I don’t like online submissions, can I submit via paper?
No. We no longer accept submissions that do not go through Withoutabox or FilmFreeway. It is difficult to keep track of films we can’t manually enter into Withoutabox’s system and when there’s no electronic record of a submission, it makes addressing problems (I.E. a film was submitted, but the DVD didn’t arrive, a main contact has to be changed, etc.) troublesome.[/acc_item]
I submitted last year and wasn’t accepted. Can I resubmit?
Yes. However, we recommend doing so only if the version being submitted is a radically different cut or if the previous submission was a work in progress with lots to be done. We also program thematically so a short that may have not fit the blocks of one year, may be appropriate for the next year. BUT, full disclosure, it’s been rare a resubmitted film has been accepted the next year. If you do resubmit, please note that the film is a resubmission and what changes were made between the different cuts.
How will we be notified*?
Accepted films will receive an invitation letter by email. Films not accepted will also be notified by email by the notification deadline. Your status of not accepted and accepted will also be reflected in Withoutabox or FilmFreeway. If you do not receive an email within 7 days after the notification date, please contact us. Before contacting us, reconfirm who is listed as the primary contact and their email.
We also suggest that if the submitter is temporary (an intern, production assistant, etc.) a permanent contact be used as the primary and that a phone number and email address always associated with the production be used. Note: Email filters have a hard time with addresses that start with info@, mail@, admin@, etc. If you’re using an email@example.com email address it’s more likely your notification email may not arrive. We also suggest using an email address that someone checks at least daily.
*Notification dates are subject to change, please check the festival website every few weeks for updates. We strive to notify all submitters via email when a change will be made.
Questions about Sending in Submitted Films
When must submitted films arrive?
The deadline dates are not postmark deadlines, they are the dates by which your film must be received in our office. We understand there are delays that cannot be foreseen. If your film will not arrive by the deadline due to a last minute issue, you can contact us so we can evaluate options.
How do I know you received my film?
In your Withoutabox or FilmFreeway account, you'll see a message indicating that your film satisfies all requirements and is in consideration. If you see a yellow circle, you’ve partially satisfied the requirements. We may have received payment, but not a film, a film but no payment, or only one DVD or a Blu-ray but not 2 DVDs. Please contact us to find out what is needed to move your film into consideration. If you see a red circle, we have either not received your film, an error was made on our part and we need to correct it, or there’s been an upload error with Withoutabox or FilmFreeway. If you’ve sent your film in and it’s been more than 7 business days, please contact us as soon as possible. If you uploaded your film, please contact Withoutabox or FilmFreeway so they can investigate.
How many copies of the DVD should I send?
Two. It allows two screeners to be watching the film simultaneously and usually guarantees that we will have at least one playable version of a film.
Do you accept online screeners? Can I send an outside link?
Yes. You may submit Vimeo links with passwords. You'll find that information on the How to Submit section of Withoutabox or FilmFreeway. We will also be emailing submitters on a regular basis with the forms they can use to submit their links.
If I submit an online screener do I have to also submit 2 DVDs?
No. We either need an online screener or 2 DVDs, we don’t need both.
Can I submit a Blu-ray?
Yes. However, you must still send 2 copies on DVD in addition or submit an online version through Withoutabox or FilmFreeway.
Can we send updated versions of the film?
Yes. However, we ask that new versions arrive no later than the December 7 Late Deadline. With the new submissions coming in, it is unlikely we will be able to properly evaluate a new cut and give the new films coming in all the consideration they deserve.
Can we get the copy of our film back?
We do not return copies of submitted films.
Questions about Content, Types of Films in Consideration
What genres do you accept?
EVERYTHING! Yes, that includes horror and sci-fi.
How long can films be?
We consider a short anything 40 minutes or under and anything over 40 minutes as a feature. We have no cut off, but shorter is always better.
If I submit to one category, will I be considered for others I may be eligible for?
Yes. Because there is no submission fee, the only category we will not do this for is the Music Video and Music Film category. Films submitted under that category will not be considered for the Narrative, Animated or Experimental categories. A film submitted as a Narrative, Animated or Experimental short will be considered for the Music Video/Film category if it fits that description.
Do you have any ratings limitations? Must films be PG or PG-13? Do you program films with strong content and language?
We have no ratings limitations on films submitted. We program films with a variety content, from family friendly to work that would be more appropriate for mature audiences and would likely be rated R or higher. Our mission is to program great films and a strong lineup first and foremost.
Questions about ATLFF's Programming
Do you have competition sections?
Yes. Grand Jury Prizes for feature films include Narrative, Documentary and Pink Peach (LGBT). Grand Jury Prizes for shorts include Narrative, Animated, Pink Peach (LGBT), Documentary and Music Videos/Films.
Do you screen films out of competition?
How many films are put in competition?
In the Narrative and Documentary competition, 8 to 12 features compete in each section. In the Pink Peach competition, 6 to 8 features compete. In the Narrative, Animated, Pink Peach, Documentary and Music Videos/Films sections 10 to 25 shorts compete in each section. Not all accepted films will be put into competition.
Do you have a preference for local films or films with local connections?
