HD cameras have allowed the filmmaking industry to flourish in every city around the world, it’s no longer contained within a few select cities. This in turn has overwhelmed film festivals with submissions to the point where fewer and fewer films actually get seen on the big screen. Attending the Boston International Film Festival in 2010 I had the opportunity to speak with the program director who told me that they had 2500 film submissions that year and were only able to screen about 170 films. He found that to be both exciting and disappointing because there are more talented people making films that otherwise couldn’t, but a fewer percentage can actually be screened. For the Boston festival the 170 films represented about 7% of the submissions and we have since come to learn that on average only 5-6% of films get accepted into any festival.
The point of this story? First, filmmakers should never, never , never, let rejection from a film festival discourage submissions or let it disappoint or make one think that it is a reflection of the quality of their film. Films festivals consider many things, not just which films are best, because they are formatting a program. When festivals send rejection letters stating they had so many great submissions and the selection was very difficult, it’s the truth. With more time and money every festival would accept tons more films for screening. Then comes the second point, namely, we decided to help promote Asian-American, Asian-Australian, Asian-UK filmmakers. The immediate problem is that having a traditional festival would be no better at accepting films for screening as any other festival, so fuck traditional. Here comes the Asians On Film Festival and here is what filmmakers can expect:
1. The festival will be non-profit and have a an incredibly low submission fee to encourage as many films as possible to be submitted and there will be a rolling deadline so that filmmakers can submit them when they are done instead of when submissions are open.
2. Films that are submitted will be previewed by four filmmakers during quarterly deadlines and will be rated in various categories for a total maximum grade of 100%. All films with an overall grade of 70% or greater will automatically be listed as ACCEPTED regardless of the number of films submitted. This we hope will create some buzz and acknowledgement for good films which we hope in turn will help filmmakers moving forward as they promote their films further.
3. The top 5 graded films in each category will also receive an official nomination for “best” in the category and of course a winner in each category will be awarded each quarter.
4. The quarterly winners and the highest scored runner-up (for all categories) will qualify for year-end competition (5 in each category). These films will be screened with the audience selecting year-end winners. This way industry people will have chosen the best for each quarter but the viewing audience will select the yearly winners.
As we finish setting parameters, our withoutabox submission page, and other details to get us off the ground, we will keep people up to date about tweaks we are making. Submissions will be open January 2012!