We hope that the following information will answer most of your questions about the International Movie Trailer Festival competition featuring trailers for fiction movies, documentaries, web series, and books—whether completed or in the dream or production stages. If after reading the FAQs you still have questions, please write info@IMTF.biz.
Q: ANIMATION: Is an animated trailer acceptable?
Q: APPROPRIATENESS OF MATERIAL: How do I know if my trailer will qualify for the G or PG13 rating that you require?
A: As the Rules make clear, your trailer should have no nudity, no profanities (Carlin’s seven words), no extreme violence, and no racial, gender, or other slurs. We suggest that you read the guidelines posted by MPAA at www.filmratings.org. While there is room for conflicting interpretations, we believe that most moviemakers will understand the guidelines and produce a trailer that is suitable for general audiences. IMTF reserves the right to reject any trailer that—in the opinion of IMTF—does not meet IMTF’s “Appropriateness of Material” standard. If you are in doubt, before submitting an Entry Form, please upload your trailer to a video host site and send us an email so that we can assess your trailer. We will let you know if it’s acceptable for our contest. After you officially submit an entry using the Entry Form, there will be no refund.
Q: AWARDS: In addition to getting exposure by posting my trailer, what prizes might I win?
A: All the prizes listed here will be awarded. The major prizes are:
- Grand Prize: $2,500.
- People’s Choice Award: $500.
- Best student entry: $250.
- Best trailer in each of the following five categories–fiction, documentary, book, web series, cameraphone–$250.
- Best Micro-trailer (15 seconds or less): $100.
Other prizes may be added at the discretion of IMTF. In this case, announcements will be made in the Updates section of this website.
Q: COLLABORATION: Can an entry be a collaborative effort?
A: Yes, but the number of people credited is limited to three (3). In the case of a collaborative entry, the person named first on the Entry Form will be designated as the submitter, and this person will be responsible for all communications and payment. If a collaborative entry wins, only one prize will be awarded.
Q: COLOR: Does a trailer have to be in color?
A: No. Black and white submissions are acceptable.
Q: COPYRIGHT CLEARANCE: Do I need to have written permission to use music copyrighted by someone else?
A: Yes. This is called “copyright clearance.” You need written permission to use ANY music other than music that you have created yourself. You also need copyright clearance for works of art (such as paintings, photographs, and sculptures) that appear in your movie. You do not need to submit proof of permission when you enter the competition, but by submitting your application, you are agreeing to the rule that requires your obtaining written permission for all copyrighted items. If you make it to the semi-final round or if you win a People’s Choice Award, you will be asked to submit proof of copyright clearance. If you wish, you can use the Permission Form published on this website in the Tips (Resources) section. If you cannot produce proof of copyright clearance, your entry will not be eligible for a prize. Also, if a copyright holder demonstrates to IMTF that your posted entry violates that person’s copyright, we will remove your entry from IMTF’s website. You will not receive a refund.
Q: DEADLINES: What is the last date I can submit my trailer?
A: The deadline is June 1, 2015. But IMTF reserves the right to extend the deadline. The last day of voting for the People’s Choice Award will be July 21, 2015. The preferred method of voting is online; this requires registering through Facebook. A voter who doesn’t have a Facebook account can vote via email by sending an email to Murray@imtf.biz.
and putting the name of the trailer in the Subject line. A voter can vote only once for a given entry.
Q: DIALOGUE: Is it necessary to have actors speak lines in your trailer?
A: No. While many trailers do include dialogue, many others don’t. The choice is yours. Hint: Poor quality sound can sink an otherwise excellent movie. For advice on obtaining good sound, you might wish to visit our Tips section.
Q: DOCUMENTARY: Can I submit a trailer for a documentary?
A: Yes. The documentary is one of the four contest categories listed on the Entry Form.
Q: ELIGILITY: Can anyone enter IMTF’s contest?
A: IMTF is open to everyone around the world and throughout the universe except for the following individuals:
- IMTF’s owners, paid staff, consultants, and the immediate families (siblings, spouses, children, parents) of the owners, paid staff, and consultants.
- People living in places where local or U.S. law prohibits this kind of competition.
Note: Moviemakers of any age may submit entries, but if you are too young to make a legal contract (younger than 18 years in most U.S. jurisdictions), your application form must include the name and contact information of a parent or guardian.
Q: FEES: What does it cost to enter IMTF’s competition?
A: $25 for students and $35 for everyone else. If the contest is extended, the fees will be higher. For class or group discounts, please write info@IMTF.com
Q: FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Is it OK to submit a trailer in which the dialogue, narration, or printed text on title cards is in a language other than English?
A: Yes, but in this case, you must include legible English subtitles that accurately translate the dialogue, narration, and printed text used in your trailer.
Q: FORMAT OF TRAILER: What elements must be included in the trailer?
A: Trailers take a variety of forms. Some string together dramatic scenes; others concentrate on the theme or the characters. Almost always, the main goal is to tease the audience into wanting to see more. You can find suggestions for planning and producing trailers in the Tips section of this website.
Q: JUDGING THE ENTRIES: How will the winners be chosen?
The IMTF staff will select approximately 40 semi-finalists. A jury of industry professionals will then choose the top winners after considering the following elements:
- Idea (concept)
- Script/story (including plot, actions words, props, locations)
- Cinematography (including framing, lighting, camera movement, and special effects)
- Sound (including dialogue, sound effects, and music)
All decisions made by the staff and the jury are final and may not be appealed.
