The Best Film Festivals in New York City | Top 10 Film Festivals NYC

Posted by Grant Patten on Feb 9, 2021 7:50:29 AM

The Best Film Festivals in New York City | Top 10 Film Festivals NYC

Best film festivals in New York City

Let’s provide an overview of some of the best film festivals in New York City. Of course, there are other good film festivals in the area and this list isn’t comprehensive; however, the below festivals are certainly among the most notable in NYC.

We’ll discuss (in no particular order):

  1. New York City Independent Film Festival
  2. Tribeca Film Festival
  3. Manhattan Film Festival
  4. Brooklyn Film Festival
  5. DOC NYC
  6. Queens World Film Festival
  7. Asian American International Film Festival
  8. African Film Festival
  9. New York International Children's Film Festival
  10. Havana Film Festival in New York


New York City Independent Film Festival


Founded in 2009, the New York City Independent Film Festival (NYCIndieFF) has screened over 1,800 movies from 81 different countries since it began. The festival aims to discover the auteur filmmaker, showcasing them to the entertainment industry and the NYC public.

NYCIndieFF confers a variety of awards, including Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary and Best Short Narrative. This festival also awards distribution deals for short films to be broadcast on ShortsTV. 

Tribeca Film Festival

Film festival: TribecaSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1896276328, Shutterstock


Arguably, New York’s most famous film festival is Tribeca, co-founded by actor Robert De Niro. He co-founded the festival in 2002 to spur economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Each year, the festival hosts over 600 screenings. Awards conferred at Tribeca include Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Best New Narrative Filmmaker, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short and the Nora Ephron Prize. 

Manhattan Film Festival


The Manhattan Film Festival (MFF) is an annual film festival that was founded in 2006 by filmmakers. The goal of the festival is to help independent filmmakers find an audience for their work and connect with likeminded individuals in the indie film community.

Awards conferred at MFF include the Buzz Award, the Film Heals Award and the New York Spotlight Award. In 2012, MFF was named one of “25 Film Festivals worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine.

Brooklyn Film Festival


The Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) is an independent film festival established in 1998. The festival’s mission is to “discover, expose and promote independent filmmakers while drawing worldwide attention to Brooklyn as a center for cinema.”

Roughly, half of films submitted and shown at BFF are by US filmmakers, with the rest coming from Europe and other parts of the globe. The most prestigious award given out at BFF is the Grand Chameleon for best film. Other awards include the Spirit Award, the Audience Award and Certificates of Outstanding Achievement.

BFF also oversees the annual KidsFilmFest for children and families. 



Date: The 2021 DOC NYC will be held from Nov 10 – 18.

DOC NYC is an annual documentary film festival in New York City. This festival is the country's largest documentary film festival with over 300 films screened each year. DOC NYC is also an Academy-qualifying festival for short films. 

Awards conferred at this festival include the Audience Award, the Grand Jury Prize, the Shorts Grand Jury Prize, the Directing Award and the Producing Award. 

Queens World Film Festival

The Queens World Film FestivalSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 460940548, Shutterstock


The Queens World Film Festival is “dedicated to screening exciting and innovative films as a means to spark conversation and further understanding of the experiences of others.” The festival’s Youth Initiative, public screenings in alternative spaces, community building and multimedia events all support and develop filmmakers.

Awards conferred at the festival include Best First Feature, Best Animation, Best Experimental Short, Best LGBTQ Short and the Special Jury Prize for Best Student Film. 

Asian American International Film Festival


The Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) is an international film festival held annually in New York City to showcase the works of both emerging and experienced Asian and Asian American filmmakers and media artists across a diverse range of genres and styles.

Founded in 1978, this film festival is organized by Asian CineVision (ACV), a non-profit media arts organization. Awards conferred at AAIFF include the Special Jury Prize, the Emerging Director Award, the Excellence in Short Documentary Filmmaking Award and the Excellence in Short Narrative Filmmaking Award.

African Film Festival

Lincoln Center: NYAFFSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 60234184, Shutterstock 


The annual New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) is curated around a timely theme and presented in collaboration with the Lincoln Center (pictured).

Founded in 1990, this festival is dedicated to promoting greater understanding of African culture through film. Classic and contemporary films are screened here, including rarely seen archival works.

New York International Children's Film Festival


The New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) is an annual Oscar-qualifying film festival founded in 1997 “to support the creation and dissemination of thoughtful, provocative, and intelligent film for children and teens ages 3-18.”

