Thank you for your interest in submitting your project to the Williamsburg International Film Festival. The questions and answers on this page should provide you with the basic information needed to complete the submission process. If you have a question pertaining to the film competition that is not covered, please e-mail us at programming@willifest.com. Screenplay competition questions should be forwarded to screenplays@willifest.com. All other questions can be sent to inquiries@willifest.com.

 

1.    WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES OF PROJECTS YOU ACCEPT IN THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL?

You must select from one of twelve film submission categories, listed below. Additionally, there is a screenplay competition.

U.S. NARRATIVE FEATURE FILMS
Any narrative work of fiction with a running time of at least 50 minutes. In order to qualify as a U.S. Narrative Feature Film, the submitted project must be either scripted or improvisational fiction. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

U.S. DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILMS
Any non-fiction film with a running time of at least 50 minutes, NOT including entirely scripted or improvised fictionalizations of actual events. If your documentary contains limited dramatization of actual events, you may submit in this category, but we will ultimately decide which program is best suited for your project, if accepted. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURE FILMS
Any narrative work of fiction with a running time of at least 50 minutes. In order to qualify as an International Narrative Feature Film, the submitted project must be either scripted or improvisational fiction, and production must have occurred outside of the United States. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILMS
Any non-fiction film with a running time of at least 50 minutes, NOT including entirely scripted or improvised fictionalizations of actual events. If your documentary contains limited dramatization of actual events, you may submit in this category, but we will ultimately decide which program is best suited for your project, if accepted. In order to qualify as an International Documentary Feature Film, the production must have occurred outside of the United States. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

U.S. SHORT FILMS
Any narrative or documentary film of U.S. origin with a running time of 49 minutes or less. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILMS
Any narrative or documentary film of International origin with a running time of 49 minutes or less. In order to qualify as an International Short Film, production must have occurred outside of the United States. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

ANIMATED FILMS
Any animated film in any style of animation from any country of origin with a running time of any length. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2011.

FAMILY FARE
Any live action or animation of any length from any country that celebrates the whole family coming together to enjoy and share the movie-going experience. Any subject matter considered. All films should be appropriate for general audiences. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2011.

MUSIC VIDEOS
Any film or video in sync to music from any country of origin with a running time of less than 8 minutes. Music Videos have no premiere or completion requirements.

STUDENT FILMS
Any U.S. or International narrative or documentary film of any length. Proof of school enrollment is required. No premiere status is required. Films must have been completed after January 2012.

COMMERCIALS
Any film or video that sells a product or service from any country of origin with a running time of less than 5 minutes. This category also includes Public Service Announcements (PSA) which promotes public awareness. Commercials have no premiere or completion requirements.

SOUNDTRACKS
A film or video music soundtrack from any category of film or video. Sample selection(s) should be less than 20 minutes. There is no completion requirement.


SCREENPLAY COMPETITION
Any English-language, narrative screenplay of any genre. Scripts must have a minimum page count of 20 pages and a maximum page count of 200, all pages numbered, in standard industry format. Screenplays have no completion requirements. Digital files are currently the only acceptable form of submission. For additional information and detailed submission guidelines, see Question 30.

2.    HOW DO YOU DISTINGUISH SHORT FILMS FROM FEATURE FILMS?

If the film is up to 49 minutes in length, it is a Short. If the film is 50 minutes or longer, it is considered a Feature, regardless of category.

3.    HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHETHER A FILM IS CONSIDERED U.S. OR INTERNATIONAL?

This is dependent on the country of primary production, the language of the film and the country of origin of the Producer(s) and Director(s). If a film is in a language other than English, then we consider it a foreign film, even if produced by a U.S. company.

4.    IS IT TRUE THAT WILLiFEST WILL NOT SCREEN MY FILM IF IT HAS BEEN SCREENED ELSEWHERE?

At this time, the Festival does NOT have a Premiere status requirement.

5.    CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM AS A ROUGH CUT?

A film needs to be complete enough for us to be able to make a decision. If you expect that your final version will be thirty minutes long, it’s probably not a good idea to send us a two hour rough cut. If an important scene is going to be missing, notes should accompany the screener and less important scenes should simply be omitted from the screener copy.

6.    HOW OLD CAN MY FILM BE AND STILL QUALIFY FOR SUBMISSION?

Categories have different completion dates so please refer to our Withoutabox page for details. Normally, we are looking for filmsproduced in the last two years. If your film's production took place more than two years ago but your final cut was completed within the last two years, your film is still eligible. Some categories are completely exempt from this rule so please check Withoutabox and the Submission form for updated exceptions.

