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Q: If independent films are not rated, how do I know if cwfilmfest films will be appropriate for my kids?

cwfilmfest understands your concerns. We have worked hard to find films that are quality artiistic works and if necessary address controversial topics in a professional manner. Submissions cannot be sexually explicit, portray images that demean or are violent toward any person, gender, race, ethnic group or animals, or use extreme levels of profanity. Parents do need to use their discretion.

Q. Since Central Wisconsin Film Festival (cwfilmfest) is non-juried will my film be automatically shown?

A.Though non-juried, cwfilmfest will not consider: Commercials advertisements or commercial reels. Educational, industrial, medical or informational films. Video games or new media games. Films in or with prior commercial release, significant theatrical exhibition, commercial TV broadcast or webcast, or significant commercial video distribution. Submissions may address controversial topics in a professional manner but submissions cannot be sexually explicit or portray images that demean or are violent toward any person, gender, race, ethnic group or animals, or use extreme levels of profanity. Entries will be reviewed and determined appropriate by cwfilmfest programmers. Thank you for your compliance.

Q. What kinds of films is the cwfilmfest looking for?

A. All Open & Student Submission programming is non-juried. In general, cwfilmfest seeks to program original, quality independent film, narrative, documentary, experimental or animated film. We are looking for:

Quality filmmaking craft
Uniqueness of concept and vision
Original subject matter
Entertaining stories that are well-told
Diversity in ideas, voices and experiences

In the Open & Student Submissions we want to program a variety of quality work representing diverse styles, subjects and voices; support emerging regional filmmakers; and include films that have community relevance. As with any festival programming, these criteria are interpreted and applied by a committee of programmers, including the cwfilmfest Director. Entrants must agree to the final decisions of cwfilmfest.

Q. What is the not using copyright material all about and why is it important?

A. All too often, film and video projects that are submitted to film and video competition, have to be rejected because of the unauthorized use of copywrited material; most often, music. Frequently when this happens, people are unclear why the concern exists. Society has the impression that music is free. We hear it all day long streamed on Internet, on the radio, etc., and it’s all free, right? Not really…music is big business, and there are big bucks and big attorneys out there searching for possible illegal use of their musician client’s creation.

Using copyrighted music which was created for a purpose other than your film is an inappropriate way of solving your sound track problem. Instead, find a way around the copyright issue, a creative and artistically pure way. Create your own sound track; talk to local musician who might be willing to help you. Many will do it for the credit and the experience. A good place to start might be the Arts Alliance of Portage County, Artists Directory,

cwfilmfest must ensure that all rights for screen play, music, actors’ deals, and ownership are clearly defined and documented, before accepting a film for showing. By insisting that submitted films clear copyrighted music or hire a musician to score their film, cwfilmfest is instilling a sense of what “Intellectual Property” means, on a philosophical and practical level.

FYI: The new copyright laws means that all school plays, music for a reception, graduation, or dance, need to be licensed from BMI or ASCAP, the publishers of the music. Nearly all pop, contemporary classical and jazz music is licensed to BMI or ASCAP, which serve as clearing houses to protect musicians and composers. BMI and ASCAP collect fees from all radio and TV stations, nightclubs, concert promoters, even movie theaters that play copyrighted music. The funds are then distributed to the musicians.

Q. What if my film has been shown in another Festival?

A. Entries that have been shown in other festivals are eligible to be programmed at cwfilmfest.

Q. What if my film has been screened in Wisconsin before?

A. cwfilmfest does not program films that have had prior commercial release, significant theatrical exhibition, commercial TV broadcast or webcast, or significant commercial video distribution. We do consider films that may have been shown in Wisconsin in non-commercial screenings (e.g., single screening by local festival or filmmakers group, single broadcast on local public television or cable access station) or have had limited video self-distribution, but preference is given to films without significant exposure in Wisconsin markets prior to cwfilmfest.

Q. I’m a student from out-of-state, attending a college in Wisconsin. In which category should I submit my short film?

A. You can submit your film in the Student Submissions.

Q. I go to a college in Wisconsin but do not attend a university in the UW System. Can I still submit my short film to the Student Competition?

A. Yes! We accept entries from students at public and private Wisconsin colleges and universities, including technical colleges and non-UW System schools.

Q. I am a high school student. Can I submit a film to the Student Competition?

A. Yes, submit your film to the Student Submissions.

Q. Can you waive the sumissions fee?

A. Unfortunately, no. Our policy is not to waive any entry fees. As much as we would like to charge no entry fees at all, we are unsure if our sponsorship income and box office revenues will fully cover the cost of processing the submissions, administering the awards, and presentation and promotion of the films selected for cwfilmfest. To make the cwfilmfest submissions (and attendance) accessible while making sure we cover costs, our approach is to have both entry fees and ticket prices as affordable to everyone as possible. A discounted Student Submission rate is available.

Q. How many films can I submit?

A. As many as you like. However, each submitted film must have its own DVD, completed Submission Form (and Parental Release for Students), Entry Fee, and supplemental materials. Please DO NOT put multiple projects on the same DVD.

Q. Can I submit a rough cut?

A. “Rough Cuts,” “Avid Cuts,” or “Temp Prints” will NOT be accepted.

Q. Can I submit my film with a “temp track” or “scratch music?”

A. “Temp Tracks,” “Scratch Music,” or “Temp Sound” will NOT be accepted.

Q. Can I re-submit my film from last year?

A. No, you cannot re-submit the same film entered in past years. However, if the film has been significantly re-edited (not just tweaked) to the point that it is a qualitatively different film (e.g., edited down from a feature to a short), you may resubmit it. The decision as to whether the editing is significant enough so that the re-submission is eligible will be made by cwfilmfest programmers.

Q. If my film is not chosen, can I ask someone for notes or feedback?

A. This might be possible if time permits. However, we make no commitments.