FilmFest Rules and Guidelines  

FilmFest 2015

1. Like last year, we have a list of control elements from which you must choose three to put in your movie.

  • Here are the control elements: 
  • Backpack 
  • Cellphone 
  • Handshake 
  • A line with the word “Reach” in it. 
  • Famous movie quote 
  • Dancing (in some form) 
  • Glasses

2. Once all of the films have been submitted, a first round of judges will decide on the top 10 films and then those will be shown at the Paramount.

3. Each team will also be required to submit a FilmFest Team Registration Form, along with a deposit of $30, on January 23rd. The deposit will be returned to you once your film has been submitted.

4. Your production team must consist of at least three people. This does not include actors.

5. Your film must run ten minutes or less, with a seven second bumper containing your film's name, genre category, and running time.

6. Your film must be submitted by Sunday, March 15th 2015.

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Participants / FilmFest Teams  

1. FilmFest is open to all ACU students. Teams must be comprised of ACU students, but faculty and staff may participate given the following stipulations:

  • Teams must be predominantly student populated
  • A “student” is defined as someone enrolled in at least 12 hours at ACU
  • Faculty or Staff team members may not perform in a role that relates to their professional area of focus and will not be considered for prizes or awards. (i.e. an English professor can not write a screenplay for submission.)
  • ACU students with faculty or staff status will be considered as participants and not able to compete in FilmFest for prizes and awards

2. Non-ACU student, staff, or faculty may participate as actors or musicians, but will be considered as non-competitive roles.

3. Production teams may consist of up to 6 people* filling the following roles:

  • Producer: The team leader responsible for managing the project and overseeing the scheduling, rule compliance, communication, location scouting, and legal responsibilities
  • Director: Maintains the vision of the project, handling storyboarding, and directs the shooting and editing of the film. The Director also works with the Producer in casting and location scouting.
  • Writer: Creates the story and script, including any needed revisions
  • Production Designer: Responsible for all non-digital aspects of production, including set design, props, costume design, and non-digital special effects
  • Technical Director: Handles the technical aspects including cinematography, video and audio editing, and digital composition and effects
  • Sound Designer: Responsible for the audio quality of production including music, sound effects, foley work, and music composition.
  • Students may fill multiple roles in individual productions.                                                 

4. By participating in FilmFest, Participants agree to all of the aforementioned terms and agreements and all those contained in the remainder of this document “FilmFest 2012: Rules & Guidelines.”

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1. Entrants must complete and sign the FilmFest entry application and pay the $40 entry before production may begin. The entry fee provides each registered production team member with a 2012 FilmFest t-shirt and one(1) ticket to Premiere Night.

2. All film treatments/scripts must be approved before production can begin.

3. All films must be between 3 - 6 minutes in length including titles and credits.

4. All participating entrants must be in production on mandatory production dates.

5. Films for the competition must be original work fully produced during the allotted production period. This will be gauged by the use of control elements(s).

6. Teams may not spend more than $400 on their production, not including travel expenses. Receipts will be turned in with the production manual.

7. Films must incorporate the mandatory control element(s) provided by FIlmFest.

8. Experimental films unable to accommodate the control will not be considered for prizes in the competition without first contacting a FilmFest chair on how to incorporate some type of control element. Written consent is then needed as an added measure of fairness.

9. Each film must have a 15 second information bumper (not included in the 3 – 5 minutes for your films) at the beginning to provide:

  • Title
  • Genre
  • Run-time

10. All submitted films must be accompanied by a production notebook containing all location and talent releases, receipts and invoices associated to the production (not including travel expenditures), any documentation supporting the permissions, and the film treatment. While these are the minimal elements, other content may be included. Failure to submit a production notebook could result in disqualification from the competition portion.

11. Entrants must select a category into which to submit their films. The categories* are as follows:

    • Drama
    • Comedy
    • Documentary/Informational
    • Music Video
    • Experimental
    • Categories are subject to change without notice pending the amount of films submitted for individual categories

12. Films must adhere to MPAA PG rating specifications, and to all ACU policies and rules. Only approved PG and under ratings will be accepted.

