What did filmmakers have to go through in order to qualify for the Film Prize: Memphis? Here are the official rules of entry. It’s a lot, but it’s all good info, promise!
Rough Cut Submission: Film
Rough Cut Submission: Filmmaker Portal
Final Film Submission
Publicity and Licensing
Film Prize Festival Weekend and Judging
How to Film Prize – 9 Simple Rules
1) Register your short film project and pay the submission fee.
The entry fee is $50 per short film. You may register and submit as many films as you desire. The registration form will collect information about the film, including title, genre, director, and producers, among other things. You may register at any time during the shooting window (February 16, 2017 Thru June 8, 2017) but you must register BEFORE filming.
2) Gather your cast, crew, locations, and equipment.
Plan, plan, plan. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a location or hire the sound mixer. There are many resources available at your disposal in Memphis and Shelby County as a filmmaker through the Film Prize: Memphis. The staff is here to help you! Call the office (901.443.6367, Mon-Fri, 10a-5p) if you have questions – some of which may be answered below – or if you need help finding a location, crew, or if you want us to post a casting call. Our Page on Facebook is extremely active with locals, fans from across the country, and industry professionals that WANT to help you. Take advantage of that to make it easier on yourself by posting your needs there. It’s far more active and specific to filmmaking in the area than Craigslist.
3) Submit a shooting schedule to the Film Prize.
Send your schedule breakdown including locations, dates, and times to the best of your ability prior to filming. Email your schedule or call sheets to Filmmaker Liaison David Merrill at email@example.com. We reserve the right to visit your set at any time. Mostly this is to welcome you or to take some pictures of you doin’ ya thang. We might even bring beer. Who knows?!
4) Upon arrival in the Memphis area, you must check in and document your shoot.
Using a Location-Enabled device (Phone, Tablet, etc), visit memphisfilmprize.com and, using the check-in button, submit your location data to us. Part of your responsibility is to PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that your production took place when and where you say it does. Take pictures, take video, save receipts, etc. This will come in handy later when filling out the nodes in your Filmmaker Portal. To watch a video on how to check in, click here.
5) Start filming!
Principal photography must begin NO SOONER THAN Thursday, February 16th, 2017 and STOP by the day of the deadline (Tuesday, June 8, 2017). Production can only begin after you have been officially registered and you should check in as soon as possible. Teams may bring in talent, equipment, and crew from anywhere, but are encouraged to use local resources, including talent agencies, crew, rental facilities and studio spaces to lighten the load of what you need to bring in, if you are from out of town. Using local resources is by no means required, but it’s there for you… utilize it! Special offers made available by offices, studios and rental facilities are available on a first come first served basis. We usually post these to our Page on Facebook and to our resources page. Break a leg!
6) Digging into Post-Production.
You may do post production anywhere you like. Some filmmakers have stayed to edit, some have gone home, some have sent their color and sound off to distant places. Memphis does have facilities, but it’s always best to book them in advance. We also have an active VFX community too. Post your needs to our Page on Facebook and be ready to go!
7) Turn in the rough cut of your short film AND complete the Filmmaker Portal by June 8, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.
You must have your Rough Cut turned in turned in to the office and must have COMPLETED AND SUBMITTED online Filmmaker Portal by June 8, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. to qualify for consideration for Film Prize: Memphis. A rough cut can be as complete or rough as you want it to be. There’s a more prolific explanation of what we expect in the Complete Official Rules below. Absolutely no late entries will be accepted. Please have your film ready before this date to avoid the agony of crossing the finish line after the time has passed and buzzer has sounded. If you aren’t bringing the film in-person, we suggest using a service like FedEx or UPS with reliable tracking information.
8) Wait for the Top 10 Announcement.
Films that are selected to compete by our panel of pre-festival judges will be announced June 29, 2017. The announcement will be made at a big to-do event in Memphis and streamed online. We encourage all filmmakers to continue to refine and finish their film because when the announcement is made, you will only have one month to turn in your film for the festival. Whether you are selected or not, you should prepare your film to enter into other festivals. You have a completed film, why sit on it? Keep in mind that, if you are made an Official Selection, you must premiere your film at Film Prize: Memphis 2017.
9) Attend the Festival, Get Out the Vote, Win Big!
