Wandering Reel is a traveling short film festival with a focus on bringing meaningful films to communities with limited or no access to compassionate, thought-provoking cinema. We strive to engage our audiences in deeper conversation about the role of cinema, and how films can relate to community, conscious living, and contribute to making the world a stronger and more unified place.

Our Jury
Sid Ganis (Producer of such films as 'Big Daddy' and 'Akeelah and the Bee' and former President of the Academy Awards and Paramount Pictures), Maria Fredrikkson (Documentary Filmmaker of 'Afternoon Tea' and 'Coffee Time'), Reinaldo Marcus Green (Sundance Winning Director of 'Monsters and Men' and 'Stop'), Rana Kazkaz & Anas Khalaf (writers/directors of Award Winning short film, 'Mare Nostrum'), Kate Purdy (Television writer of 'BoJack Horseman' & 'Cougar Town'), Magnus Torén (Director of the Henry Miller Memorial Library and Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series), Rosa Tran (Award winning producer of films such as the 2016 Oscar nominated stop motion feature film, 'Anomalisa'), and Brandon Vedder (Documentary filmmaker of 'La Source' and 'Pursuit of Silence').

Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Tours
Our touring schedule begins in October of each year and continues through the spring of the following year, criss-crossing the United States and sometimes popping up in venues all over the world. Our first three seasons saw our films screen dozens of venues from southern California to British Columbia, and Colorado to Vermont. This fall and next spring we'll return to many of these locations and do our best to expand our reach to different parts of the United States and even around the world.

Artists have long been at the forefront of social innovation. Wandering Reel believes in the power of film art to effect positive change, to bring people together through shared cultural experiences and to inspire conversation and collaboration between individuals and communities through the common experience of cinema. By exposing underserved communities with films that are artful in their meaning and compassionate and conscious in their approach, the boundaries that divide people can be slowly stripped away, cultures can be enriched and peace grown across the globe.

We serve anyone with a hunger for inventive, resonant cinema. We curate our films to communities that want to participate in a deeper dialogue about the power of film to effect positive change. In addition to theaters, we screen at schools, community centers, libraries, churches, museums, galleries, retirement homes, prisons, cafes, breweries, and anywhere an audience can comfortably gather to watch and discuss movies.

Filmmaker FAQ’s

Why Wandering Reel?
Your film will be seen more than once in more than one venue. We travel with our film slate from city to city sharing short films with communities that may not even have a movie theater, let alone a film festival. We believe your work should get the best chance of being viewed by the most people and we will do our part to make sure that happens. Our films show an average of five times each per fall tour, often more.

Will you watch my film?
Most definitely! As filmmakers we understand that some festivals have been caught not viewing films and just taking submission fees, that’s not us. All of our submissions are watched by at least two members of our selection team. We have had films that are not accepted be accepted in a future year. So just because your film doesn’t match our slate this year, doesn’t mean it wont next year.

How much are submission fees?
We strive to keep our submission fees, not only competitive, but very low. Early bird is $10 and late registration is $40. Students always receive a 50% discount.

What do you mean by traveling?
Our founder, Michael Harrington, hits the open road with our films and screens them in multiple cities, towns, and rural communities all over the Pacific Coast of the United States and Canada. We’ve also taken our films to Colorado and Vermont with new parts of the country being added each year. Think of it like an old road show for cinema in the early days.

Will you come to my city?
The cities rotate each year as we continue to add cities to our roster. If your city is interested in being part of our rotation then please contact us at info@wanderingreel.org. We will get back to you asap to see how we can share cinema in your part of the world.

How many times will you screen my film?
Your film will be screened at least three times, often five or more times throughout the tour. We also look for opportunities outside the festival for films to screen. We have had taken some of our films to other screening venues, we like to share our Alumni’s work.