The flagship NYC festival has grown from one weekend of films into the largest film festival for children and teens in North America. Audience members of all ages vote on the films.

Awards conferred at NYICFF include Best Animation, Best Live Action Short Narrative and Best Live Action Short Documentary. 

Havana Film Festival in New York


The Havana Film Festival in New York (HFFNY) is an international film festival known as the Cuban and Latin American cinema celebration. The films screened at this festival demonstrate the richness of Cuban culture and its global effects, including NY, US and world premieres of contemporary Cuban cinema.

Awards conferred at HFFNY include Best Director, Best Film, Best Screenplay and Special Jury Mentions. 

Get Film Insurance NYC | NY Short Film Project Insurance | Short-Term Film Production Insurance New York | Film Equipment Insurance

If you’re researching film festivals in NYC, chances are that you’re a filmmaker yourself or involved in the film industry. 

Front Row provides production and producer’s E&O insurance for: features, episodic television, docs, shorts and more. The next time you’re working on a film production, consider Front Row’s insurance policies:

Front Row’s Short Shoot insurance policy (US form) is a good option for insuring your short-term film projects. Coverage for up to 15 consecutive days of filming. If you’re in Canada, you can purchase this insurance online.

Front Row’s DigiGear insurance policy (US form) is a good option for insuring your filmmaking gear, including your film camera(s). If you’re in Canada, you can purchase this insurance online. 


About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that specializes in the entertainment industry – specifically, the film industry. Front Row works hard to provide insurance protection for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims. USA offices in: NY, Nashville, LA. 

Related posts:

Topics: Short Film Insurance, US Film insurance broker, DigiGear, Best of, Festivals

The Best Film Festivals in Greater Los Angeles | Best Film Fests in LA

Posted by Alyson Locacciato on Dec 3, 2020 6:46:05 AM

The Best Film Festivals in Greater Los Angeles | Best Film Fests in LA

Best Film Festivals in LA

Here is a look at some of the top film festivals in the Los Angeles area, and how they have dealt with the new world of social distancing in entertainment.

We'll discuss (in no particular order):

Film Independent Spirit Awards

Santa Monica beachSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1501210367 | Shutterstock


For the last 35 years, Film Independent have hosted their Spirit Awards at a beachside in Santa Monica. Each year, the festival “brings together top talent from throughout the world of independent film”. Film Independent members can nominate and vote in categories such as: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay and more.

The Spirit Awards ceremony features a number of unique honors, including: Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, the John Cassavetes Award (best feature under $500,000) and the Robert Altman Award (best ensemble cast).

Like many other festivals, Film Independent postponed their 2021 Spirit Awards by a few months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Front Row Insurance Brokers have collaborated with Film Independent to offer their members preferential pricing on Short-Term Production packages (US).

OUTFEST Los Angeles Virtual 2020


OUTFEST is a non-profit organization originally established in Los Angeles in 1982. OUTFEST considers itself “the only global LGBTQIA+ arts, media, and entertainment organizations whose programs empower artists, communities and filmmakers to transform the world through their stories, while also supporting the entire life-cycle of their career”.

OUTFEST holds an annual weeklong film festival, displaying films in iconic venues such as The Orpheum Theater, Laemmle Music Hall, or the MOCA Grand.

In 2020, OUTFEST hosted its first virtual film festival, “You’re no longer restricted by location or distance, because we’re bringing the festival to your living room, backyard, home office, literally anywhere you are in the United States. So, if you love diverse stories and finding representations of yourself on screen, this festival is for you”.

LA Shorts International Film Festival


The LA Shorts International Film Festival is the longest running short film festival in the greater Los Angeles area. This festival features up to 272 films each year from 31 different countries. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, all accredit the festival.

AFIFEST – A Virtual Film Festival Hollywood sign

Source: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 686279659 | Shutterstock


Located in the heart of Hollywood, the American Film Institute’s AFIFEST practiced COVID safety and social distancing in 2020 by airing film submissions differently.

Virtual screenings were offered as well as drive-in screenings in multiple locations, including the Pasadena Rose Bowl Stadium. “AFI champions progress in visual storytelling to empower storytellers, inspire story lovers and further the limitless power of the moving image”.

