SFC Blog

Narrative and Pictorial Quality

Why Quality?
When we started collecting short films for SFC, we were not sure what criteria we would apply. Then someone asked us, candidly, to explain the difference between the website we were intending to build (SFC) and YouTube. Their point was well taken! We quickly understood that a big chunk of of our website’s added value would stem from careful content curation. We had no intention of choosing and distributing mediocre work, video clips or abstract piece of art without narration. We decided to keep only the best! For that purpose, we defined certain criteria within two categories: Narrative and Pictorial.

Narrative Standard
Our clear aim is to provide you with stories! Stories, and again, stories. We first want to make sure the author tell us a story, regardless of its genre, style or depth. Our objective is to encourage narrative – as opposed as esthetic or technical – performance.

We won’t accept:

  • Musical video clips.
  • Documentaries (nothing against them, we just want to focus on fiction).
  • Pretty landscapes without narration.
  • One-joke-fits-all type of short.
  • Abstract film without narration.
  • Anything other than fiction (corporate, promotional, institutional, etc.)

Pictorial Standard
If you think it’s all about the content, and that a good story with fantastic characters is good enough, think again. We may turn down short films just because the quality of the footage in not good enough. We encourage the HD format, because we want to offer the best possible screening experience. We will accept only free-to-view films sourced from YouTube and Vimeo. Nothing else.

We won’t accept:

  • Short films with poor resolution, non-interlaced or distorted footage.
  • Films with a logo appearing in one corner.
  • Interviews or festival promotions, before or after the short itself.
  • Way too small re-sized frames.
  • Work with an obvious lack of technical expertise.
  • A short longer than 35 minutes (unless the work is very strong)

Subtitles Help
To further our objective of offering our audience a diversity of short films from all parts of the world, we strongly encourage you to invest in a subtitled version. If your original version is in a language other than English, you’ll obviously want to submit an English subtitled version. However, if your original version is in English, you may still want to consider a subtitled version (probably in Spanish or French, depending on the cultural specificity of your short). Of course, if your story takes place in Japan, but your original version is in English, then Japanese subtitles would be more relevant. Think about it!

Play Fair with Festivals
SFC does not have the capacity to verify whether your short is to be screened at a festival that does not allow you to be online. Therefore, please play fair with festivals. Whenever you decide to submit your film to SFC, your short must be released from festivals. Many festivals won’t care, but some important ones you may target will care – big time. SFC will always assume that your short, when submitted, is clean from a festival standpoint, but also in terms of music rights and any other legal constraints.

Quality as a Principle
The purpose of this article is to reinforce one very simple concept: That our duty is to provide you with the best possible shorts available online from a narrative and pictorial standpoint. That is our guiding principle.

-SFC Staff

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