Rules: Film Festival

  1. Categories offered: Animation, Broadcast News, Commercial/Public Service Announcement, Demonstration, Documentary, Experimental, Music Video, or Narrative.
  2. Contest participation regulations
    1. Submitting registration obligates a school to pay WISDAA dues and contest registration fees whether or not the school actually participates.
    2. All schools are All schools are subject to WISDAA Interscholastic Participation Rules, including Eligibility/Participation §2.1, §2.2, and §2.3 pertaining to supervision and youth protection.
    3. Member schools may participate with nonmember schools in contests other than those sponsored by the Association, but such participation will not qualify contestants for WISDAA participation certificates.
    4. Where students appear on-screen, the advisor must attest that they have followed their school’s policies regarding video recording students (i.e., obtained parental permission/release forms). The film should not contain images or likenesses of any individuals who have not provided their authorization or whose parents or guardians have not provided authorization if such individuals are under age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence. The advisor/teacher must keep such documentation, should any question arise.
    5. Advisors are responsible for checking each video link; incorrect links, wrong sharing settings, or inaudible videos may be ineligible for awards.
  3. Entry: Each entry must be produced by a cast and crew of students starting as early as June 1 prior to the school year in which it is entered.
    1. Entries must be registered online by an adult who has been officially appointed/recognized by school administration as the festival contest advisor of record, who shall certify that all participating students are eligible to participate in interscholastic activities/contests per school policies. Each film entry submitted by a school will be assessed a flat $20 registration fee.
    2. As part of the registration process, for every five (5) film entries or fraction thereof to be submitted by the school, the advisor must identify an individual who will evaluate other schools’ entries. For each uncovered adjudicator required of a school, a $125 fee will be assessed.
    3. The school submitting a film must fully credit all participants in the registration process and in credits. Credits at the end of commercials and PSAs are not required nor expected.
    4. Adults may appear in films, but not in leading roles, and are not eligible for awards. Therefore, only lead talent must meet eligibility requirements. Other adult involvement is limited to advisers serving in a teaching capacity only. Advisors/teachers are responsible for ensuring compliance with school requirements for vetting (background checks) adults working with minors.
    5. Schools may submit to multiple independent film festivals; however, writers must not have already received a prize that includes a ‘first look’ clause or an option. If a submitted project becomes optioned or purchased between the time of submission and the end of the festival judging period, the applicant must notify the WISDAA immediately and that entry will no longer be eligible for an award.
    6. Accessibility requests: when registering entries, the coach should note accommodations and other requests required by any contestants as per their school’s protocols for doing so. Those will be reviewed by the state office, with specific instructions shared with each contest level. It is the coach’s affirmative responsibility to specify this information when registering entries; contest officials will ensure information is kept confidential.
  4. Content. Film content should be the original work of the entrants, who are the sole and exclusive owner(s) of all legal and equitable rights thereto with the full and exclusive rights to submit material to the competition. Films may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or non-fiction material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced that is not already in public domain, unless express permission has been given by the copyright holder, with such documentation submitted via the State Film Festival webpage.
    1. Works cannot be word for word from any other fiction or non-fiction material. Spoofs or editorials are acceptable based on existing copyright laws.
    2. An entry must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. If an entry contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant, and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submitting such entry, any and all written releases and consents necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the entry by the WHSFA, including, without limitation, name and likeness permissions from any person who appears in or is identifiable in the entry, music licenses and location releases. Proof of any permissions granted – including caregiver consent for individuals under age 18 – shall be submitted via the State Film Festival webpage.
    3. Neither a soundtrack nor music is required. Use of public domain or royalty free music is permitted. If copyright protected music is used, the use must be with permission, and such documentation of permission shall be submitted via the State Film Festival webpage. Music used may also be the original work of the entrants and credited as such.
    4. Opening titles and credits must fit within the maximum allotted time. Entries exceeding the maximum time will be adjudicated, but will be ineligible for awards.
    5. Films not in English must be subtitled in English unless dialogue is minimal and not necessary for the comprehension of the film. Subtitles are highly recommended for accessibility purposes in general; please make sure any subtitles are “Title Safe.”
