Here’s a question for you guys, is it wrong for someone who runs a web/short/film festival to enter his web series into his own festival or others? I’ve been noticing that creators of certain festivals are all teaming up with other festivals promoting one another and noticing how certain short films and web series made by people who run film and web festivals are winning. I’m obviously not going to call them out but hey, just thought I’d mention it. Thoughts anyone?
It’s a grey area for sure. Some festivals like Minnesota WebFest are fairly transparent about their judging process and the independence of their judges, somewhat out of necessity - the organizers also run Seeka TV and they want to establish that there’s no favouritism. (Disclosure: my series is on Seeka TV)
Other festivals are not as transparent, possibly because they’re already overloaded, possibly for less innocent reasons.
For my part, I haven’t seen any conspicuous examples of something repeatedly winning that shouldn’t have. The repeat winners I’ve seen are generally at a high level of quality. And I feel it’s a positive that there’s such a strong sense of community among the festivals.
Just seen a post for one of the biggest festival runners about to shoot their web series, and with links and connections to other big festivals I think they may have the advantage, I will not call anyone out because that will not be right. As I’ve said I’ve already seen some who runs a big web festival win best web series in one of his buddy’s big film festivals so the question is should people who run film festivals be allowed to do this?
So like Herman said, it definitely depends on the festivals, but since most festivals have multiple tiers of judging as well as multiple judges, best practices are to not allow people with conflicts of interest to judge particular projects. For Stareable Fest, as an example, many of my personal friends/connections within the web series community submit, and I abstain from judging/making decisions on those because it wouldn’t be fair, and I’m also not allowed to submit my own series to the festival, which is a bummer because Stareable Fest is dope and I’d love to take part in things like industry meetings, but I also recognize that the conflict of interest is huge and it wouldn’t be ethical or fair.
However, in some cases these kinds of ethical judging decisions aren’t made (or are kept opaque for a reason). I know @NedDonovan was following one such semi-unethical film festival thing of this nature a few years back.
High level- technically anyone can do whatever they want. It might be shitty, but there’s no rules for who’s allowed in a festival except those rules set by the festival itself. The best the rest of us can do is pay attention to that and maybe submit to different festivals.
My tuppence worth: Surely it isn’t a problem/unethical for people to submit to festivals other than their own? After all, an interest in filmmaking will have driven them to set up a festival in the first place. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise if they’re out there, creating, too. And them having a first-hand, working knowledge of how the film festival circuit works - e.g. the process of submitting via filmfreeway.com - will presumably help them make their own festivals run as smoothly as possible, which benefits everyone… The other festivals just have to be fair in how they judge - which I generally feel is the case, isn’t it?