If you are selected as a Top 10 Official Selection, you and your film will be invited to one of the the coolest film festivals on the planet, where the filmmaker is king. The audience and a panel of expert judges will both vote to choose the winner of the $10,000! You will attend the festival, woo audiences, hold parties, sell merchandise, and otherwise convince voters to pick your film. Aside from making a great film, it’s all about what you put into it! Other prizes will be announced later in the year.
Complete Official Rules – Please Read This!
Making a Short Film for the Film Prize: Memphis 2017
Film Prize: Memphis is a short film competition, open to independent filmmakers of any nationality which register and shoot a short film in the approved shooting zone (including Shelby County, Tennessee) during the approved shooting window (February 16, 2017 – June 8, 2017). Works will be considered for competition only if they have a total running time of no less than 5 minutes and no more than 15 minutes including all titles and credits. Credits may be no longer than 30 seconds. The festival committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project. Only live-action, narrative films are eligible (all genres). For Film Prize: Memphis 2017, documentary and animation will not be accepted.
Registering a Film
You must register before you begin filming and receive a confirmation/welcome email from the Film Prize staff in order to begin. Filmmakers wishing to participate must submit a completed application form (http://memphisfilmprize.com/register) along with the registration fee of $50. Submission fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. Films may change their names later if they so choose. If a film is disbanded or not completed, a refund or transfer of application fees will not be permitted – a new registration form and fee must accompany the new director and film.
All qualified entries must be independently produced and financed. Films produced, financed or developed by a film or television studio are ineligible for competition.
All production (principle photography) must be done in Shelby County between the dates of February 16, 2016 and June 8, 2017.
In order to be considered for Film Prize: Memphis’ cash award of $10,000, you must be able to prove production was shot in the approved zone and during the allotted time frame. Part of this proof is that films must check-in by visiting http://memphisfilmprize.com on a Location Enabled Device (phone, tablet, etc) and performing the check in protocol and providing your location data during the production (watch an instructional video here).
The other part of providing proof is by completing the online Filmmaker Portal with other proof of your production taking place within the approved zone and allotted time frame. (See “Rough Cut: Filmmaker Portal” section below). You must provide a shooting schedule to the MTFP Filmmaker Liaison (David Merrill, firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to filming.
Post-Production and Pickup or Establishing Shots
Post-production – music, color, sound, and visual effects – may be executed anywhere in the world. A MINIMAL number of pickup or establishing shots can be shot elsewhere as necessitated by story content or availability of performers/crew to execute such shots. For example, say your film is set in New York and you need an establishing shot of the Lower East Side. You can shoot or purchase b-roll of that and it’s fine. If you need a quick insert shot and don’t want to truck all the way back here, that’s fine too. However, these shots should be listed in the appropriate part of your Filmmaker Portal. If you have questions about what is allowed, PLEASE contact us.
Rough Cut/Filmmaker Portal Submission Deadline
You must complete and submit a rough cut of your film AND submit your online Filmmaker Portal by June 8, 2017 at 11:59pm. Failure to do so will eliminate you from Film Prize: Memphis 2017. An explanation of what should be included when you turn in can be found in the “Rough Cut Submission” sections below.
Filmmaker Responsibilities and Communication
It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to assign a point of contact (POC) for the production to participate in communications with the Film Prize staff – to ask questions on behalf of your project and to field inquiries from us. All decisions, questions, or concerns will be communicated to this POC only. From there, the POC may disseminate any pertinent information to the production. This is to avoid confusion and prevent multiple calls about the same issue in or out of the office. If the POC is anyone other than the director who submits the registration form, that information must accompany the registration form in the field “Primary Contact” which will ask for name, email, and phone number for the POC.
While in production, contact with the filmmakers and the production may be made at any time by MTFP representatives. We reserve the right to visit the set of any production. Some of these visits might be for location verification, creation of promotional videos for the festival, or just welcoming you to the area with warm doughnuts. We may have said beer earlier, but it could be doughnuts instead. Fair warning.
It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to obtain release forms, liability or other insurance, and other customary permits, permissions and protections as required by any individual, company, or municipality in which your film is in partnership. Teams are responsible for complying with all federal, state, and city regulations, including permitting. In most cases permits can be obtained through Memphis Film Commission offices (see Permits) or they can direct you to the office of another city in the zone should it be necessary. Shooting on public property in Shelby County DOES require production insurance.
