Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS 'SCRIPT TO SCREEN' & 'HOMEGROWN' ?

SCRIPT TO SCREEN‘ is our awesome new category! Let’s say you have a few ideas and don’t know which script is any good or what project to start next. Submit to us and we’ll judge it as if it were your film. We’re good at picturing it in our mind, don’t worry! If you get accepted you’ll get a provisional acceptance into the festival! You’ll of course have to submit the film a few weeks prior to the festival so we can give it a quick once over and make sure it’s essentially the same film. We’ll of course grant you a few changes due to issues that come up during production.

The earlier you get your script(s) in the sooner we’ll get back to you and then you can begin making your film! You should have a few months to make it but considering the quality that comes out of events such as the ’48Hour Film Fest’ we think a few months is a good amount of time.

*Not to mention, it should make shooting a little easier knowing before you’ve even hit record you’ve been accepted to a Film Festival!! It should make getting actors and crew on board a little easier.

HOMEGROWN’ is a category only open to CSRA residents. We wanted our local filmmakers to have a place to show their work and what better place than a film festival right here in their area!

WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED FORMAT FOR SUBMISSION?

Films should be submitted to us on a single DVD-R or DVD+R disc, and we would prefer that they be sent in a simple paper CD/DVD sleeve in order to cut down on waste. Once we receive your DVD, the case or sleeve will be recycled, so it doesn’t matter what type of packaging you use to submit your disc. DVDs must be compatible with standard set-top DVD players– do not simply burn a quicktime or AVI file to a disc as data. Please ensure that your disc plays in a standard DVD player before it is mailed to us!

CAN I UPLOAD MY FILM DIGITALLY INSTEAD OF SENDING A DVD?

Yes, we will accept a link to your film on Vimeo, or YouTube for review but we must have a DVD by September 2nd or else your film can not be shown at the festival.

DO YOU ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS ON VHS OR ANY OTHER FORMAT?

No. Films must be submitted on either a standard DVD-R/DVD+R or DVD-R/DVD+R Dual Layer disc. For the purposes of reviewing your initial submission, we cannot accept Blu-Ray, VHS, Beta, Mini-DV, HD-CAM, 16mm, 35mm or any other format not referenced in items 1 & 2 above.

WHY DON’T YOU ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS ON BLU-RAY?

It has proven to be more efficient to use to one standardized format for viewing submitted films. For that reason, we ask that you do not submit a physical disc in any format other than DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-R Dual Layer, or DVD+R Dual Layer. You may not submit discs that will only play in a Blu-Ray player, even if they are burned to a standard DVD.

HOW DO YOU DISTINGUISH SHORT FILMS FROM FEATURE FILMS?

Films with running times of less than 50 minutes are classified as Shorts. Films that are 50 minutes or longer are classified as Features. You should select your submission category based on what the final projected running time of the film will be, including credits. We have no minimum or maximum length restrictions– all we ask is that your film be submitted on a single DVD.

IF MY FILM INCLUDES NON-ENGLISH DIALOGUE, DO YOU REQUIRE ENGLISH SUBTITLES?

We require that all films that contain significant non-English dialogue include on-screen English subtitles. A translated list of dialogue on paper is not sufficient! If your film is mostly in English and you intend to intentionally leave out subtitles for any non-English dialogue included in the film, you do not need to provide subtitles for those particular sections.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE WITH MY SUBMISSION?

After you have completed the online application, all we need from you is a single copy of your film. In an effort to cut down on waste, we ask that you do not send printed press or promotional materials to us– we will not keep anything in your package except for your DVD. Quite often, films sent to us in standard size retail DVD cases will become dislodged during shipping, resulting in scratched, unplayable discs, so we recommend mailing your film in a paper sleeve or slim jewel or clam-shell case. Please refrain from taping your disc to any surface, as tape residue may also render your disc unplayable. Our preferred method of packaging is a medium (approximately 6” x 9”), bubble padded envelope. This is not a requirement, but it does help make the process run more smoothly. It is not necessary to wrap your DVD in bubble wrap and mail it to us in an oversized box. Doing so will only make it more difficult for us to process your film once it is received. Please do not use a paper label on your disc! There are many different variables with stickers and paper labels that could render your disc unplayable– a permanent marker (such as a Sharpie) will work just fine. Discs with text or graphics printed directly on the surface are also acceptable. Please write or print your film’s title and tracking number directly on the face of the disc, like below: Please note that our address has changed! All submissions should be mailed to us at the address below.

2016 Southern City Film Festival PO Box 275, Aiken SC 29802

HOW OLD CAN MY FILM BE AND STILL QUALIFY FOR SUBMISSION?

Any film submitted for 2014 Festival consideration must have been completed in either 2011, 2012, or 2013. If your film was completed prior to 2011, it is no longer eligible for submission. If your film’s production took place prior to 2011 but your final cut was not completed until 2011 or 2012, your film is still eligible.

WILL YOU NOTIFY ME IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE MY FILM?

Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to contact each applicant individually if we do not receive his or her film. It is your responsibility to make sure that your package makes its way to our office. Once your film has been marked as received in our system, we will send an email to you letting you know. Alternately, you may also include a self- addressed, stamped postcard, which we will mail back to you once your submission has been processed. Due to the volume of submissions we are expecting to receive, we ask that you allow up to one month for us to process your submission once it has been mailed. If your film has still not been marked as received within this period of time, contact us at submissions@southerncity.org for further instructions.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO GET MY DVD TO PLAY?

We will make every effort to play your DVD, but in the event that we are unable to view your film, we will attempt to contact you to request another copy using the primary contact information that you provided on your application. However, there is no guarantee that we will get your replacement disc in time, and we must give preference to those who sent in a working copy to begin with. For this reason, we ask that you make absolutely sure that your DVD plays all the way through BEFORE you submit it to us!

