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West Fest 2012

Headin’ Into The Wild West
To be considered for participation in West Fest, films must depict a setting or time period where a rugged lifestyle and constant struggle for survival in a lawless society is the accepted way of life.   Characters in the story must also be driven by strong codes of honor and seek out personal or private justice.

The film may be in any genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Drama, Sci-fi, etc. as long as the above theme requirements are met.

Western-themed film examples produced by Hollywood are:  “A Fistful of Dollars”, “True Grit”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Jonah Hex”, “Cowboys & Aliens”, etc.

PRODUCTION DATES AND DEADLINE

West Fest films must be made between April 8th, 2012 and July 13th,  2012.  Films produced before or after these dates are not eligible for the fest.

Deadline for entries is July 13th, 2012 at 11:59pm Central Daylight Time (GMT -5).

QUALIFYING COMPONENTS FOR FILMS

1.  Required Element. Films must include any one of the three following elements.  Characters in the film must use the prop for its intended purpose in at least one scene in the film.   Choose any of these three elements:

EMPTY WATER CANTEEN. Any container (tin, metal, leather bladder, etc.) typically designed to carry water for an individual.  A character in the film must demonstrate that the canteen is empty.

GOLD NUGGETS. Small, formless nuggets of gold.  Characters must identify these as gold.

WANTED POSTER. Must be clearly displayed.  The poster must also announce the typical wanted information about the outlaw or individual that is “wanted” by the law.

2. Leader. Every film must be preceded by an official West Fest film leader.  Leaders will be provided by the South Texas Film Alliance and will be available for download at www.stxfilm.com at least two weeks before the deadline.  Leaders must not be visually modified in any way,

3. Running Time. There is no minimum length for films.  We’d like to see strong, compelling stories.  If filmmakers feel they can tell that story in 30 seconds, that’s fine.  However, films must run no longer than 10 minutes!  Maximum!  Filmmakers should aim for a running length of 8 minutes.  We are providing 2 “grace minutes” for this fest.  (Future fests may have just 1 grace minute and a shorter running length, so please read the rules carefully!)  Films that run just ONE FRAME over the 10 minute time limit will be disqualified!  Please don’t test us on this.

NOTE:  The length of the leader does not count toward the total running time of the film.  Each filmmaker has 10 minutes plus the length of the leader, which will usually run 10 to 30 seconds.

4. Film Title/Credits. All West Fest films must include a title which must appear at some point during the film duration.  We would also strongly encourage flmmakers to include at least 30 seconds of credits.  However, credits are not required, as they will count toward the 10 minute time limit.

5. Rating/Content. West Fest films must have an equivalent MPAA rating of “R” or lower. Please refer to mpaa.org for general guidelines or ask us before submitting if you’re unsure.  Please use common sense.  Excessive, sustained violence and gore, sex or graphic nudity may not qualify as an R-Rating.  South Texas Film Alliance reserves the right to not screen any film we feel is inappropriate, regardless of rating.

6. Copyright. No copyright violations will be allowed.  All material in West Fest films must be royalty-free, licensed, public domain, or completely original.  This includes music, sound effects, script/story, artwork, or any other elements where an outside party may own a copyright.  It is the filmmaker’s responsibility to secure all necessary release/permission forms during production.  We assume absolutely no liability for copyright violations.  All films will be pre-screened and we will use our best effort to ensure there are no copyright violations prior to the public screening.  Any film known to have a copyright violation will be removed from the festival and will not be eligible for any awards.

7. Promotional Trailer. Filmmakers must submit a 30-second or 60-second promotional trailer for their film.  This should be an accurate representation of the  film entry and should be compelling enough to make the audience want to see the film.  We would like to have trailers that are just 30 seconds in duration.  However, trailers may be 60 seconds if needed.    The trailer (and poster) must be submitted before the deadline, just like the film.  Trailers will not be judged and will not affect how the films are scored, but they are required for the film to qualify!

Trailers MUST BE EXACTLY either 30 or 60 seconds!  We want to keep all trailers consistent, and will not accept trailers shorter than 30 seconds, longer than 60 seconds, or any length that falls between 30 and 60 seconds.