7.    DO I HAVE TO OBTAIN RIGHTS CLEARANCE FOR MUSIC OR OTHER COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IN MY FILM?

From a legal standpoint, you must clear all copyrighted material included in your film before you can publicly screen it. WILLiFEST will not be held responsible for any inclusion of uncleared materials in your film. It is the sole responsibility of the individual submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Quite often, rights holders offer reduced rates for festival films, so you should contact them directly to avoid any possible rights infringements.

8.    CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM WITH A TEMPORARY MUSIC TRACK?

Temp tracks, scratch music, and temp scores are perfectly fine for your submission, but please include a paper list of missing or temporary elements along with the submitted DVD.

9.    WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED FORMAT FOR SUBMISSION?

Films can be submitted through Withoutabox' Secure Online Screener system, FilmFreeway's online screener system or burned to a single DVD-R or DVD+R disc. WE CANNOT ACCEPT WATERMARKED DVDS. Watermarked DVDs will have to be replaced before we consider your film. This rule actually is for the protection of the integrity of your screening and the festival. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email us at programming@willifest.com. Once we receive your DVD, the case or sleeve will be recycled, so it doesn’t matter what type of packaging you use to submit your disc. DVDs must be compatible with standard set-top DVD players. Do not simply burn a quicktime file to a disc as data. Please ensure that your disc plays in a standard DVD player before you mail it to us.

10.    DO YOU ACCEPT BLURAY SCREENERS?

We currently are NOT accepting Bluray screeners.

11.   WILL YOU ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS IN VHS FORMAT?

We do NOT accept submissions on VHS or any videotape format, not even for backup purposes. All tapes we receive will be recycled.

12.   WILL YOU ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS IN ANY OTHER FORMAT?

No! Please do not send us your film on Beta, Mini-DV, HD-CAM, 16mm, 35mm, or any other format not referenced in Question 9.  We will not be able to watch or return them.

13.   CAN I SEND YOU MY DVD IN PAL FORMAT, OR DO YOU ACCEPT NTSC ONLY?

Currently, we prefer all screeners to be an NTSC, Region 1 or 0 (Region-free) DVD. Foreign filmmakers who cannot provide an NTSC DVD may send a PAL Region 0 (Region-free) DVD.
 
14.   CAN I ARRANGE A SCREENING OF MY FILM INSTEAD OF SENDING A DVD?

Unfortunately, no. Our Programming Department can only screen films online or from a DVD screener.

15.   WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE WITH MY SUBMISSION?

All we will need from you is your film, along with a copy of the signed, completed submission form, appropriate fee and for students, a copy of your school ID. The DVD packaging will be recycled, so there is no need to spend time printing artwork for your case. Please DO NOT use a paper label on your disc! There are many different variables with stickers and paper labels that could render your disc unplayable. A permanent marker will work just fine. Discs with text or graphics printed directly on the surface are also acceptable. Please write or print your film's title, running time, entrant’s name, phone number and, if applicable, your WAB ID# directly on the face of the disc AND on the outside of the envelope that you send it in.

16.   WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO GET MY DVD TO PLAY?

We will make every effort to play your DVD, but in the event that we are unable to view your film, we will contact you to request another copy using the primary contact information that you provided on your application. To prevent this delay, please make sure that your disc plays all the way through BEFORE you mail it in to us.

17.   WILL YOU NOTIFY ME IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE MY FILM?

It is your responsibility to make sure that we have received your package. You may include a self-addressed, stamped postcard, which we will mail back to you once your submission has been processed. Please allow up to three weeks for us to process your submission.

18.   IF MY FILM INCLUDES NON-ENGLISH DIALOGUE, DO YOU REQUIRE ENGLISH SUBTITLES?

Yes! We will be unable to screen your film if on-screen English subtitles are not included on your DVD. These subtitles should be burned into the video disc and not included as a separate file. A translated list of dialogue on paper is not sufficient!

19.   CAN I SUBMIT A NEWER CUT OF MY FILM AFTER I'VE ALREADY SUBMITTED AN EARLIER VERSION?

To avoid confusion throughout the screening process, we would prefer that you only send us ONE version of your film. If you MUST send in a more recent cut of the film, you may send an e-mail to programming@willifest.com and, if replacing the old cut with a new one is possible, we will give you instructions as to how to do so. What you do NOT want to do is send in a new version without notifying us in advance. If you expect to have a more complete cut done before the final deadline passes, you should wait until that time to initially submit your film to us. Also, please do not submit an updated cut that only contains minor changes, such as titles, credits, or a final sound mix.

20.   MUST I SUBMIT THROUGH THE WEBSITE SUBMISSION FORM?

No, you can also submit through Withoutabox (www.withoutabox.com) or FilmFreeway (www.filmfreeway.com). These online submission sites allow for paying the entry fee with a credit card while our website submission form only allows for payment with check or money order.

