The FAQ section is a constant work in progress as more and more questions are asked about the festival. Feel free to check and see if a question you have about the fest is answered here before you give us an email or call.
What is FilmQuest?
FilmQuest is a film festival centered around the Fantastic, and celebrates the best independent sci-fi, fantasy, and horror cinema in the world over 9 days of screenings, parties, events, workshops, panels and more in Utah each summer.
Should I submit my film?
Absolutely. If you made a genre based film, animated film, music video, web series, or wrote a screenplay, FilmQuest is for you!
Does a Judge watch my film all the way through?
Yes. While we receive over a thousand submissions each year, making it impossible for any one judge to watch every film all the way through, there is at least one judge that is a part of the selection committee that does. More often than not, a film will be screened by more than one judge. However, every film is either screened completely or reviewed in brief by the Directors of the festival to verify the assessment of each judge for each film before Official Selections are made.
What disqualifies my film?
If your film is older than 2 years 1/2 years old by the time your film would be screened at FilmQuest (for example, you released and premiered a film in 2018, and want to try to play in the 2021 FilmQuest), we would not seriously consider your film. That said, if a film older than our requirements is by chance accepted, it cannot screen in competition per Academy qualifying rules. Also, films of the adult cinema or XXX variety would not be considered. We also rarely accept films that are not genre based (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc.), and we would discourage you from submitting your film to the festival if it is not genre.
Is there a time limit for my film?
No. However, we consider Feature Films to start at a run time of 41 minutes and over. We consider Short Films to be 40 minutes and under.
I made a music video! Can I submit it to FilmQuest?
Yes, you can. We accept music videos, and consider them to be a unique enough category that we can be a little bit looser with the genre classifications in music videos than other categories. We also accept other less common categories such as Animated Films and Web Series.
How about Commercials or Fan Films?
As of the 2017 season, we no longer accept Commercials or Fan Films for consideration in FilmQuest. While that doesn’t outright mean we won’t accept them as Official Selections, it is extremely hard to be accepted into the festival as such.
Can I get a fee waiver or discount?
In the past, we have rarely given away fee waivers or submission discounts. Moving forward we will not. FilmQuest is much more affordable than most film festivals, and has been designed to be so in order to allow those with tighter submission budgets to submit their work to the festival. That’s why MovieMaker named us a film festival worth the entry fee, because of the incredible value we give films in relation to the fees they pay. We highly encourage filmmakers to budget festival submissions when they are making their films. However, if we personally invite you to submit your film to our festival, we will provide you a submission discount or waiver.
Unlike film festivals overseas, and in some cities/states in the USA, most film festivals in the USA are not state funded or operated. Perhaps this is something we can do in the future, but until that day, we must take a submission fee to pay for the costs of awards, venue, events, etc.
We do have flash discounts from time to time, which are announced on FilmFreeway and provided through them. So if you need a waiver or discount, wait for one of those to be announced and send us your film then.
How do you grade films?
FilmQuest takes its submissions 100% exclusively through FilmFreeway. We have several categories that we judge films in. They are (when applicable): Originality/Creativity, Direction, Writing, Cinematography, Performances, Editing, Sound, Music, Visual Effects , Makeup , Art Direction/Production Design, Costumes, Production Value, and Pacing.
How do you grade screenplays?
We use a third party of our own script readers that judges and ranks the screenplays based on story, execution, formatting, pacing, etc. Our competition is a fair one, and we have three rounds: the first preliminary round, then the semi-finals, and then lastly, the finals. The scores are broken down by the cumulative average of our readers, and each screenplay submitted is guaranteed to have at least two judges read it in the first round.
Where’s my breakdown and full screenplay coverage?
To be clear, FilmQuest runs a screenplay competition, not a coverage service. To receive premium feedback and coverage, a la a Hollywood level feedback/breakdown/story notes, etc., would require a far higher entry fee and payout to our readers than we currently require. Our competition is purely to help you as a screenwriter get accolades and recognition for your unproduced screenplays and to help it become produced.
What connections can I make from the screenplay competition?
This is something we are actively working on, to enhance the opportunities for the writers that make it to the FilmQuest Screenplay Competition Finals. While we have had past finalists be optioned for production, we know that this is something most screenplay competitions, including our own, can improve upon. But as is true with all similar events and festivals, it’s imperative you make connections with the attending filmmakers and to build upon relationships that are available to you there. You never know if the director and/or producer of your film is someone whose film is at the festival.
What do you look for in a film? We’ve heard about your track record for high-quality selections. What’s that mean?
There’s several things we’re looking for in a film, and make no mistake, story is king. But that’s not actually where we begin. We start with production quality. Audiences are more hip and savvy today than ever before, and they know that a low budget no longer means low quality productions. After we look at the overall production value of the film (while still keeping an open mind to limitations, budgets, etc.), we then weed out the best of the best through story. With story and production values in tow, we can then look at the final deciding factors such as originality, length, duration, genre, performances, etc. to help us make our final decisions. In a nutshell, it’s 60% story, 30% production value, 8% other factors, and 2% pop sensibility.
Aw, man! We didn’t get acccepted! You suck! Why?!