Q: LENGTH: How long should my trailer run?
A: Your trailer must be between 1 second and four minutes. If your trailer does not meet the run-time requirement, your trailer will not be considered for a prize but may remain in the Festival. Note that we do not offer refunds.
Q: MODEL RELEASES: Is it necessary for those appearing in the trailer to sign model releases?
A: Yes. You do not need to submit model releases when you enter the competition, but by submitting your application, you are agreeing to the requirement that you have obtained written permission from all actors or other recognizable people appearing in your trailer. A sample downloadable Model Release will be found in the Tips (Resources) section of this website. If you make it to the semi-final round, you may be asked to submit copies of the model releases. If you cannot produce these model releases, your entry will not be eligible for a prize. Also, if a performer demonstrates to IMTF that you used that person’s image and/or voice without written permission, we will remove your entry from IMTF’s website. You will not receive a refund.
Q: MULTIPLE ENTRIES: May I submit more than one trailer?
A: Yes, but you will need to fill out a separate application and pay a separate fee for each submission.
Q: ORIGINALITY: Can I include footage that I didn’t shoot?
A: Yes, but least 80% of the trailer (as measured by time) must be material shot by you. Up to 20% may be stock footage—that is, footage shot by someone else for a purpose other than your trailer—but you must have obtained written permission to use the stock footage and be prepared to send IMTF proof of permission. The rationale for this rule is that IMTF is for original trailers and not mash-ups (video compilations). Documentaries are excluded from this rule.
Q: OWNERSHIP OF THE TRAILER: By submitting my trailer to IMTF, do I relinquish any or all rights to the trailer or the story?
A: No. You do give IMTF the right to post your trailer on IMTF’s website or on another website that has agreed to post IMTF’s entries. You also give IMTF the right to use your trailer in a reel of the best trailers; this reel may be shown at one or more film festivals and on television. Other than this, you will retain all other rights to your trailer and to your intellectual property, including—but not limited to—the movie represented by your trailer or the movie you envision making. If IMTF offers to help you with obtaining distribution for your movie, web series, or book, and if you wish to use our services, such an arrangement will be made under a separate contract.
Q: PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD: How do voters vote for the People’s Choice Award?
The preferred method of voting is online; this requires registering through Facebook. A voter who doesn’t have a Facebook account can vote via email by sending an email to Murray@imtf.biz and putting the name of the trailer in the Subject line. A voter can vote only once for a given entry.
Q: PRIZES: See AWARDS (above).
Q: PROFESSIONAL ACTORS: Is it acceptable for me to hire actors to perform in the trailer or must the actors be amateurs?
A: You may use amateur or professional actors. Professional actors who are members of the Screen Actors Guild may need to fill out paperwork. But this is between you and the actors and does not involve IMTF.
Q: PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: How can I protect my ideas?
A: Many professional moviemakers register their story ideas. Doing so will provide some evidence if you need to sue someone who you believe has stolen your intellectual property. The Writers Guild of America, West offers a popular registration service at WGAw.org. There is a fee for this service for everyone except members of WGAw.
Q: REFUNDS: Do you give refunds?
A: No. That’s why you need to be sure your entry meets our Appropriateness of Material guidelines described above and complies with all other IMTF Rules.
Q: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: Is there a limit on the size (megabytes) of a trailer?
A: Yes. This is partly determined by our four-minute limit. You can find details at www.youtube.com or www.vimeo.com which are the hosting sites for the trailers entered into our competition.
Q: TITLE CARDS: Is it OK to include title cards in the trailer, for example, cards with text that describes the action or the theme or that identify times and locations?
A: Yes. Traditionally, many trailers have included printed messages. But of course you are not required to do so. If you do use title cards written in a language other than English, you must accurately translate them into English subtitles.
Q: TREATMENT FOR AN UNPRODUCED FICTION MOVIE, DOCUMENTARY, OR WEB SERIES REPRESENTATED BY THE TRAILER: If I am making a trailer for a movie that hasn’t been produced, do I need to have a script or treatment before submitting the trailer?
A: No. But if you make it to the semi-final round or if you are chosen as the winner of a People’s Choice Award, you may be asked submit a treatment (or synopsis) of between 300 and 450 words describing your vision of the fiction movie, documentary, or web series, represented by your trailer.
Q: UPLOADING: How do I post my trailer?
A: Entries in the IMTF competition will be posted at www.youtube.com. If you go to youtube.com, you will find directions for posting your trailer on that site. There is no fee. After you post your trailer, you will copy the embed code and then paste it into the IMTF Entry Form. After you send us the Entry Form, we will review the trailer and if it meets the IMTF guidelines, we will post it so that visitors to our site can access it through the Trailers page.
Q: VOICE OVER: Is it OK to use voice over (narration) in the trailer?
A: Yes. A great many trailers use voice over. But it is not required. If you do use voice over and it’s in a language other than English, you must accurately translate the voice over into English subtitles.
Q: WITHDRAWING AN ENTRY: If I wish to withdraw my trailer, may I do so?
A: Yes. Simply write info@IMTF.biz and explain what you want. After we confirm that you are the director or entry submitter, we will remove the trailer from our site. However, you will not receive a refund. Also, if you wish to remove the trailer from youtube.com, you will need to do so yourself.