Screamfest presents HORROR FILM FESTIVAL


America’s largest- and longest-running only horror movie festival – Screamfest – awards the year’s top movies, filmmakers, actors, and screenplay in this genre. In 2020, Screamfest went above and beyond by creating a socially distanced drive-thru haunted house and film screening at various locations between October 6 and 15.

Not only was this event held for members, but also the public free of charge. Drive-in locations were scheduled throughout Los Angeles, including The Regency Theater Plant Drive-In in Van Nuys, and Calamigos Ranch.

The Newport Beach Film Festival

Balboa Pier in Newport BeachSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 256982518 | Shutterstock


2020’s festival ditched the red carpet for complete virtual programming on October 1st through the 11th.

Since 1999, this film festival has been a celebrity favorite due to it being located on the beautiful Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. This film festival features over 350 international, independent and student film screenings over 8 days. The festival has premiered such films as 500 Days of Summer, Crash, and The Illusionist.

NFMLA (New Filmmakers Los Angeles) Film Festival


Each month at South Park Center, NFMLA presents a red carpet screening of documentaries, shorts and feature films for that month’s subgenre, e.g., Indigenous Cinema, Female Romance, Latino Cinema, Music Videos, and New Media Projects. After each screening, a forum takes place where members can have an open audience discussion about the project.

NFMLA also educates its attendees by inviting industry professionals to discuss and gain insight on distribution, production, acquisition and development.

NFMLA is a non-profit “designed to showcase innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the LA community of entertainment professionals and filmgoers with a constant surge of monthly screening events”.

LA Women in FilmFest hosted by WIF (Women in Film)


The Los Angeles Women in Film Festival champions “female and female identifying filmmakers and storytellers”. This festival only accepts submissions from female directors, writers, majority female crew, and/or any female driven stories of any genre.

Note: Front Row Insurance Brokers has a program with WIFT-US that allows members to receive preferential pricing on Errors & Omissions coverage and production packages.

Get Film Insurance USA | US Short Film Project Insurance | Short-Term Film Production Insurance USA | Film Equipment Insurance

If you’re researching film festivals in LA, chances are that you’re a filmmaker yourself or involved in the film industry.

Front Row provides production and producer’s E&O insurance for: features, episodic television, docs, shorts and more. The next time you’re working on a film production, consider Front Row’s insurance policies:

About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that specializes in the entertainment industry – specifically, the film industry. Front Row works hard to provide insurance protection for the lowest possible cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with clients and insurers to expedite the payment of claims. USA offices in: NY, Nashville, LA.

Related posts:

Topics: Short Film Insurance, US Film insurance broker, DigiGear, Best of, COVID-19, Festivals

US Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

Posted by Alyson Locacciato on Aug 4, 2020 7:12:51 AM

US Filmmakers: Navigating Your Certificate of Insurance

If you’re a Canada-based filmmaker, read this blog post instead.

Congratulations, you successfully purchased your production insurance! Your broker has sent you a confirmation that your coverage is bound, a summary, invoice, and certificate of insurance. You review all of your paperwork and estimates from the rental house and permit office, but how do you know what coverage is what, or if you even purchased the correct coverage?

things that may go missed on a certificate that can ‘make or break’ you on the day of production:

  1. Make sure the production company’s name and address are correct. Rushed through the application? This is the time to triple check any spelling errors.
  2. If you are working (especially) on a Short-Term Production (US), double-check the effective dates. Make sure you include any additional pickup/drop-off dates that may be needed for props or rentals.
  3. Did a permit office request any special wording? This is the time to make sure you have the exact wording on your certificate as the insurance requirements noted.

Below is a sample certificate. We will review each section so you can properly understand what you are looking at.

US Certificate of Insurance

Ok, so from the top!

The highlighted section on the left is where your company information is located.

The highlighted section on the right is your insurance company. You will notice it shows insurer “A” and insurer “B”. This will correspond to the boxes on the far left side to show which company is which.

The non-highlighted section below is your insurance broker’s information.

US Certificate of Insurance

This next part is VERY important, especially when it comes to Film LA. See the box that says “ADDL INSR”? That stands for Additional Insured, and the “Y” stands for yes. Next to that column, there is wording “SUBR WVD” this stands for Waiver of Subrogation.

This is a waiver that you must request in advance and most likely will cost additional premium. Without a “Y” under “ADDL INSR” and “SUBR WVD”- your insurance coverage will not be sufficient for Film LA.