Every year we strive to be a strong advocate of local talent and filmmakers. We are proud to highlight homegrown talent, films with local ties, and work made by ex-Atlantans and Georgians. However, being from Atlanta or Georgia does not guarantee acceptance and films have to stand along side with the other films in ATLFF’s programming. We never have a minimum number of local films we try to program, which is also why we don’t have a locals only section. By not having a locals only section, we can focus on programming a wide range of films from around the world and not be forced to reach an arbitrary number.
How do you program your shorts?
We program thematically. Excluding a few shorts programs every year, we do not choose the themes ahead of time. We look to see what themes we can build from the submissions received. Hence, why one year we will have an Other Worlds (Sci-Fi/Horror) block and another year have a Coming of Age block.
Do you program international films?
Yes, we love international films! Every year we screen films representing roughly 20 countries, selected from submissions received from over 90. We’d program more if we had the slots.
Do you prefer films with stars?
No. We prefer great and interesting stories.
Have you programmed films that are available online?
Yes, on a case by case basis. However, Narrative or Animated shorts that have more than 10% of the footage available online, even if pulled down, are disqualified from being eligible for the Academy Award shortlist. We can program those films, we cannot put those films into competition. See Academy Awards rules below for more information.
Questions about the ATLFF's Screening and Judging Process
I worked on or acted in a film, but didn’t produce or direct it, can I submit? I was the director, but not the producer, or vice versa, can I submit on my own?
If it’s not your film, it’s advisable to submit only after you’ve received permission from the filmmakers.
For directors and producers, we strongly advise that everyone is in a agreement about the festivals they are submitting to, which festivals they want to play first or want to premiere at, and which version of the film is being submitted.
When disputes arise, i.e. a film has been submitted without everyone’s explicit approval or the festival strategy has changed, we suggest that productions find a solution and come to an agreement with all the key decision makers before contacting us or any festivals the film has been submitted to. Please do not send an email asking us to pull the film until a decision has been made. Sending us an email letting us know an issue has arisen is fine. Hint: Bashing your director or producer for going behind your back will not win you points.
Who are your screeners?
We use 50 to 70 screeners from the Atlanta community to watch films each year. Some are filmmakers, some have been attending ATLFF for years, some screen for other festivals including the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and others are past ATLFF alums.
Can someone who submitted a film or worked on a submitted film also be a screener?
Yes. For above the line crew (typically director, producer, writer) we will restrict you from judging films in the same category you submitted in.
How are films scored?
Each film is watched by at least 2 screeners and films are scored using five criteria: Story, Technical, Originality, Acting/Subjects and Entertainment on a scale of 1 to 4. The scores are averaged for a final score.
The scores are used to help narrow down the large number of submissions to create a pool of films to make final selections from. The final pool varies year to year, but it’s roughly a third to a quarter of all submitted films that make it to the last round.
Are films selected based on scores?
No. When it comes to final selections, films are selected based on the overall filmmaking, variety and what will make the strongest and most interesting lineup. When it comes to selecting films, it’s a film’s content and quality that matter, not it’s score.
Are films only selected from the pool?
No. Depending on sections, films that did not make the final round, but thematically complete a program or pair well with a feature will be reevaluated and selected. We never consider a film officially not selected until we have announced our lineup. Film selection is about making curatorial choices that make the strongest group of films and we strive to revisit as many films as possible to make sure we create the strongest lineup.
Can I see my scores?
Due to the number of submissions received and technical limitations, it’s not possible for us to share scores at this time. It is something we continue to explore every year and hope to one day make available to all filmmakers.
Can I find out how my film is doing once I’ve submitted?
We ask that you do not email or call us to find out updates. We’re a year round arts organization, so we’re also running workshops, screenings and planning events, as well as overseeing the 2000 plus submissions we receive for the festival. We’re also working on multiple aspects of the festival (Seminars, Parties, Logistics, etc.) while submissions are in process. It’s not that we don’t want to give updates, it’s just nearly impossible to answer those questions in a timely manner.
It’s also nearly impossible to give an update that would accurately give a filmmaker an idea of how likely it is they’ll be selected. We’d hate to tell you your film received a high score in November, to only send you a not accepted email in January. Or, tell you that your film received so-so scores from screeners in September and bum you out for months, to only have a programmer see it, think your film has merit and is the final missing piece for a particular shorts program, and it gets programmed in January…yes, it’s happened.
Who makes final selections?
Final selections are made by the Artistic Director and Associate Programmers.
Questions about Academy Award Qualifications for Narrative and Animated Shorts
(answers pulled from Academy Website Rule 19 section regarding Short Films)
Can my film play on television, cable, pay per view, video on demand, the Internet, on airlines or in other similar venues and still be eligible for Academy Award consideration?
Yes, but not until after the film's Los Angeles theatrical release or after it receives its qualifying festival award or Student Academy Award.
But I want to show part of my film on the Internet to raise money.
You may show excerpts of the film totaling up to ten percent of the film's total running time.
My film was broadcast on television in a foreign country for one night before it opened theatrically in the U.S. Is it still eligible?
No. A television broadcast of any kind anywhere in the world that takes place before a short film wins its qualifying award or before its theatrical release disqualifies it from Awards consideration.
Questions answered? Go back to the submissions page to submit!