Winter Film Challenge Rules & Guidelines

COMPETITION: Feb. 3-6
PREMIERE: Feb. 12

REGISTRATION
Early Bird: Nov. 15 – Dec. 14
Regular: Dec. 15 – Jan. 14
Late: Jan. 15 – Feb. 3

2022 CHALLENGE WEEKEND
Thurs., 2/3 @ 8PM: Kickoff
Feb. 3-6: make great films
Sun., 2/6 @ 8PM: Drop Off

The Winter Film Challenge is a competition where teams have 72 hours to write, shoot, and edit a short film. Each team will be given a different genre for their film, as well as a specific prop and line of dialogue that must be included in the final film.

Completed films will be shown at the Official Screener a week following the Challenge. Qualifying films will be judged by a panel of film professionals and creative leaders. Prizes will be given out at the screener in the form of trophies, gift certificates, goodie bags, and a $1000 cash prize for the winning best film. A virtual screener will be made available to teams that cannot make the in-person Official Screener.

The Winter Film Challenge will start on Thursday February 3, 2022 at 8pm ET and will end on Sunday February 6, 2022 at 8pm ET. The films will be shown at an Official Screener on February 12, 2022 at a local theater in Portland, ME.

If you wish to participate in the Winter Film Challenge, you must assemble a team or join an already existing team. Each team must designate a Team Leader. Check out the complete Film Production Requirements below!

Thursday - Kickoff Event

A representative from each Team must be present (either in-person or virtually) to submit all necessary documents (ex. Team Agreement) and to find out their genre, line of dialogue, and prop.

Teams will select their genre out of a hat. The order of selection will be based on when the team has registered. Teams have an option to select one alternative genre out of the hat and pick the one they like best.

Weekend - Prep, Production, Post!

We recommend the following schedule:

  • Thursday Night/Friday: Write script, cast actors, gather costumes, props, etc.
  • Saturday: Shoot the film 
  • Sunday: Edit and drop off final film

Sunday - Drop Off

Teams must submit their film and all signed paperwork (ex. Talent, Crew, Location, Music Releases, etc.) by 8pm on Sunday via a USB flash drive, hard drive, or DropBox. Any films submitted after 8pm will be disqualified from awards, but will be shown at the Official Screener. 

The Challenge is open to filmmakers of all ages and levels of experience.

All Team Leaders must be a resident of the State of Maine. However, Team Members are not required to be residents of the state.

The in-person Event Kickoff and Official Screener will happen in Portland, ME. The MFA will provide virtual access to both the Event Kickoff and Official Screener so filmmakers who do not live in Southern Maine or choose to virtually attend can participate in the event.

Register for the Winter Film Challenge on Eventbrite! Early Bird Registration begins on November 15 and fees are $100*/$150 per team. Regular Registration begins December 15 and fees are $150*/$200 per team. Late Registration begins January 15 and fees are $200*/$250 per team. Teams can contact info@mainefilm.org for more information.

*Team Leaders who are MFA Members are eligible for a $50 discounted registration fee. When registering, use the code emailed to MFA Members to receive this discount. To join the MFA as a member, visit mainefilm.org/join.

Every team wishing to participate in the Winter Film Challenge must designate a Team Leader. This individual is responsible for entering the team in the Challenge and will serve as the point of contact throughout the competition. Additionally, this individual agrees to the rules of the competition, will sign the Winter Film Challenge Team Agreement on behalf of their team, will be responsible for team compliance with the rules and regulations and will accept the prize on behalf of the team. The Winter Film Challenge and MFA are not responsible for moderating or engaging in disagreements between Team Leaders or Team Members arising out of the Challenge.

Contact the MFA at info@mainefilm.com to get connected to existing teams.

If you are unable to participate and wish to withdraw from the Challenge you are eligible for a refund if you notify the MFA before January 20, 2022. No refunds will be administered after this date. Failure to complete a film during the Challenge set dates (Feb 3-6, 2022) does not qualify for a refund.