Film Prize: Memphis does not require any production insurance or contracts ourselves (outside of the agreement to follow the rules and whatnot when you register), but we do expect that you comply with local laws and the requests of property owners for the safety and security of you, your cast and crew, and the production itself. Film Prize: Memphis is not legally responsible for the production of your film and there is no insurance provided to you or your team by the MTFP.
Rights and Licenses
You must have the rights to all materials appearing in your film, visual or auditory. The most common example is that you may not use a copyrighted music in your film unless you have obtained the rights to do so. A song that is in the public domain is not the same thing as a recording in the public domain. A song may have been written and the composition be public, but a recording constitutes a new copyright for that performance. Downloading a classical song off of iTunes does not mean it’s public domain. If you had to buy it, it’s likely under copyright. If you find a free and clear “royalty free” performance of that music, that’s a different story. We still encourage you to save the web page that releases a recording to the public to serve as your evidence of free and clear use of a track.
A screening process will be employed for all music and you must be able to provide proof of license when you turn in your film. If there is a question about rights to media seen in your film, you will be asked to present the license agreement or provide evidence of original composition. This extends to featured logos, music, and video elements like television content that might appear as a part of a scene in your film. Rough cuts may use temp music, but beware – copyrighted and unlicensed music appearing in a final film will not be accepted.
Premiere Status: Your Film Must Premiere at the Film Prize: Memphis2017
All films that are accepted as the twenty finalists MUST PREMIERE their films as a part of the Film Prize: Memphis Weekend August 12-13 at official venues. This excludes trailers, clips, and like promotional efforts which may begin at any point after the commencement of the filming period each year. You may not have any screenings, public or private, prior to the festival outside of MTFP-approved test screenings with an EXTREMELY limited audience. You MUST contact us to tell us if you are showing the film for testing purposes. Breaking this rule may lead to disqualification. Better safe than sorry, please call us.
Rough Cut Submission Part I: Your Short Film
The deadline for submission of rough cuts is June 8, 2017 at 11:59pm. That’s midnight on the night of the 8th. A “rough cut” may be as unfinished (or finished) as you would like it to be. You must include a 10 second card at the beginning of your film summarizing what is incomplete (i.e., “Unfinished sound design” or “Unfinished visual effects”). Any submission arriving after midnight will not be accepted under any circumstances. Thus, we encourage you to have your disc burned and prepared to turn in advance in case technical problems arise.
Films should be submitted on DVD-Video disc (preferably DVD-R, not DVD+R) without menus or artwork and must be playable on any standard DVD player. We suggest that once you burn your DVD, that you try it on a few players yourself, as DVDs that cannot be played on the LAFP DVD player will be disqualified. Do not include any artwork on your submission disc. If your film’s name has changed, please use the instructions below and include both the new name and the original submitted name.
Send the DVD to the submission address:
Film Prize Foundation
401 Market Street
Shreveport, LA 71101
Written or printed information on the disc should appear as follows:
Title of Film
(If the title has changed since registration, the OLD TITLE GOES HERE)
TRT: X minutes, X seconds
Receipt of your entry will be acknowledged by email to the e-mail address listed on your entry form. It may take up to 48 hours to send your confirmation. If you wait until the deadline date (June 8th, 2017), it will take longer to process because most of the films come at that time. You could help us out by sending it earlier.
Rough Cut Submission Part II: Filmmaker Portal
To qualify to be a finalist for the MTFP, each production must COMPLETE AND SUBMIT an online form called the Filmmaker Portal. The Portal is designed so that you can log in at any time before, during, or after you’ve filmed and work on or submit your digital assets such as logline, crew, and evidence. The portal must be COMPLETED AND SUBMITTED by June 8th at 11:59 p.m.
Contents you will submit or upload to the portal will include (but not be restricted to) things like copies of shooting permits for your locations, receipts from your production from local businesses or services to establish presence in the area and time, location releases, and photos showing your team on location. More details on what is needed are available on the portal page. Remember: the evidence is mostly about establishing WHERE and WHEN you filmed, so make sure any documentation has evidence of one or both of those criteria. Presence of an LAFP staff member on set does not qualify as proof. As a suggestion, photographs should be identifiable as area locations such as the front of a house with visible address, an intersection, or outside of a studio location.
Failure to COMPLETE and SUBMIT the Filmmaker Portal will disqualify a production from being a finalist.