Who’s watching our films?
We have a panel of screeners that do our initial viewing, this includes people like Michael and Matthew (our founders) as well as Jerry (head of filmmaker relations). Our selection team is comprised of filmmakers, photographers, artists and above all, movie lovers. After that our Jury takes over for awards selections. Our current jury includes the producers of films like “Big Daddy”, “Akeelah and the Bee”, “Anomolisa”, and the director of the Sundance hit, “Monster’s and Men”. See our current jury list here:

I’m sold, how do I submit?
Yay!!! Right here on FilmFreeway!

Wandering Reel proudly works with InkTip: Where producers go for scripts and writers. Producers have made more than 375 films from scripts and writers they found through InkTip. Award winners receive an InkTip prize package to promote themselves and their scripts to InkTip’s entire network of producers, managers, and agents. Each winner will receive an InkTip Script Listing and have their logline featured in InkTip Magazine. InkTip Magazine is sent to over 15,000 producers and representatives. Companies who are InkTip members include: ABC, Anonymous Content, APA, CBS Films, HBO Films, ICM, Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Hallmark Channel, FX, Universal, WME, Echo Lake, Zero Gravity, Bad Robot, 20th Century Fox, and many more.

Additional questions should be directed to info@wanderingreel.org.

Art is difficult. Filmmaking is difficult and expensive. Wandering Reel believes that great art should be affirmed and that conscious independent filmmakers should be rewarded for their work and encouraged to continue making meaningful cinema. At the end of each season, our "Pangaea Award" is presented to the film our world renowned Jury feel speaks best to the theme of bringing the world together through the power of cinema. We also recognize films in a number of other categories including "Curator's Choice," "Social Impact," "Timeless," and "Audience Impact" awards. Winners will receive special recognition on our website and at our end of season Awards Gala Screening.

Award winners also receive an InkTip prize package to promote themselves and their scripts to InkTip’s entire network of producers, managers, and agents. Each winner will receive an InkTip Script Listing and have their logline featured in InkTip Magazine. InkTip Magazine is sent to over 15,000 producers and representatives.

We are also working to raise cash prizes and grants to be awarded as further encouragement for meaningful, conscious filmmaking.

We require only that films, in some way big or small, address the greater mission and themes of the festival. Remember, we are looking for evocative and artful films that really demonstrates the power of cinema to not only bring about change, but to tell stories and engage an audience on an emotional or cerebral level. And we're not just looking for issue-based documentaries, but any kind of artful storytelling that makes people think, informs and broadens perspectives.

Here are some more helpful guidelines:

· We prefer short films of no more than 40 minutes long.

· Narrative, documentary, animation and art films will all be considered. We love films that cross styles and push the boundaries of cinema in new directions.

· We love comedies as much as dramas and any other genre. We love genre films with a deeper message or human story.

· If your film is experimental, we hope it has a narrative pulse.

· Diverse and international films are highly encouraged.

· First time and veteran filmmakers alike are welcomed. Likewise, films made this year are as welcome as those made last decade.

· Films made on a budget that have heart and integrity are highly encouraged.

· Films not in the English language are encouraged to provide subtitles.

· Student films are more than welcomed.

If selected, we ask filmmakers to provide an artistic statement and answer a Q&A with our curator who will introduce and facilitate discussions after each screening. Links to articles, interviews and other material is also very helpful. We believe that having someone well educated in how and why each film was made lead a Q&A discussion will help deepen our audiences' understanding and connection to the films. We encourage filmmakers to attend as many screenings as possible. When possible, we will Skype in filmmakers for Q&A sessions with our audience.

When submitting to Wandering Reel please understand that you are granting the festival permission to screen your film on a variety of dates throughout our year long touring season (most screenings occur between September and April). While we are working toward offering royalties and other financial incentives for our filmmakers, we currently are not able to provide monetary compensation for the films we curate.

Thank You For Your Inspiring Work!

Overall Rating
  • Two Balloons

    An amazing festival doing great things for people and film.

    December 2019