The next part of the “grid” will delegate the policy number and the start and end dates of coverage. If you need additional days for a short shoot, reach out to your broker immediately. If you request additional coverage dates after the expiration of coverage, you will be responsible for purchasing a new policy.

The bottom right highlighted section is what your rental/prop house will review. Keep in mind, this amount is not the value to rent the equipment. The amount is to replace the item in the case of a total loss.

The section ‘ded’ that is highlighted stands for your retention or deductible. The deductible or retention is the amount you will have to pay the insurance company in a case of a loss that exceeds the deductible.

Example: You rent a camera that has a replacement value of $50,000. The camera gets lost in transit. This means that for the insurance company to replace the camera, you will have to pay the deductible amount.

Example: You rent a grip accessory and the replacement value is $150. The grip accessory is damaged during the shoot. Since the accessories replacement value is less than the deductible, the insurance company will not cover the loss.

US Certificate of Insurance

Note: Remember insurer “A” and insurer “B”? You can now see them on the far right column.

This row on your certificate is where any special wording would be located. If you need a rental house to be named additional insured, this is where the wording would be located.

US Certificate of Insurance

Note: Whenever there is a need for special wording on your certificate, please notify your broker. This is something only your broker can process.

Last section! So, the certificate holder will be the entity that requested to be named additional insured, loss payee, or certificate holder. If a rental house has requested to be named additional insured, this is where you would find their name and address.

US Certificate of Insurance


About: Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker that provides film insurance for a very low cost. Should a claim occur, Front Row works diligently with insurers and clients to expedite the payment of claims.


Canadian Filmmakers: Certificate of Insurance

Getting a film permit in Los Angeles / Film LA

DISCLAIMER: Informational statements regarding insurance coverage are for general description purposes only. These statements do not amend, modify or supplement any insurance policy. Consult the actual policy or your broker for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions, products, services and programs which may be available to you. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to the final determination of underwriting qualifications and acceptance by the insurance underwriting company providing such products or services. This website does not make any representations that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss, or type of claim or loss, under any policy. Whether coverage exists or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any policy depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss and all applicable policy wording.

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Production, Film Producers, DICE Insurance, Film Production Companies, US Film insurance broker, Certificates

How to obtain Los Angeles film permits / LA film permits

Posted by Alyson Locacciato on Jun 15, 2020 6:54:55 AM


HOW TO OBTAIN LOS ANGELES FILM PERMITS / LA FILM PERMITSSource: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 604497425, Shutterstock

How to obtain Los Angeles film permits / LA film permits: The Do’s and Don’ts of Film LA

If you have ever been a part of a production that was shot in the Greater Los Angeles area, you have more than likely worked with Film LA. Film LA is the permit authority for all productions taking place in and around Los Angeles County.

Obtaining a permit in Los Angeles is different from most other parts of the US. They not only have specific insurance requirements, but they also have an online insurance verification system known as KwikComply. If you need to obtain a permit, you must have your insurance agent submit on your behalf.

When you are new to working with Film LA, it can seem overwhelming and frustrating at times. There are many steps that are unique to the Greater Los Angeles area.

We have collaborated with Film LA to show you the “Do’s and Don’ts” of obtaining a film permit in Los Angeles.

Map of all the areas Film LA serves / Los Angeles filming locations:

Map of all the areas Film LA servesSource: Film LA (Above image can change frequently as Film LA updates their areas served when they begin working with new clients. Potential customers should still check with Film LA to eliminate any confusion and ensure accuracy.)


Film LA’s insurance requirements are constantly changing due to regulatory decisions from the State of CA. When speaking with one of their reps, they recommended double-checking their website to make sure you are aware of any new changes.

An example of a new insurance requirement in effect July 1st, 2020 is that Workers Compensation is required on all productions. This is due to the CA AB5 (California Assembly Bill 5) that was passed in the beginning on 2020.

This is a state statute that requires employers to treat independent contractors as regular employees unless they pass a three-part test. This means offering medical and workers compensation coverage.

Example of who would/wouldn’t need to be supplied workers compensation coverage under CA AB5:

Nike can hire a videographer as a 1099 (contractor) to work on a commercial or event since video production is not related to making shoes, but if your business is filmmaking, anyone who works with you in production is an employee, such as a camera op or production assistant. The businesses must be fundamentally unrelated.


