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Have you ever wondered what criteria film festivals use to judge the Animated Film category? Our selection process is pretty straight forward and I will explain it in this guide. Please email me if you have questions. email@example.com
Which Film Festivals Use This Guide? (All Genres)
Film Festival Animated Category Descriptions
Animated Film Category (6-30 minutes) All Genres
This category is reserved for cartoons, 2D animation, 3D animation, clay animation, sand animation, Anime, Computer Graphics, Puppetry Animation, Stop-Motion, Flip Book Animation, Experimental Animation and any form of animated films that may exist, but we haven't listed. Films that have a mixture of animated elements and live action characters are eligible for this category as well. The maximum length for all animated short film submissions is between six minutes and thirty minutes in length including all credits. (6:00 - 30:00)
Animated Micro Short Film Category (1-6 minutes) All Genres
This category is reserved for cartoons, 2D animation, 3D animation, clay animation, sand animation, Anime, Computer Graphics, Puppetry Animation, Stop-Motion, Flip Book Animation, Experimental Animation and any form of animated films that may exist. Films that have a mixture of animated elements and live action characters are eligible for this category as well. The maximum length for all micro short animated film submissions six minutes in length including all credits. (0:01 - 5:59)
Which Comedy Film Festivals Use This Guide? (All Genres)
Animated Comedy Film Category (6-30 minutes)
This category is reserved for funny cartoons, 2D animation, 3D animation, clay animation, sand animation, Anime, Computer Graphics, Puppetry Animation, Stop-Motion, Flip Book Animation, Experimental Animation and any form of animated films that may exist, but we haven't listed. Comedy Films that have a mixture of animated elements and live action characters are eligible for this category as well. The duration of videos submitted to the Animated Comedy Film category must be between six minutes and thirty minutes in length including all credits. (6:00 - 30:00)
Animated Comedy Micro Short Film (1-6 minutes)
This category is reserved for funny cartoons, 2D animation, 3D animation, clay animation, sand animation, Anime, Computer Graphics, Puppetry Animation, Stop-Motion, Flip Book Animation, Experimental Animation and any form of animated films that may exist. Comedy Films that have a mixture of animated elements and live action characters are eligible for this category as well. The time limit for the Animated Comedy Micro Short Film category is five minutes and fifty nine seconds (05:59) including all credits.
Would You Like The Judge’s Notes For Your Animated Film?
We are now offering a paid service for judge’s notes requests. We review and compile notes for your Animated film and deliver a document to you privately. Submitting to one of our festivals is not a requirement for ordering valuable notes about your film. You can purchase this service at any time. Please visit this link for the costs and terms. Judges Notes Now Available For Films And Screenplays
In The Beginning ...
When my wife Brooke and I started the Houston Comedy Film Festival in 2008, there weren’t many resources available that clearly explained the judging process. Our goal was to create a system that would eventually screen the funniest submissions at our comedy film festivals. We set out to select films that had the funniest situations, the best pacing, the best acting, and a level of production value that would screen well, in a commercial movie theater.
Our Goal For The Animated Film Category
Today, we use similar principles for our animated film judging. We want to find films with creative animation that tells a story, strong voice acting (if applicable), interesting artistic concepts and excellent music. Especially films with memorable characters and events that take the viewer on a journey. It is also important that the level of production value offers the audience a positive viewer experience from a technical perspective, in a commercial movie theater.
We have three rounds of judging. Each film is viewed and scored by 12 different judges. Furthermore, each judge is blind to the other judges ratings in the first round. The overall score is an average score of a 1-10 star system. The top 33% of films from the first round advance to the 2nd round. The 2nd round is a technical evaluation of the film. The 3rd round where the judges reach a consensus about which films will screen.
Round 1: Universal Questions
Round 1: Animated Film Category Rating (1-10)
Round 2: Technical Film Review
The top 33% of films advance to the 2nd round of consideration based on their average rating in the 1st round. Please keep in mind, that we screen films on giant commercial theater screens in high definition with great sound systems. We cannot play films that are filled with technical problems, no matter how good they are. If time permits, I will email the submitter of a film if they had a great score in the 1st Round, but their film has technical issues. This gives the film submitter an opportunity to update the film (if time permits.) We do not want to create financial stress for filmmakers, but sometimes we bring these things to their attention ahead of time. We've had plenty of success stories, where filmmakers just needed to re-render the film and update it. All of the films in the 2nd round are assigned a “Flag” based on technical aspects of the film. The flags are for internal use only and the filmmakers do not see them.
Round 2: Green, Yellow & Red Flags: What Do They Mean?
Green Flag: Clean Audio, clear picture & well paced edit.
Yellow Flag: Some problems with audio, picture or edit, that may result in a negative screening experience for the audience if it isn't updated.
Red Flag: This film has two or more technical problems that eliminate it completely from consideration. Examples: Inaudible words. Clipping sound effects or dialogue. Dark and grainy footage that looks bad on a large screen. Glitches in the edit (media offline.) Visual problems extreme brightness or “blown out” footage for no creative reason. Missing words or bad dialogue sync. Subtitles are too fast or too small. We’ve encountered other problems, but if the film has a red flag, there is usually a very big problem.
Round 3: The Final Selection Process
The 3rd and final round is considered our deliberation round. All judge’s comments and ratings are unlocked so that the other judges can see them. The 12 judges re-watch all of the Green flagged films from the 2nd round. The judges are free to edit their ratings based on their 2nd impression of the film and may consider some of the other comments about the film as well. We have spirited discussions on Google Hangouts about our favorite films and discuss the pros and cons of each. Then, on the night before notification day, I (the film festival director) select the top films based on the judges average ratings and our total screening time. Then I announce the “official selections” to the public. The “official selections” are all of the films that will be invited to screen at the event.
Few film festivals explain their judging process online. After traveling to several film festivals across the country, I noticed that it is pretty rare to meet any of the judges at the events as well. Why is this process so mysterious? At every single film festival event that we have, I’ll sit down with filmmakers and screenwriters and talk for hours about the film industry, film festivals and film production. Eventually the conversation leads to the following questions:
We have over 100 registered judges that actively watch films and read screenplays for the Austin Micro Short Film Festival and the Oregon Short Film Festival. Most of the time, the judges are registered to festivals that are local to their region.
2) Approximately, How Many Films Do You Watch?
Personally, I watch about 300 short films per month. It’s a part of my daily routine. I don’t like to watch more than 2 hours of films in a single setting. I use high quality headphones and a 42 inch HD Television to watch films. It’s not exactly the same as watching them in a movie theater, but I don’t feel like watching submissions on my phone or at the gym is the right environment to fully evaluate them. We also have monthly sessions for judges and watch films as a group. It helps, when judging Animated films, to be in a group setting. We have scorecards and often times, we stop films to discuss them. Individually, I encourage our judges to watch films on a large screen with good headphones. Many of them like to use their phones and tablets as well. Most judges will watch 4-5 movies per day, pretty consistently.
3) How Many Times Do You Watch Each Film?
I personally watch every film submitted to every film festival from beginning to end at least once. Even more, I evaluate films for technical issues and award nominations. As a result, I watch some films 3-5 times! Our judges watch as many films as possible in the 1st round, then re-watch films that make it to the final round.
Film Festival Circuit events have reviewed over 5,000+ submissions since 2008. Our judges see issues repeated daily that weaken the presentation of films, videos and screenplays during the evaluation process. The Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook was written to help filmmakers and screenwriters build a successful strategy and avoid common costly mistakes when submitting to Film Festivals.