    6. The school’s administration, or their designated advisor, must approve the film, such that it meets content appropriateness for that school’s community. Advisors should review with school administration, prior to recording, any questionable content, language, use of firearms or other weapons, or use of tobacco (including vaping) or other drugs.
  5. Non-exclusive rights. Entry to the Film Festival constitutes filmmakers’ irrevocable permission and consent, without compensation, for the WISDAA to showcase submission at the Film Festival or any other WISDAA event in as many screenings as the WISDAA deems appropriate.
  6. First Refusal. There is no exclusive requirement for this festival (new in 2023).
  7. Promotion, Publicity and Marketing. Entrants permit the WISDAA to use their name and/or likeness, contact information provided, title of work submitted, its logline and their results for promotional purposes. All films selected for screening may be edited, modified or excerpted for publicity purposes. The WISDAA reserves the right to promote any film to print, broadcast or internet media as required to market the Festival or the WISDAA.
  8. Adjudicators, ratings, and advancement.
    1. Each film shall be assessed by three adjudicators (educators, filmmakers, critics and film enthusiasts), who will review each submission in its entirety. All films will be evaluated in writing, and will be assessed for such standards as originality, cinematic storytelling, and technical execution. By their very nature, all evaluations are subjective as seen through eyes of adjudicators. Film crews and advisors should use comments and suggestions as guidelines in evaluating their own unique situation in an ongoing effort to improve their products and programs
    2. Adjudicators will rate each entry on 9 evaluation criteria, using a score of 1-4 points for each criterion.
  9. Awards – the following awards shall be given:
    1. Outstanding Cinematography: 4 points in “Cinematography” points from at least two adjudicators
    2. Outstanding Editing: 4 points in “Editing” from at least two adjudicators
    3. Outstanding Sound: 4 points in “Audio” from at least two adjudicators
    4. Outstanding Original Music: nomination from at least two adjudicators
    5. Outstanding Special Effects: nomination from at least two adjudicators
    6. Outstanding Screenplay (Animation, Documentary or Narrative categories): nomination from at least two adjudicators
    7. Outstanding Performance (Animation or Narrative categories): nomination by name/character from at least two adjudicators
    8. CRITIC’S CHOICE: 35-36 points overall from at least two adjudicators
  10. Concerns/protests
    1. The state office shall appoint a referee committee to review complaints or appeals submitted after contests. Any possible disqualifications or adjudication concerns shall be referred to this group for resolution.
    2. During a contest, individuals may register protests pertaining to violation of rules, which will be investigated by the referee committee for potential action.
    3. Adjudicator concerns
      1. Protesting adjudicator scores/comments: coaches, on behalf of themselves and/or their students, may protest an adjudicator’s application of a rule or criterion. The referee committee will review the complaint, but will not interpret adjudicators’ written comments, nor reconsider point deductions.
        1. At the contest, the referee committee will review the complaint and render a decision.
        2. Complaints must be received within five calendar days of the last round/time slot of any contest.
        3. Decisions of the committee are final and cannot be appealed to the executive director or Board of Control since this committee is already an appeal of adjudication.
      2. Remediating ineffective adjudication: coaches may complete the form referenced in above, selecting “remediation of poor adjudication” as their requested action.
      3. In all cases where a referee committee and/or State Office find adjudication has been ineffective, the office will send written feedback to the adjudicator explaining the concern. Serious infractions involving discrimination and/or violation of law will result in permanent suspension of all WISDAA adjudicator privileges.
    4. For concerns determined to be invalid, the state office will share written feedback with the complainant, explaining why it is not a valid concern.
  11. Harassment & Discrimination: The Wisconsin Interscholastic Speech & Dramatic Arts Association is committed to fostering safe and supportive learning environments for all student participants and adults at our interscholastic events. This requires mutual respect on the part of all people present. Accordingly, WISDAA prohibits all forms of harassment and discrimination by and to any person, whether written or oral, based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by any applicable federal, state, or local law. Individuals found to have violated this policy will be subject to a full range of sanctions, up to and including removal from the festival premises.
Updated on 03/06/2024
How helpful was this article?