Film LA has a great resource page for productions of all size. They have information on the California Film Commission, where you can apply for a CA Film Tax Incentive, local contacts, and software made specifically for filmmakers, such as MYLA311, which is an app with a useful directory of LA city services and phone numbers


As much as you may like your agent who bundles your home & auto insurance, production insurance is a specialized niche of insurance. Make sure to do your research before binding coverage. Review their website – see if they specialize in entertainment; if not, they may not know how Film LA requires insurance verifications.

See Front Row’s US homepage for the US film insurance products we currently offer.


According to Film LA, “The base fee is $699 USD and from there it will increase. Most commonly, a typical, single location permit in the City of LA will run about $957 USD at the minimum. Because of the uniqueness of each production and the permit they pull, we cannot provide a hard range of fees. I have seen permits in the tens of thousands of dollars and I have seen permits for as little as $784 USD.” (pricing subject to change)

To receive an exact permit quote, please email


A Waiver of Subrogation is a requirement of Film LA. It is a contractual provision whereby an insured waives the right of their insurance carrier to seek redress or seek compensation for losses from a negligent third party.

Be sure to let your agent know that this waiver is needed before coverage is bound.

Adding this waiver to your policy will add additional premium and may take more time for the insurance company to endorse. Note: Receiving this endorsement from the insurer can take anywhere from 24-48 hours.


This process of obtaining the correct insurance coverage, your agent submitting your coverage through KwikComply, getting approval from the City of Los Angeles and Film LA… this all takes time. Having your agent properly quote, bind and submit proof of coverage will take a minimum of 24 hours.

So, keep in mind: if you have a shoot on Saturday, you may not be able to secure coverage if you call your agent on Friday afternoon.


Certain areas of Los Angeles County, including school districts, beaches, parks, or cities may require specialized verbiage, limits, etc. If unsure, visit Film LA’s website or speak with your permit coordinator.




Topics: US Film insurance broker

US Filmmakers: Entertainment Insurance 101 (for Budgets under $100K)

Posted by David Hamilton on May 15, 2020 10:51:00 AM

US Filmmakers: Entertainment Insurance 101 (for Budgets < $100K)

FILM PRODUCTION INSURANCE 101 FOR US FILMMAKERS | USA FILM INSURANCESource: Shutterstock Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 735595339

So you wrote a killer script, put together a budget, found your talent, and you’re ready to shoot your first project. You set the dates, bright-eyed, excited, and you go to rent some production equipment, and maybe a couple of props or costumes.

You get the quote from the prop house, and it requires insurance. You call your personal auto insurance agent, and they don’t know how to help.

You scour blogs, resource pages, and ask your friends whom they talked to for their production insurance. Once you talk to a broker, it’s like they’re speaking a different language. You feel confused, frustrated – “I just want to rent some cameras and shoot!”


At Front Row, we understand how confusing production insurance can be because many of us were filmmakers (in prior lives) and have been there ourselves!

Every film production insurance policy needs to be tailored to the company, or to the project if a short-term film policy. A film insurance policy is based on the best offerings from insurance companies that provide entertainment production coverage.


  • liability related to injuries on set
  • accidents in working vehicles
  • theft
  • loss and damage of rented and owned equipment
  • can also protect producers from libel or copyright infringement claims

Pro Tip: If you are a producer on a project, you carry the majority of the responsibility if something goes awry. This huge responsibility can have financial, legal, even criminal ramifications to you personally.

So, now we know what production insurance is, or at least get the general idea. But just because you purchased insurance, don’t think that everything you touch will necessarily be protected.



Covers against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction to cameras, camera equipment, sound and light equipment, grip equipment, portable electrical equipment and generators, mechanical effects equipment and similar miscellaneous equipment.

This coverage also typically includes loss of use of property of others for which the renter or producer is legally liable. The limit of coverage for production equipment should be sufficient to cover the replacement cost of ALL equipment being used on the project. Most equipment rental houses will include in their contract a statement confirming the renter’s requirement to fully insure the equipment in their possession.

This coverage may also be known as Inland Marine, or Rented Equipment coverage. If there is a loss for an item you rented, the insurance company will pay the amount to replace it. When your broker asks you for a replacement value, they are not referring to how much you are paying to rent, but how much it would be to replace this item. If you ask most rental/prop houses, they will add it onto your invoice if it isn’t already noted. Note: When Rental Equipment Value is greater than $25K USD, General Liability is mandatory and cannot be removed.