There are many reasons why a film may not be accepted into FilmQuest, and none of the reasons should be taken personally. Sometimes a film submitted to us does isn’t a genre film and thus doesn’t qualify for our clearly defined themes and mission of the festival. Sometimes a short film is too long, and by taking it we would have to reject several other films. Sometimes, despite all our wants and desires behind the scenes, we just don’t have enough space to program a film no matter how much we may want to. Sometimes we program a film over another because we feel our audiences would react better to it. The point is, there are many, many reasons a film may or may not be accepted into FilmQuest.
We also have to factor in that we are a Fantastic themed festival, meaning we have to program several films in the categories of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, comedy, etc. Thus, we have to have a perfect balance between all the genres to create what we hope is the ideal FilmQuest each season.
Again, we feel it bares repeating that we do in fact have at least one judge watch your film in its entirety. More often than not, there are several. Know that we have thought long and hard about all our decisions, and that we do not take sending out rejections lightly. Yes, sometimes it is easier to accept or reject films than others, but that’s not the point. The point is that all are graded fairly and given a fair shot at being an Official Selection of FilmQuest.
Also worth noting is that we have had on more than one occasion rejected a film that was resubmitted the following year that was not only accepted, but also an eventual award winner. We also recommend films that we did not accept, yet thought very highly off, to other festivals. So there is always hope no matter the result.
In regards to Feature Films, the fact is that as we host FilmQuest at a single screen venue, we do not have enough blocks and slots to program as many feature films as we’d like to. Thus, the competition for acceptance is fierce and such factors that can hurt a feature film for selection is, perhaps unsurprisingly, its distribution status. If a feature film has already been distributed on VOD, streaming, or theaters before it would play the festival, it is highly likely we will reject the film.
Why? It’s because that film has more or less “completed” its ultimate goal and journey (for which it we give a massive congrats to!) by being distributed and released to the world, and has graduated per se from the festival world. There’s really not much else we can do the help the filmmaker’s or the film at that point, even with awards, and thus we will rarely accept a film that’s been released already.
Finally, we will sometimes reject a locally made film that is more than worthy, not because it did anything wrong, but because it premiered at another genre festival in Utah, had a premiere or screening at another festival or event too close to FilmQuest, etc. We’ve found that when a local film plays before FilmQuest, it devastates the local turnout for that film at the festival – and all the benefits of being accepted into FilmQuest, such as the networking, is now lost. So we’d rather give those benefits to a film and filmmakers who see the value in such connections and relationships, rather than those that do not. Local premieres are important, and it’s important locally made films recognize the value FilmQuest potentially brings to their films and careers, and saves their showcase for us.
Uh-oh! We submitted our project to your festival by accident. Can we get a refund?
The answer is a definitive maybe. We are quite clear about the goals, mission, and theme of our festival, and consider any submission to our festival a clear understanding of what FilmQuest is. So if you submit to us then we take that as a sign that you are more than willing to have your project considered by FilmQuest for inclusion. If you do want a refund, we suggest you withdraw your film first from consideration via FilmFreeway and then contact them for your refund before coming to us for one.
Are there tie-breakers?
Two part answer. When reviewing films for consideration into the festival, there are tie-breakers. They are often determined through any number of various means, the most common being whether the film is a genre film or not. After that, tie-breakers are broken through either the length of the film, another judge reviewing the two films, etc.
The second part of the answer applies to the awards judging during the festival. In the case of a tie, a new judge is brought into the category to determine a winner once and for all.
Can I get a duplicate FilmQuest Cthulhu Trophy?
Yes, you can! If you are a past winner of a FilmQuest Cthulhu Trophy and want a duplicate, we can put you in touch with Society Awards who will arrange the creation of a duplicate. However, the cost is on you, and we take no money out of the transaction as you will be dealing the Society Awards directly.
Do you pay for flight or hotel accommodations?
No. While we do have hotel discounts available through the Hyatt Place Hotel in Downtown Provo, and sometimes other partners, that is all we have arranged and provided. So please, don’t ask for flight or hotel coverages from us outside of the discounts we provide through our partners, as we won’t be able to accommodate that.
What data are you collecting from me? What is the transparency here?
We don’t collect any data outside the information you provide for us on your FilmFreeway submissions (aka name, email, contact information).
What data are you collecting from me when I sign up for your newsletter?
Again, we don’t collect any information outside your name and email. We only use this information to include you in our newsletters that will contain exclusive FilmQuest news, announcements, content, offers, etc. If you submit to us via FilmFreeway, we also include your email in our contacts database for future newsletters. We use MailChimp and SurveyMonkey for all our mass email correspondences. You are able to unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time.
I’d like to Volunteer. How can I?
Click on our “Volunteers” tab and fill out the form, and we’ll put you down as a Volunteer for our festival. Volunteers get many perks, including free screenings, access to parties, swag, and an exclusive shirt while working at the fest.
Are you hiring? How can I work for FilmQuest?
Currently, we are not. However, we are always interested in those who would like to work with FilmQuest, intern, or gain experience in the film industry. If you feel this applies to you, or if you have more questions and inquiries about working for FilmQuest, send us an email through our contact form found on our “Contact” page. This being said, we are looking into expanding our staff each year.