21.   HOW MANY FILMS CAN I SUBMIT?

You may submit as many films as you'd like, but each film requires a separate submission form and fee. We do not offer reduced fees for multiple submissions. If you submit three films, you must pay the submission fees for all three films. Please do not submit multiple projects on the same DVD. If we receive a submission with multiple films on one disc, we will only consider the first film on the disc.

22.   WHAT IF MY CONTACT INFORMATION OR ANY OTHER INFO CHANGES AFTER I'VE FILLED OUT THE APPLICATION?

For filmmakers, you may log into your account at Withoutabox or FilmFreeway at any time to update or revise your application or email us at programming@willifest.com and note the change along with your name, current address, current email address and film title.

23.   WHEN WILL I FIND OUT IF MY FILM WAS SELECTED?

We will contact you via e-mail sometime in July or August. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes, you should update it as per Question 22.

24.   DOES THE FESTIVAL PROJECT FILM, TAPE OR DIGITAL?

WILLiFEST utilizes the latest HD digital projection technology. We project from an HD file-based server. We no longer project from any videotape format but we do project 35mm on a very limited basis. Most accepted films are requested to send a 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080) progressive high definition file version of the film in either an mp4, H264, avi, mpg or wmv format. We do NOT project Apple ProRes or other uncompressed files. If you have questions concerning the exhibition format, feel free to contact us at programming@willifest.com.

25.   IF I SUBMIT THROUGH WITHOUTABOX BUT NEVER SEND IN MY FILM, CAN I GET A REFUND OF THE APPLICATION FEE?

No. The application fee is non-refundable.

26.   DO YOU OFFER SUBMISSION FEE WAIVERS?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Submission fees go toward offsetting a portion of the costs associated with promoting our festival on Withoutabox, on our website, print ads, and local events. These expenses always end up being subsidized by us. The extremely high cost of organizing and hosting the actual festival in September is borne by sponsors and us. We keep both our submission fees and festival ticket prices as low as possible in order to make entry and attendance as accessible as possible. We receive many requests for waivers from filmmakers during our Call for Entries and after discussing the issue at length, we have decided that in all fairness we cannot pick and choose which films to grant waivers to. Therefore, we ask that you consider submitting your film early to take advantage of our Early Bird deadline discount, Withoutabox members receive a discount and as an added incentive, we offer a Student Filmmaker discount, which applies to every category.

27.   IF MY FILM IS NOT CHOSEN, MAY I SPEAK WITH A PROGRAMMER FOR NOTES OR FEEDBACK?

We receive hundreds of submissions so, unfortunately, we cannot.

28.   IS THERE A SCREENPLAY COMPETITION AT THE FESTIVAL?

Yes! There is a separate screenplay submission form available on the Submit page on our website or you can apply through the www.withoutabox.com or www.filmfreeway.com online submission platforms. The top three winners receive beautiful trophies which can be accepted at our Closing Day Award Ceremony or mailed out if you are unable to attend. Additionally, we award honorable mention to at least five more deserving screenplays and feature them on the Awards page of our website.

29.   WHAT TYPES OF FILMS OR SCREENPLAYS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

First, our Categories list in Question 1 gives a general description of what we are accepting for this year’s festival. Beyond that, we celebrate the independent filmmaker and are seeking interesting and original stories. Basically, we are looking for films and screenplays with interesting characters and unique points of view.

30.   HOW DO I SUBMIT MY SCREENPLAY?

After downloading and completing the submission form on our website’s Submit page, electronic files can be emailed to us. You still need to mail in the submission form and the appropriate fee to be entered into the competition and have your screenplay read. If you are using the www.withoutabox.com or www.filmfreeway.com online submission platforms, complete the on-line application form and select your form of payment. Your electronic screenplay will have been uploaded to Withoutabox' or FilmFreeway's online servers or you can email it directly to us. Accepted digital formats are Word (.doc, .docx) or Adobe (.pdf) documents. In both cases, you can email the electronic file to screenplays@willifest.com. Your email or title page should include the title, author name(s) and email address.

31.   WHAT IS THE MAILING ADDRESS FOR SUBMISSIONS?

All submissions should be mailed to:

WILLiFEST
P.O. Box 20412

1483 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021
 

32.   DO YOU HAVE A PHYSICAL DROP-OFF LOCATION FOR SUBMISSIONS?

We do not currently offer one.

33.   WHEN DOES THE FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

WILLiFEST 2015 takes place from September 24 – 27 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York City.

We hope to see you there!
 

Updated January 2015

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