What is an equipment floater policy?

If you own more than $5,000 USD in production equipment, it’s best to purchase a separate Annual Equipment Floater Policy that covers your Owned Equipment Worldwide. It’s much more cost effective than purchasing the coverage for one project.

Equipment Floater Policy US quote.


Short-Term Production Insurance is perfect for the new or indie filmmaker who may not have more than one project scheduled in the next six months. This coverage is ideal for singular projects and can satisfy insurance requirements from film schools, rental houses, permit offices, prop houses, and/or studio location rental space.


Pricing starts at around $500 USD for minimal coverages. The premium amount for 1-10 days of coverage is the same price and it will increase with the more days you add, but 60 days is the maximum coverage period for short-term policies.

Short Shoot US quote.


What's the difference between short-term production insurance versus annual?

Short-term production insurance covers your productions on a project-by-project scale. Purchased on this scale, short-term policies can cover as little as one day of production (although you should cover your prep days, too).

How much does annual DICE insurance cost?

Planning to shoot multiple times throughout the year, and have an estimated budget over $15K USD? Then you’ll want an annual (DICE) policy. This coverage can be much more cost effective than Short-Term Production Insurance. Pricing starts around $2,500 USD for the year. Financing may be available.

Although DICE policies can be completely customized to fit your productions need, the following coverage options are available:


If your project is being sold or distributed, Errors and Omissions (E and O) coverage may be for you; in fact, most distribution contracts will require this coverage. All television, streaming services, and feature films will require this coverage.

E and O coverage protects your production and covers any legal cost if another party accuses you of an unoriginal idea; e.g., title, characters, plots.


Pricing starting around $3,000 USD for three years of coverage.

Film producer’s E&O US quote.



Although film policies vary widely, you’ll always need general liability. General liability covers bodily injury and property damage that occurs during the course of filming. Cast and crew are exempt from this and covered separately through a workers compensation policy. This coverage is required by most city/county permit offices.

The standard minimum policy is $1 million USD, and when the location is open to the public or sells tickets, it quickly jumps into a $5 million USD umbrella. The umbrella covers the possibility that more than one person gets injured in the facility during filming or live shows.

Example: you are filming on a sidewalk and a bystander walks by and trips on a cable; this would be a loss that would be covered by general liability. Now, if a cast or crew member trips, that would not be covered under general liability; that would be workers compensation (see below).


Workers compensation protects you should something happen to your employees on the job. It's important to go over how you are covering crew (employees) and independent contractors.


  • You work as an independent contractor or freelancer
  • You are paid full rate, no taxes withheld (from a provided invoice)
  • You provide the production with a W-9 for labor or labor & gear


  • Can cover your payrolled cast & crew, 1099 freelancers and volunteers
  • Can cover your working crew in periods outside of general production
  • Protects you from claims arising from injuries to your crew
  • Provides for you in the case of injury on the job
  • Covers medical costs, loss of work or death benefits if injuries occur on the job

Note: If there are Hazardous Activities/Scenes (e.g., animals, stunts, guns, fight scenes, car chases, water scenes, aerial shoots), then Workers Comp is excluded and cannot be added. You must obtain Workers Comp either through a payroll company or through your local State Fund (if in California, contact This will take extra time, so if you have a shoot this weekend, you may want to reconsider how important that stunt is to the project.


Legal liability for damage to or destruction of property belonging to others (including loss of use of the property) while the property is in the care, custody or control of the production company and is used or to be used in an insured production.

Physical damage to your location or other rented premises is not included unless Third Party Property Damage (TPPD) is purchased. If you are filming in a studio or using a platform like Peerspace for your project, this cover will most likely be required. Note: TPPD excludes the home/property of the producers, cast and crew of the project.


Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability covers damages and injuries sustained by other motorists that your production rental vehicle accidentally hits when your production is considered “At Fault”.

Hired/Non-Owned Auto Physical Damage covers accidental damages of the rental vehicle itself. The personal vehicles of the named insured/company owner and its officers are excluded. Personal auto insurance of cast/crew is primary coverage and Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability of the production policy is excess/secondary coverage.


This policy provides additional limits to the general liability, auto liability, employers’ liability (under workers’ compensation policy) and third party property damage coverages. Some locations will require higher limits than the standard general/auto liability policy of $1mil USD.


