ACU FilmFest

Student Film Competition  Since 2004
Abilene Christian University

Guidelines and Forms

Release Form (PDF)


All entrants must meet the requirements listed below and expounded upon in the remainder of this document. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from FilmFest.

  1. FilmFest teams must submit a registration form along with a $20 deposit.
    • Deposits will be returned to teams who submit a final film.
    • Registration forms and deposits will be due February 1st.
  2. FilmFest teams must adhere to the FilmFest Team guidelines.
  3. Films must meet all content, time limits, and submission formats as outlined in this document.
  4. Entrants must meet all deadlines.
  5. FilmFest Teams must attend a minimum of 4 out of 7 FilmFest workshops.
    • At least one team member must be present to receive credit.
    • Workshops will be spread out along the production process beginning in November and ending in March.
  6. FilmFest Teams must submit at least 3 production pictures.
    • These photos will show the films production behind-the-scenes. Photos will contribute to FilmFest advertizing.
    • Production photos must be included in the production notebook.
  7. All films must be accompanied by a production notebook. The production notebook must include, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Final script
    • Complete list of production team and actors
    • General release forms for all actors, location, and music
    • At least 3 production photos
    • Receipts for production costs
    • Any other documentation aiding in film permissions and treatment of film
  8. FilmFest Teams must complete and submit a form detailing which team members filled what roles. Individual team members may fill more than one role. This form will be the basis for position-based awards. Roles include, but are not limited to:
    • Producer
    • Director
    • Writer
    • Editor
    • Cinematographer
    • Composer
    • Production Assistant*
    • Sound Designer
    • Production Designer

* Non-competitive roles.

By participating in FilmFest, participants agree to all of the aforementioned terms and agreements and all those obtained in the remainder of this document “FilmFest 2016.”

Film Fest Teams

  1. FilmFest is open to all ACU students. Non-students are allowed to participate given the following stipulations:
    • Production teams must be predominantly student populated.
    • A “student” is defined as someone enrolled in at least 12 hours at ACU.
    • ACU faculty and staff may not fill a production role, but may play onscreen roles. Faculty and staff will not be eligible for awards or prizes.
    • ACU students with faculty or staff status will not be eligible for awards or prizes.
    • Persons unaffiliated with ACU may act or compose original scores, but will not be eligible for awards or prizes.
  2. FilmFest production teams must consist of at least 3 team members. This does not include actors.



  1. All scripts must be approved by the FilmFest committee.
  2. Films must adhere to MPAA PG guidelines and content must comply with the ACU Student Handbook.
    • Delicate subject matter can be dealt with and alluded to, but NO nudity, sexual contact of any kind, alcohol consumption, tobacco or drug use, or profanity may be portrayed on screen.
    • References to and illusions of alcohol and tobacco use may be shown, but students are not allowed to consume alcohol or use tobacco products as part of an official ACU event.
    • Refusal to meet rating and content requirements could result in disqualification and a film not being shown at the gala event.
  3. Films can be a maximum of 10 minutes long.
  4. Teams may not spend more than $200 in production costs excluding food and travel.
    • Receipts and invoices for production costs such as costumes, practical effects, equipment rentals, and any products purchased with the intent of furthering the film production must be included in the production notebook.
  5. Films will NOT be required to include control elements such as props or story elements that would alter the filmmaker’s artistic vision.
  6. There are no limitations on the types of equipment (cameras, microphones, etc.) or technologies (editing software, special effects, etc.) used during the production phase of FilmFest. However, participants are responsible for their own equipment selections. FilmFest will not be held responsible for any misuse of or damage to equipment or missed deadlines due to technical failure.



Entrants must meet all deadlines. All deadlines are final. No unreasonable accommodations will be made. Failure to adhere will result in disqualification.

FilmFest 2018 Deadlines are as follows:

  1. November 3, 2017, 5pm: Draft Script
    • All films must submit a script for content approval. FilmFest reserves the right to require changes or reject films that do not adhere to MPAA PG guidelines and comply with the ACU Student Handbook.
    • Story plot and theme of final product must have distinct similarities to initial script approved by FilmFest. Any major deviation without prior approval may result in disqualification.
    • Any significant changes to the plot or theme must be approved by appealing to the FilmFest committee.
  2. February 1, 2018, 5pm: Team Registration & Deposit
    • Teams must submit a team registration form and $20 deposit. The deposit will be refunded to all teams who submit a finished film.
  3. March 4, 2018 5pm: Rough Edit
    • Entrants must turn in a rough cut of their film for prescreening. Rough edits need to be at least half of the length of the final film.
  4. March 21, 2018 5pm: Final script, final edit, & production notebook
    • Final films must be turned in on a USB flash drive according to the submission specifications below.
    • Production notebooks must include a printed copy of the final script.

Awards and Prizes

  1. Awards and prizes will be distributed at the discretion of FilmFest and the judge panel.
  2. Films will be judged for the quality of the film as an individual work and for the performance of individuals in production roles.
  3. An individual may win multiple awards but only one prize package.
  4. Only ACU students who are enrolled in at least 12 hours at ACU will be eligible for awards or prizes.


Submission Format

To insure proper playback at the gala and critiquing by the judge panel, films must be submitted according to following:

  1. Films must be exported as a 1080HD iTunes or Mac compatible file format. Examples include MP4, M4V, and MOV.
    • Any questions about exporting your films can be answered at the Learning Studio.
  2. Films must include a 7-second bumper including the film name, genre, and run time.
    • The 7 second bumper DOES NOT count toward the 10 minute time limit.



Submission of a complete film entry in the ACU FilmFest grants ACU permission to show the work at the festival and have the work reproduced, either in whole or in part, for educational or promotional purposes.


All entries using copyrighted material (sound or picture) must obtain paper clearances and permission to use the material. Documentation showing this clearance and permission must be submitted with the application. Examples of copyrighted material may include: popular music, stock footage and still photographs. It is the Filmmaker’s responsibility to obtain rights, clearances and permission. The ACU Film Festival & Exposition (FilmFest) assumes no responsibility for violation of copyright law.


The organizers of FilmFest discourage students from engaging in any activity or action involved in the production process deemed hazardous or that exposes students to any unnecessary risk or potential harm. Students taking risks do so of their own accord and ACU, or the organizers of FilmFest, cannot be held responsible for injuries or harm to property occurring during the course of participants involvement in the event.

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