13. All films must adhere to the policies of Abilene Christian University as stipulated in the ACU Student Guide. These include actions such as (but not limited to) cursing, tobacco and alcohol use, and sexually suggestive language or content. View full Student Guide

  • With approval, the illusion of some actions can be created.

14. The approved treatment & final production must match within a reasonable degree of similarity for plot and theme. Any major deviation without prior approval may result in disqualification. Approval of deviations from an accepted film treatment should be submitted for re-approval.

15. Each film entry must have the appropriate forms and entry fee of $40.

16. All deadlines are final. No accommodations will be made. A missed deadline will result in disqualification.

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1. All participants are responsible for securing equipment to be used on their own individual projects. Limited quantities of equipment will be available for use during the production phase through the ACU Learning Center.

2. There are no limitations on the types of equipment (cameras, microphones, etc.) or technologies (editing software, special effects/compositing software, etc.) used during the production phase of FilmFest. However, participants are responsible for their own equipment selections. FilmFest will not be held responsible for any misuse of equipment, or missed deadlines due to the type of equipment or technologies used during the production phase of FilmFest.

3. Editing stations will be available in the ACU Learning Studio.

4. Entrants are personally responsible for all ACU equipment that is used during the contest. Should any equipment become damaged or lost under their care, entrant shall be held fully responsible for repair or replacement.

5. Contest resources are shared, so entrants should not do anything that would jeopardize the usefulness of the tools for other students (including, but not limited to, using too much space on a computer hard drive). Entrants acknowledge no guarantee that any material left on a FilmFest computer will remain untouched.

6. Props, scenery, actors, etc., are the responsibility of the entrants.

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Awards and Prizes  

1. Although people from outside of ACU can participate as actors in the films, they are not eligible as production team members and may not receive prizes.

2. Films will be judged for the quality of the film as individual work and for the performance of the roles within a FilmFest production team listed below. Judging criteria will be forwarded to Student Producers during the first week of production. 

  • Producer
  • Director
  • Writer
  • Production Designer
  • Technical Director
  • Sound Designer

3. An individual may only receive one prize package.

4. Individuals may receive multiple awards when qualifying in multiple categories.

5. Awards will be granted in the following categories as appropriate:

  • Best Producer
  • Best Director
  • Best Writer
  • Best Technical Director
  • Best Production Designer
  • Best Sound Designer
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Original Music Composition
  • Best Picture
  • People’s Choice
  • Best Category - Awarding of category awards is dependent on the number of entries submitted for a genre.

6. All decisions of the judges and FilmFest organizers are final.

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All completed films will be submitted as DV files or as instructed. Production notebooks and project files will need to be included as part of the submission. Films submitted with incomplete or missing production notebooks may be immediately disqualified from the competition portion of FilmFest.

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Weekend Events  

FilmFest 2012 will include the following events:

  • FilmFest Chapels as scheduled
  • Screening of all films at the Paramount
  • Premiere Night Awards Show (including pre-show)
  • After Show Judges / Participants Mixer
  • Judges Symposium

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Submission of a complete film entry in the ACU FilmFest grants ACU permission to show the work at the festival and have the work reproduced, either in whole or part, for educational or promotional purposes.


All entries using copyrighted material (sound or picture) must obtain proper clearances and permission to use the material. Documentation showing this clearance and permission must be submitted with the application. Examples of copyrighted material may include: popular music, stock footage and still photographs. It is the Filmmakers responsibility to obtain rights, clearances and permission. The ACU Film Festival & Exposition (FilmFest) assumes no responsibility for violation of copyright law.


The organizers of FilmFest discourage students from engaging in any activity or action involved in the production process deemed hazardous, or that exposes students to any unnecessary risk or potential harm. Students taking risks do so of their own accord and ACU, or the organizers of FilmFest cannot be held responsible for injuries or harm to property occurring during the course of participants’ involvement in the event.

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