CAN I SUBMIT A NEWER CUT OF MY FILM AFTER I’VE ALREADY SUBMITTED AN EARLIER VERSION?

Sending in replacement cuts after you have already submitted a prior version of the film can cause a great deal of confusion throughout the screening process and it is also not fair to those who sent in a cut prior to their selected submission deadline. If you pay $40 to submit your short film to us by the early deadline, you absolutely may not send us a replacement cut once that deadline has passed. We reserve the right to disqualify, without refund of any or all submission fees, any applicant who attempts to avoid submission fees by sending in a replacement cut of their film after their selected deadline has passed.WE WILL ONLY VIEW THE FIRST CUT OF YOUR FILM THAT WE RECEIVE!

IF MY FILM HAS AIRED ON TELEVISION, MAY I STILL SUBMIT IT?

If your film is a short (less than 50 minutes in length), it is still eligible even though it has been broadcast on television. If your feature-length film (50 minutes or longer) had one or more nationwide television airings in one or more countries, that particular cut is NOT eligible for submission. However, it may be submitted if the version that aired on TV is significantly different from the one you wish to submit. For example, a documentary that aired in an hour-long TV slot may still be submitted if a longer cut is created for the purposes of theatrical distribution. Though we reserve the right to make a final determination on any given film’s submission eligibility, those that were broadcast locally or regionally and did not receive a nationwide television broadcast in any country are still eligible to submit the same cut that was broadcast.

CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM AS A ROUGH CUT?

A large percentage of the films submitted to us every year are unfinished versions with incomplete or temporary sound, missing scenes, no credits or titles, unfinished effects, etc. However, it does need to be complete enough for us to be able to make a decision. If you expect that your final version will be 90 minutes long, it’s probably not a good idea to send us a 45 minute rough cut. Whenever possible, you should provide an on-screen description of missing scenes or elements as placeholders within the continuity of the film.

CAN I SUBMIT MY FILM WITH A TEMPORARY MUSIC TRACK?

Temp tracks, scratch music, and temp scores are perfectly fine for your submission, but please include a list of missing or temporary elements directly on-screen before the film begins.

AM I REQUIRED TO OBTAIN RIGHTS CLEARANCE FOR MUSIC OR OTHER COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL INCLUDED IN MY FILM?

From a legal standpoint, you must clear all copyrighted material included in your film before you can publicly screen it. However, Southern City does not check to ensure that you have obtained clearance for these materials at any point during the application process, nor will we be held responsible for any inclusion of uncleared materials in your film. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Films that are accepted into the Festival must sign a waiver stating that materials used in the film do not violate any existing copyright. Quite often, rights holders offer reduced rates for festival films, so you should contact them directly to avoid any possible rights infringements.

DO I NEED TO MEET A MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENT IN ORDER TO SUBMIT A FILM?

No, we encourage filmmakers of all ages to submit their work. However, we do not have any separate categories or programs specifically related to young or student filmmakers. All submitted films will compete against each other for available slots in each program. If you are under the age of 18 and your film is accepted, we will require signed, written permission from your parent or legal guardian before we are able to screen your film.

HOW MANY FILMS MAY I SUBMIT?

You may submit as many films as you’d like. Upon doing so, you may fill out individual applications for multiple films. We do not offer reduced rates in fees for multiple submissions. If you submit three films, you must pay the submission fees for all three of them. Please do not submit multiple projects on the same DVD. If we receive a submission with multiple films on one disc, we will only consider the first film included.

WHAT IF MY CONTACT INFORMATION OR ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT MY SUBMISSION CHANGES AFTER I’VE FILLED OUT THE APPLICATION?

We will use the public contact information from your application to contact you regarding problems with your submission and to notify you of your acceptance status, so please ensure that this information is always kept up-to-date.

WHEN WILL I FIND OUT IF MY FILM WAS SELECTED?

We will contact you via e-mail April 29, 2014. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes after you’ve filled out the application. We will not be held responsible for any failed delivery of notification! If you haven’t heard from us by May 10th, please contact us at programming@SCfilmfestival.com for an official notification.

YOU DON’T ACTUALLY WATCH ALL OF THESE SUBMISSIONS, RIGHT?

We depend on new talent and new filmmakers to uphold our mission as a Festival of talent. If we didn’t watch the films submitted to us, we would miss out on so many new works of independent film. If your film is received in time, your account is paid in full, and there are no playability issues with your DVD, your film will be treated exactly the same as all other films submitted to us for consideration.

WHAT TYPES OF FILMS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? WHAT STANDS OUT?

We celebrate the independent spirit of interesting and original storytelling. Diverse voices and films that push the limits of style and narrative also excite us, but there is no single aesthetic that we look for over any other. We are mainly looking for great films and interesting points of view.

IF MY FILM IS NOT CHOSEN, MAY I SPEAK WITH A PROGRAMMER FOR NOTES OR FEEDBACK?

Unfortunately, no. With up to 1,000 film submissions expected this year alone, it simply isn’t viable for us to correspond with each applicant individually. Don’t be discouraged if your film isn’t accepted– we view far more worthy films each year than we have room to play.

WHEN DOES THE 2015 SOUTHERN CITY FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

The Festival will take place in Aiken, South Carolina in October 2015. We hope to see you there!

WHERE DOES MY SUBMISSION FEE GO?

Southern City Film Festival is a competition that provides many different programs and initiatives for film and theatre writers, directors, actors, producers, and composers. Fees from Festival submissions help fund programs such as these, and also help us keep the submissions process thorough and democratic. We strive to process every package promptly and view every film with an attentive and unbiased eye. For more information about Southern City Institute’s many programs, please visit us at www.SCfilmfestival.com. The submission fee is non-refundable.

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