Provides travel accident coverages (accidental death and dismemberment) as required by the guild or union contracts to which the producer is signatory. Coverage is blanket and the limits of liability meet all signatory requirements. Coverage may be extended to non-union employees, usually with a benefit limit of $50K USD each person.


A production package is an accumulation of coverages to protect multiple or singular projects such as features, TV series, or documentaries. If you have an annual gross production cost over $100,000 USD and are looking for annual coverage, a production package will be necessary.

Note: Most carriers do not sell just the production package; you most likely will be required to purchase general liability as well. Minimum premiums start around $6,000 USD. Some coverages available in a production package are:

Cast Coverage Example: the lead actor of your feature is running three hours late and may not come in because they have food poisoning. Your cast, crew, makeup artists have all shown up and are waiting. Cast Coverage would cover any loss associated with the actor not being present; expenses for that shoot day would be covered.

Negative Film — direct physical loss, damage or destruction of raw film or tape stock, exposed film (developed or undeveloped), videotape, matrices, lavenders, positives, inter-positives, working prints, cutting copies, fine grain prints, color transparencies, cells artwork and drawings, hard drives, software and related materials used to generate computer images, and soundtracks and tapes, up to the amount of the insured production cost.

Negative Film Example: you just wrapped up all the post work on a TV series and are running late to go meet a potential investor for coffee. You ask the new PA to hand-deliver the hard drive to the network, which is a few blocks away. The PA receives a phone call, leaves the hard drive on the roof of the car, and drives away… Negative Film would cover up to the gross production cost in the case of a loss.

Faulty Stock — loss, damage, or destruction of “negative film” caused by or resulting from fogging or the use of faulty materials (including cameras), faulty sound equipment, or faulty developing. Faulty coverage does not include loss caused by errors of judgement in exposure, lighting or sound recording; from the use of incorrect type of raw stock; or faulty manipulation by the cameraman unless a separate extension is included in coverage.

Props, Sets, and Wardrobe — provides coverage on props, sets, scenery, costumes, wardrobe and similar property against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction during the specified production period, subject to certain policy exclusions. Coverage for jewelry/furs/fine art is included with sub-limits. Animals can also be added. Coverage may also include loss of use of property of others for which the production is legally liable.

Miscellaneous Equipment — covers against direct physical loss, damage or destruction of camera, sound and lighting equipment, portable electric equipment and generators, mechanical effects equipment, grip equipment, and similar equipment for which the production company is legally liable. Coverage may include loss of use of property of others for which the production is legally liable. This coverage generally extends to cover physical damage to rented vehicles also.

Extra Expense — indemnifies the insured for extra expense incurred as a result of interruption, postponement or cancellation of a declared production as a direct and sole result of loss of (including damage to) property or facilities contracted by the insured (props/sets/wardrobe, miscellaneous equipment, third party property) in connection with the production insured. Coverage extensions are available for civil authority, ingress/egress, imminent peril, power interruption and strikes.

Office Contents — provides coverage on office property and computers, including laptops and similar property against risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction during the specified production period.

Money & Currency — provides coverage for actual physical loss of funds during production (i.e., petty cash) against robbery, theft, embezzlement, or forgery of checks.

Q: Still have questions about your project, or have a specialty risk? No problem. US-based filmmakers can contact the LA office:

14156 Magnolia Blvd., Suite 200
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
PH: 424 529 6701

If calling from the United States, contact:
Mike Groner
Ph: 424-529-6704

for California:
Kathryn Hoffman
Ph: 424-644-1411

Kent Hamilton
Ph: 424-529-6700

Doug Hodges
Ph: 424 329 2480 

for New York:
Stacie O'Beirne
Ph: 646-849-4114

for Nashville:
Tom P. Corley
Ph: 615-326-4226


Getting a film permit in Los Angeles / film permits LA

Book on Amazon: Film Insurance 101

FREE eBook: E&O Insurance 101

Topics: Short Film Insurance, Film Producer's E&O Insurance, DICE Insurance, US Film insurance broker, Non-owned auto insurance, Third Party Property Damage, Workers Compensation

E&O considerations for US-based filmmaker vs. Canada-based filmmaker

Posted by Kailin Che on Apr 17, 2020 11:07:17 AM

Fair use vs. fair dealing

Are there different e&o considerations for a US-based filmmaker vs. a Canada-based filmmaker?