Each Team is responsible for all costs associated with preparation, production, and editing of their film.

A group of film professionals and creative leaders will judge the submitted films based on the following criteria:

  • Primary: Creativity
    Was the story engaging? Entertainment value? Did the filmmaker use available resources in interesting and creative ways?
  • Secondary: Technical Prowess
    How well the film was shot, recorded, edited, etc.
  • Tertiary: Challenge Requirements
    How well does the film align with the spirit and guidelines of the Challenge?

This document describes the rights, expectations and rules of Teams wishing to participate in the Winter Film Challenge. Team Leaders must sign the Agreement before Event Kickoff in order to participate in the Challenge. If a Team Leader is under 18, a parent or guardian must sign on their behalf.

The Winter Film Challenge Team Agreement will be made available to Team Leaders before Event KickOff.

Teams that fail to follow the Challenge Rules & Guidelines and those outlined in the Team Agreement will be disqualified from the Challenge.

FILM PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS

The Winter Film Challenge is a competition where teams have 72 hours to write, shoot, and edit a short film. At the Event Kickoff, Teams will select a genre out of a hat and the MFA will announce the prop and line of dialogue that must be included in every final film.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Elements and themes of a Team’s selected genre must be present. 
  • The line of dialogue must be said at least once onscreen by an actor. The line of dialogue cannot be shown as text or any physical manifestation.
  • The prop must be visible and prominent on screen at least once during the film. A photograph of the prop will suffice, but it is not enough just to mention the object in dialogue. 

Failure to follow any of these requirements will result in a film being disqualified from awards, but will still be shown at the Official Screener.

PREP

All creativity, preparation and filming must take place during the designated three days. Teams are not allowed to do any work ahead of the Challenge. This includes, but is not limited to, scripting, rehearsing, shooting, editing, finding music, sound design, etc.

The only work you CAN do ahead of Event Kickoff is organize a crew and cast, secure equipment and find locations.

Animation and special effects are allowed but must be created during the designated three days.

Stock footage is not allowed and will mean disqualification from awards.

Teams are allowed to use pre-recorded music and sound effects, as long as they have written permission from the artist/composer in the form of a Music Release.

PRODUCTION

To participate and submit a film in the Winter Film Challenge, every team must:

  1. Own all the right to the film produced. This includes but is not limited to any music, sound effects, digital recordings, images or video.
  2. Obtain written permission in the form of a Talent Release from each person who appears in the film. 
  3. Obtain written permission from all crew in the form of a Crew Release.
  4. Obtain written permission from all locations used in the form of a Location Release.
  5. Teams must submit signed copies of all documentation to the MFA upon submitting the final film. Failure to comply with any of these rules will result in a film being disqualified from awards and eliminated from any public broadcast opportunities.

A copy of a Talent, Crew, Location and Music Release will be given to each Team Leader before Event Kickoff. 

All films produced for the Winter Film Challenge must be suitable for publication and public display. Films may not contain obscene or pornographic material, films may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity and may not contain any copyrighted elements. 

Any films containing content that is determined to be obscene, offensive or defamatory by the MFA will be disqualified and removed from the Official Screener and all subsequent screeners. The MFA reserves the right to decide if a finished film is appropriate for viewing. 

FILM LENGTH

All finished films must run between 5-10 minutes, including opening and closing credits. Teams can include up to 15 seconds of credits total.

AFTER WRAP

Any films received after 8pm on Sunday will be shown at the Official Screener, but disqualified from awards. No exceptions!

Teams must turn in signed copies of provided releases for all talent, crew, locations and music with their finished film. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from awards.

Teams are not allowed to distribute their film in any way prior to the Official Screening (ex. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). Teams are allowed to share behind-the-scenes photos or stills from their finished film.

Teams that fail to follow the Film Production Requirements will be disqualified from the awards ceremony or removed from the Official Screener.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT!