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Official Selection

How it all works. 

  • Pre-screening Committees - Committees are selected early on to view all the movies submitted to the Festival in the specific film categories. So, there is a committee for documentaries, for features, for shorts, and for animations. These committees select the films that will become official selections. There are five to ten people on a pre-screening committee. They start work as soon as entries are received.

  • Official Selections - An official selection is any film that was submitted to the festival, was accepted by the appropriate pre-screening committee, and paid the appropriate entry fee.  It does not mean that the film will necessarily be part of the festival programme.


  • Special Selections - Special selections are films that the festival invites or solicits after the submission process has ended to round out the program, usually they have to pay a screening fee for these films and often times these films are already in theatrical release and this category applies to classic films as well.

  • Films in Competition - The pre-screening committees are given a rough guide about how many films they can accept as official selections. Of those, they pick what they consider the best. These are then the films in competition and get sent to the jury panels.  There is some negotiation between the coordinators of the pre-screening committees and Director of the film festival to ensure that ultimately there is a good balance of genres and national representation, etc. They have to narrow it down so that the jury panels have time to watch the films and make their choices.  The Director of Programming will work with the Board to determine the films that are screened.

  • Jury Panels - Once the Films in Competition are selected the pre-screening committees are done and the films are given to jury panels. These also tend to be five to ten people who haven't been involved the selection process before this. They choose the best films for each category.

  • Audience Awards - Some festivals have an audience award.  All feature length films (over 60 minutes) are eligible for the audience award which is voted on by the audience. The best audience award feature film and documentary are usually be screened on the last day of the festival, they will be announced at the awards party. 

  • Exhibition Films - These are films that have been invited by the festival often as a showcase or because they have special significance to the festival.  They are not part of the competition.


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