The Filmmaker Portal will require following materials:
– Film logline (A short description, 50 words or less)
– Main production credits (director, writer, producer, composer, and main cast)
– Short director’s bio
– Director’s headshot (JPEG, 5×7 portrait 300 dpi or 1500×2100 pixels)
– Movie poster. 27”x40” 300dpi or 8100×12000 pixels. PDF or JPEG formats accepted.
– Five (5) stills from the film (JPEG or TIFF format. No watermarks, full resolution).
– A list of any pickup or establishing shots not performed in the Shooting Zone. If you have a question about what is allowed PLEASE contact us.
– W9 Tax form (download here). If you are selected as a Top 20 finalist, the check will be cut to this person or entity. Contact us with any questions.
Do not include any logos, text, or other watermarks on any materials. If you are selected to be a Top 20 finalist, you will have the chance to edit and resubmit this information/artwork before the festival.
Final Film Submission (Top 10 Only)
Teams can continue editing their films after the rough-cut deadline while the Top 20 films are picked. Final selections will be announced by Thursday, June 29, 2017. Finalists will be notified during the announcement on the official MTFP website and, with any luck with technology, on a live online video broadcast..
Each of the twenty teams selected as finalists will receive a $250 award. That prize will be sent to the address on your submission form (this should be the director’s), unless otherwise specified by the entrant upon notification of becoming a finalist. A W9 tax form from the receiving party must be submitted before the check can be made. Preferably, one would have a W9 ready to send as soon as the announcement is made. The person listed as “director” on the submission form must corroborate any change in the address or payee.
Top 10 Filmmakers will be required to include a modest, but visible, bug which will be supplied by Film Prize: Memphis to include during the end credits for the screening at the film prize and all subsequent screenings and renditions of the film. This helps us reach more filmmakers in the future by waving the flag for the global filmmaking community to see, helping make the film prize family larger and more competitive.
Final films must be turned in by Friday, July 14, 2017, and should be submitted using the following deliverables:
– QuickTime Apple ProRes 422 (not HQ or Proxy) in native resolution (up to 2k) on a hard drive.
- Dives should be clearly labeled with the film name, running time, and director
- No memory cards or thumb drives will be accepted.
- Drives should contain the final copy of the film and no other version.
- If your film has a frame rate other than 23.976, you must label the hard drive and file as such.
- Do not add a leader or tail to your film. It will not be removed by festival staff.
- Dialogue should be mixed at -18db
- If your sound mix is 5.1, provide the 5.1 AC3 file and WAV stereo mix as well.
– Final Film description (50 words or less)
– Final Main production credits (director, writer, producer, composer, and main cast)
– Final Director’s headshot (digital, 4×6 portrait 300 dpi)
– Final Movie poster (27”x40” portrait 300dpi in PDF, TIFF, or JPEG format)
– Final Short director’s bio
– Final Five (5) stills from the film (no watermarks, digital at full resolution).
ALL PHYSICAL SUBMITTED MATERIALS (except hard drives) become the property of the Film Prize: Memphis These materials will not be returned. By entering the competition, you acknowledge MTFP the right to, and you thereby grant a license to, copy any material for the festival’s use only. Hard drives will be available for pickup on Film Prize Weekend.
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Publicity and Licensing
The filmmaker gives the Film Prize Foundation permission to use their film and all submitted materials, including, but not limited to film stills, clips, descriptions, director’s image or likeness, in any and all forms of media at the discretion of the Film Prize Foundation. The full list of licenses are displayed on the registration form upon registration of your project.
Film Prize: Memphis Festival Weekend and Judging
Memphis Film Prize weekend occurs August 4-6, 2017. The 10 finalists films will be judged and the Memphis Film Prize will be awarded during Memphis Film Prize Weekend.
An Official Jury, made up of artists, critics, writers, filmmakers, and educators views the public exhibition programs and award points to the films. Those points count for 50% of the final tally towards the winning film.
The other 50% of the final vote comes from the audience by popular decision. Any registered attendee may vote using their uniquely numbered festival badges. Attendees must be present at Film Prize: Memphis Weekend and view all 10 films in order to vote. Attendees may only vote once.
We encourage filmmakers to bring their friends, family, and anyone they can find on the street to buy a ticket to Film Prize: Memphis Weekend and vote for their film. We encourage the finalists to hold parties, pass out fliers, grab people off the street. It’s up to you, but the more people that vote for your film, the more likely you are to win.
Criteria for consideration are:
After voting closes, the tally will be counted, with the judges’ portion and popular vote portion added together to determine the MTFP winner.