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Drea watches more than 350 films every single year and plays an active role in whether they’re successful or not. She’s well aware of the uphill climb many filmmakers face to get accepted — she said Sundance receives around 14,000 submissions every year and only 100 actually get a premiere. So, in an effort to make that climb a little more friendly, we decided to chat with Drea to put together a rough guide for getting into film festivals.

It’s hard to rank films for so many reasons. First and foremost, the true value of a film lies solely with the viewer — what did you take away from it? The only metric that truly counts in our book is how a film affects someone. That’s the mindset we had going into the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. There were hundreds of great films by great filmmakers debuting and we only had the chance to see a small percentage of them. So, instead of going for “best” or “worst”, we’re going for impact. This article is an effort to shed some light on notable films that struck us at the festival — not an end-all, be-all film review.

There’s maybe no one more qualified to be leading the charge for independent filmmakers these days than Jim Cummings. Since we talked to him a year ago, he’s gone on to make his first feature, Thunder Road, and win the Grand Jury Prize at South By Southwest. The film is currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s already generated $500,000 in ticket sales in France alone. Maybe most notably, though, he and his crew made it on their own — no major studio, no executives, no distributors. It’s an independent film in the truest sense of the word. Let’s just say, he’s fired up about that: