WAB. We are fiercely Independent and we find the fees charged and the "big brother" aspect of WAB very disturbing.

They not only want to handle all your entries and charge a very significant fee, but they want to run your jury and sell your tickets, all for a fee... and more...

Last year the 41st Annual WorldFest received more than 4,200 category entries from 37 nations. Our email list (that takes constant work) is more than 50,000 filmmakers world-wide. We do not really need WAB, and we are not sure whey we should pay them a fee of around $7,500 for say - 500 entries... also - it is a matter of procedure.

They send you an entry form via email, then the DVD entry comes in via US Mail, and someone has to carefully sort out the entries and match them up with the e-forms... we do not have to do that. Also they seem to want to send them to you via the internet... not acceptable as we screen on big 72" Digital flat screens for our jury and we use BluRay and DVD for highest viewing quality... Our juries do not want to try to judge someones work on a little computer monitor. We feel that this would be an insult to the filmmaker.

There are now organizations in Canada and Europe that are doing the same as WAB, but doing a better job... We work with several of them. We offer a $5 discount per entry for their entries and that seems to help a lot.

Also there is this matter of WAB being owned by a media major... not too Indie if you ask us. Now I am sure these people are fine and hard working folks... but this is not for WorldFest... we don't need their help and some of our fellow festival directors report getting volumes of really bad entries via WAB ... and to our annoyance, they do list many festivals, like WorldFest, that do not use their system and they post a notice on the listing - NOT ACCEPTING ENTRIES AT THIS TIME -- not mentioning that we are simply not accepting entries via WAB ... but accepting entries directly from the filmmakers... they also do charge filmmakers for upgraded Gold or Platinum services, so it can be a cost to the filmmakers... We have asked them to remove our listing or the comment, to no avail.

Our entire entry process takes only about five minutes... we have had our interns run a test... so it is pretty simple to enter WorldFest... and we are very happy staying Fiercely Independent, after all, this is Texas! And with a 50,000 emailing list... our outreach is pretty strong!

My thanks and warmest regards,
Hunter Todd
713 965 9955
The 42nd Annual WorldFest-Houston
April 16-25, 2009.