UPDATE 11/27/13: Pending news of a potential new partner that will affect the contest, I'm moving the submission deadline date from the previously-set December 1, 2013, to February 1, 2014, giving you 2 additional months to send in your short films (that meet the below criteria). One new title has been added on the last page.
A contest collaboration between Shadow and Act and Avenue TV (AvenueTV.net - a curated content exhibition site, that promotes the work of content creators interested in telling entertaining stories showcasing diversity).
The winning film will receive $500 cash, and will be featured right here on S&A and on Avenue TV's website.
If you're just joining us, please read the initial announcement below that details what this contest is all about.
Fantastical, meaning, science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, and I'd consider action and dark, twisted comedy. Each of these could even be its own umbrella term for even more specific sub-genres.
On a weekly basis, I receive many emails alerting me to new films (whether shorts, web series or features) and very, very, VERY few fit into any of the above categories. I'd say less than 5%. And for someone who does what I do, it's actually a bit disheartening, because the bulk of the films I'm alerted to all start to look, sound, and feel the same!
Not that I'm discouraging you from moving ahead with your own romantic/relationship comedy/drama, by the way. I think I speak for other S&A writers when I say that variety is severely lacking, and the above fantastical genres especially are unfortunately being ignored. At least, that's what it seems like, given the kinds of films and web series email alerts we receive.
I'm pretty sure there are black filmmakers working within other genres. I know a few. We've featured their work here in the past. But we want more!
Just as vast and varied black literature is, I'd love to see a similar multifariousness within black cinema. When fantastical mainstream cinema is woefully absent of black characters, where else can one look to find that kind of representation, if not within independent black cinema, whether short form, web series or features?
But let me get off my bully pulpit now, and get to the meat of this post.
So here's what I want to do... I'm launching a contest (maybe held quarterly) in which black filmmakers with short films or web series that center on characters of African descent (we'll get to features later; short/web series are just easier for this), in any of the fantastical genres I mentioned above, submit their work, to be considered for a small cash prize of $500 courtesy of the non-existent S&A Film Blog Black Filmmakers Fund (i.e., my bank account, and a matching contribution from the folks at Avenue TV)
No, you won't be able to retire on it, but it's what's within my means. And, again, this will be done quarterly, so every 3 months, someone will walk away with $500 cash. Maybe, over time, we'll get some sponsors, or others would want to chip in, making the pot larger, and the amount of money in the pot will grow. But I just want to keep this as simple and basic as possible, without getting a bunch of organizations involved. No fine print to read. What you need to know, is all right within this post. Of course, if I leave anything out, I'll answer any questions posed.
To enter the contest:
1 - Send me a link to your short film or episode 1 of your web series (which should be in any of the fantastical genres - science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, action), which means, yes, it must be online and available to be seen by the public. If it's not yet available, there'll be future contests, so whenever it does become available, you can enter the contest. I'll take anything produced in the last 5 years - so going back to 2008. Films must tell stories about black people/people of African descent. The contest is open to filmmakers all over the world. With your email submission, attach a synopsis, along with a brief bio or resume. And in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest." For this first installment, you have until December 1, 2013 to submit. Email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 - I will update this post with each new short film or web series I receive, so that readers can watch them all, as they are added to this post. I won't make any judgement calls on anything that's sent me. Whatever is sent to me, I will post without comment.
3 - After the December 1, 2013 deadline, a winner will be chosen based on a combination of reader reactions and the S&A team's picks. So, I'll continuously monitor the comments section to see what readers are saying about each submission (like, which ones they like best, rating them individually, etc), and after the deadline, I'll check in with my S&A cohorts for their own choices for which they consider the strongest submissions. And based on combined reactions (readers and S&A staff), a winner will be selected, and announced.
One caveat - given that audience participation isn't always entirely reliable (specifically, an entrant with a lot of friends can ask all their friends to post favorable comments about their film), votes by the S&A staff collectively (and we certainly don't all agree on everything) will carry more weight in the end - especially if there's an audience tie.
The winning short will be announced before December 25, 2013, and the winning filmmaker will get some extra Christmas spending money.
Again, email me at email@example.com with your submissions, and in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest."
Entries that don't include everything that I've asked for, will be deleted, so make sure you include: a link to your short or web series which falls under any of the above fantastical film genres (they must be embeddable); a synopsis; and either a brief bio or resume (one or the other is fine). And in the subject heading, enter "S&A Shorts/Web Series Contest."
If you have any questions about the contest, don't post them in the comment section; email them to me instead. I want to keep the comment section as free of unnecessary comments as possible. Also, any comments posted that have nothing to do with the films in the contest, will probably be deleted as well. So focus!
I want to keep this as clean and efficient as possible, so help me out!
That's it - let's go! And please feel free to share this post on all your social networking pages. I want to reach as many people as possible.1. Dragon Fruit, directed by Emiliano Styles. Synopsis: After being set up on a blind date by a mutual associate, Kyle Hunter (David Ashley) and Tamara Johnson (Tiffany Snow) decide to spend their third outing hiking in a canyon in Los Angeles. As they continue to get to know each other, they soon come to the striking realization that only one of them is who they claim to be.