8. Poster. A poster must also be submitted with each West Fest entry.  Poster dimensions must be 1280px (Wide) x 1986px (High), 150 dpi or 300 dpi.  These are the same dimensions as a standard one sheet (27” x 40”), but on a much smaller scale.  Like the trailers, posters will not be judged and do not count in the scoring, but they must be submitted prior to the fest deadline.  A poster can be as simple as the title of your film against a solid color, as long as it measures the proper dimensions.

We want to keep all posters consistent.  Do not create posters that deviate from these dimensions, or make the poster landscape rather than portrait.

Acceptable file formats include: .psd, .pdf, .jpg, .png, or 24-bit .bmp.

File size should be no larger than 5MB.

ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS

1. Number of submissions. Each filmmaker may enter up to two (2) films.  However, they must be separate films, not two parts of the same film or story.  There will be no limit on the number of films filmmakers can collaborate on, and we would strongly encourage filmmakers to collaborate on multiple films.

2. Public exhibition of entries. West Fest films, in whole or in part, may not be publicly exhibited in any form prior to the conclusion of West Fest.  This includes posting footage on the internet and also applies to trailers.  To clarify, no moving images (even cut scenes, unused footage, trailers, bloopers, etc.) may be publicly exhibited prior to the conclusion of the festival.  Any footage from a West Fest film that is publicly exhibited will disqualify the entry from competition, and the entry will not be eligible for any prizes, awards, or acknowledgments.

Exceptions:

STFXA may run television or online advertisements promoting West Fest.  The fest organizers may use at their discretion selected clips from certain entries.  This is for promotional purposes and the clips will be selected by the organizers only.

Filmmakers may use still frames from their entry to promote their film anywhere. Photos of cast and crew or taken on the film set are also acceptable.

Video footage of interviews, cast/crew profiles, or behind the scenes activities is also acceptable.  However, any video footage must be from “behind the scenes” only and not directly feature fictional elements.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

1. Entry Fee. There are no film submission fees for West Fest.  Like our previous fests, participation is free and open to the public.  We would like to encourage all filmmakers to produce quality films and enjoy the filmmaking process.

2. Eligibility. West Fest is open to anyone from any country.  Films may be produced in any language.  However, if the films are in a language other than English, they must be subtitled in English.

3. License. By submitting an entry to West Fest, filmmakers agree to grant South Texas Film Alliance the non-exclusive right to use their film and trailer to promote the festival, to screen the entry publicly, and to include the entry in a DVD should there be a DVD produced.

UPLOADING OF FILM ENTRIES

Instruction on uploading films will be posted on www.stxfilm.com by July 6th, 2012.  The upload link will remain active until the submission deadline passes.  Filmmakers are encouraged to upload films as early as possible, allowing them time to make adjustments to their entry should there be a rule compliance violation.  Filmmaker will be allowed to make necessary changes and re-upload their entry up until the deadline.

JUDGING/VOTING

Films will be judged on quality and originality.  We are looking for strong storytelling skills and high production value.  Judges will provide detailed feedback on all screened entries and scores will be provided to filmmakers upon request.  As in any art form, opinions about a particular film may be subjective.  We would like to keep West Fest, and any subsequent fests, a fun experience for everyone.  We make every effort to remain fair and unbiased.  Genuine concerns about judging/fairness will be addressed in future fests.  However, during the current fest all judge’s decisions are final.

We provide filmmakers their scores as a source of reference for possible improvement in their filmmaking skills and why (according to the judges) their film placed where it did.  Judging scores will only be provided to the corresponding filmmaker, and will only be provided if requested by the filmmaker.

The audience at the screening will also have a chance to vote.  Films with the highest vote average will be recognized as the “Audience Favorite.”

Acknowledgements awarded for West Fest are as follows:  Best Film (1st Place), Best Film (2nd Place), Best Film (3rd Place), Best Fight Sequence,  Audience Favorite Award. As we move forward, future fest may recognize additional categories (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Music, etc.)  No award categories will be added during a running fest.

QUESTIONS/CONCERNS

If there are any issues we have not addressed here please let us know.  Visit www.stxfilm.com for current contact information.