Kailin Che (Lawyer)
: There are definitely differences in the applicable laws affecting E&O considerations between US and Canada. A lot of these are nuanced, but to give you an example: we’re talking about exceptions under copyright infringement as set forth by the fair use doctrine and so in the US, the fair use doctrine is a lot broader than the Canadian fair dealing doctrine equivalent.

Copyright and fair use:

Under the US copyright law, they have a non-exhaustive list of potential purposes that could be used as an exception, e.g., if it’s a comment or criticism, or for the purpose of news reporting, these are all things that would NOT constitute an infringement on copyrighted material.

Fair dealing copyright | fair dealing guidelines | fair use fair dealing:

In Canada, we have a similar provision but an exhaustive list. So, it is limited to private study research, parody and satire, etc. So, the consequence of this is that, for producers, they might potentially be found to have infringed on copyrighted material in Canada, but perhaps they’re not infringing in the US.

So, that said: most people who are making films are distributing in Canada and the US anyway, so it’s important to be compliant with both sets of laws and regulations. And, typically, if you buy insurance in the US, it’ll cover Canada as well.



About: Kailin Che is a corporate/commercial lawyer who represents clients in a broad range of industries including, technology, entertainment, manufacturing and real estate. She has advised clients on a variety of endeavors, including mergers and acquisitions, financing, reorganizations, corporate governance and regulatory compliance. Kailin began her legal career at a global law firm in Toronto and is licensed to practice in both Ontario and British Columbia.

Topics: Film Producer's E&O Insurance, US Film insurance broker, Fair Use Doctrine

Front Row Insurance Brokers opens an office in Los Angeles

Posted by David Hamilton on Feb 20, 2014 5:17:00 PM

Canada's largest Film Insurance Broker expands to LA

Vancouver, Canada - - February 20 2014 -- Front Row is pleased to announce the opening of their first office in the United States. The US company will be known as Front Row Insurance Brokers, LLC and will be located at: 14156 Magnolia Blvd, Suite 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.

The Los Angeles office will be headed up by well known film insurance veteran Kent Hamilton. Kent can be reached at 424-529-6700.

Kent will be supported by Mike Groner and Tina Ortiz.

Front Row is licensed and registered in every province and is Canada's largest specialized film insurance broker. Front Row represents: each of the four major film insurance companies: Chubb, Premiere/Everest, Allianz/Firemans Fund and Travelers / St Paul.

"An opportunity arose to bring Kent and his team into Front Row and we quickly worked to make that happen," says David Hamilton, President of Front Row based in Vancouver. "We are delighted that Kent decided to join Front Row given the multiple offers that he received from other brokerage firms." Kent was previously a Senior Vice President at Truman Van Dyke in Los Angeles where he specialized in arranging insurance coverage for film and TV productions.

Front Row is an independent film insurance broker that works on behalf of producers to transfer the risks of filming to insurance companies for a premium charge. Should a claim occur, Front Row ensures that the production company receives the money that they are owed per the insurance policy as quickly as possible.

Topics: Film insurance broker, US Film insurance broker

A Canadian Insurance Broker Needed to Avoid Potential Tax Penalties

Posted by David Hamilton on Feb 7, 2012 2:55:00 PM



If you are a US Insurance Broker who has a client with a Canadian subsidiary, Canadian tax law requires that:

  • The policy must be issued by a licensed Canadian insurer
  • The premium must be paid by the Canadian subsidiary directly to a licensed Canadian broker who then  must pay the Canadian insurer
  • If an unlicensed insurer is used, Provincial tax penalties may be as high as 50% of the premium and an additional Federal tax of 10% of the premium will also be levied

A US Insurance Broker who does not hold a license in Canada will not be able to place business with a Canadian insurance company.

Furthermore, a US broker who does not hold a Canadian license is not allowed to provide insurance advice to a Canadian company – even if it is a subsidiary of a US parent company. To do so will incur a premium tax and penalties that are payable by the subsidiary. 

A broker licensed and domiciled in Canada will make sure that your client complies with all insurance regulations so that the policy will respond when required. A Canadian Entertainment Insurance Broker will also ensure that the premiums qualify for any applicable tax credits.

At Front Row, we would be happy to assist you insure your subsidiaries in Canada.

Topics: Film Insurance, Entertainment Insurance, Film insurance broker, Film insurance premium, US Film insurance broker