The Universal Film and Festival Organization is a voluntary body founded to support and implement best practices for film festivals around the world. The Insight Film Festival recently became a member. Here is how Insight complies with UFFO’s Code of Practice.
UFFO’s best business practices for film festivals
The bold statements 1-10 are the elements of UFFO’s best business practice for film festivals. The ‘roman text’ copy under each entry shed light on how the Insight Film Festival is run
No 1: Film Festival organisers should operate a transparent selection process and state if the festival is a jury festival or non-jury festival
The Insight Film Festival is clear about the Awards for which filmmakers can submit their work. The brief and specifications for each category are displayed on the Awards page of the website. The names and background of the jury members for each category are shown on the Award Winners pages for editions 3 and 4 of the Festival (3rd Insight Festival; 4th Insight Festival). The first two editions of the Insight Film Festival were much smaller events: the 1st edition did host competitions for prizes and the 2nd edition awarded a Premier Award for the best submitted film that was judged by the festival organisers in Manchester. The Insight Film Festival has grown into an international event with high-calibre judges with exemplary credentials in filmmaking and senior roles in faith-based organisations
No 2: Film festivals organisers should provide full contact details for the festival offices including address and telephone numbers and the names of the festival directors and or committee
The Insight Film Festival runs biennially in Manchester. The key personnel are published on the People page of the website. John Forrest is the Director of the Insight Film Festival. For the active period of inviting submissions for the next edition of the Festival, the Insight office is busy and well-staffed. During periods when Insight is engaged in educational work and other programmes, the office is a postal address for the Festival. The telephone number and email addresses are the best ways of contacting Insight and can be found on the Contacts page of the website.
No 3: A Film Festival should publish its legal status as a company, charity or non-profit (this only applies to a registered entity)
The Insight Film Festival is a Community Interest Company with CIC Company No. 06113169 and Registered Office at Victory House, 24 Elmsway, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 2AE. This information is published at the bottom of every page of the Insight Film Festival’s website
No 4: Film festival organisers should not share financial data belonging to any filmmakers with any third parties
This point is essential for the running of the Insight Film Festival as an ethical event. Any information filmmakers choose to share with Insight is confidential.
No 5: Film Festivals should publish a year by year history of festival winners and films officially selected
The Award winners for editions 3 and 4 of the Insight Film Festival are published on the website (3rd Festival; 4th Festival). The shortlist of selected films for the 4th Festival is displayed under the Awards tab. Similar information will be easily available for the 5th edition of the Festival, due to be staged in Spring 2015.
No 6: Film festival organisers, committee and or jury should not show or demonstrate any favouritism or hostility to any film submitted to the festival or attempt to influence other members of the jury or selection committee
This point is taken very seriously by the Insight Film Festival. Our purpose and vision is to:
… encourage filmmakers throughout the world to make films about ‘faith’. We create events and spaces where such films can be displayed, discussed and celebrated. We welcome participants from all faith backgrounds and none and focus particularly on young filmmakers. In doing so we wants to make positive contributions to understanding, respect and community cohesion.
This statement implied a high benchmark standard in the ethical treatment of the work that filmmakers submit to the event. The concept of ‘interfaith‘ is hard-wired into everything Insight stands for: we need to be seen to follow the principles of our vision. This includes making sure the only criteria on which entries are judged in on the quality of the work – as long as the specifications for each of the Awards are met.
No 7: Film Festivals should declare the number of films sought out and or invited by the festival organisers to participate in the festival prior to and before the general call for submissions is sent out
As the Insight Film Festival encourages films to be submitted on the subject of faith, we do not set limits on the number of films that can be entered for competition for the various awards that Insight hosts. A large number of films were submitted for the 4th Insight Film Festival from over sixty countries around the world.
No 8: A Film Festival’s jury members should be made up of film industry professionals (non-jury festivals are exempt)
The composition of the juries that the Insight Film Festival selects is published for each edition on the festival’s website (3rd Festival; 4th Festival). For specific awards sponsored by Insight’s partners, this jury is joined by members of the partner organisation, where these members can inform the judging process with their faith-based experience.
No 9: Film festival organisers should view at least 5 minutes of all submitted films
The Insight Film Festival invites filmmakers to submit short films. The criteria for each Award is published on the website. We commit to watch 5 minutes at least of each film entered to the Festival that are longer in duration than this period: some of the films submitted are shorter than 5 minutes
No 10: All Festival organisers should declare any conflict of interest that may arise from any film submitted to or invited to participate in the festival
As an interfaith event needing to be seen to be impartial, this point is essential.
Maureen O’Hara is UFFO’s President. She is Hollywood A-List from the Golden Age of Tinseltown, starring in such classic movies as Jamaica Inn (1939), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and How Green was my Valley (1939). In 1942 she starred in The Black Swan with Tyrone Power, a piratical tale that was nominated for two Oscars. Here is what she says about UFFO:
Every once in a while there is something that stands out and compels us to notice it; I think that is what struck me most about UFFO when it was first brought to my attention. I am so tremendously honored and proud to be the President of such an international organization that promotes ethics in an industry I love so much”
Tyrone Power’s son, the fourth generation of actors to bear the name, is the Chairman of UFFO in the USA
Tyrone D Murphy is the CEO and Founder of UFFO. He established the Universal Film Magazine and serves on BAFTA’s Management Committee. He is also a producer/director of documentaries, such as Scamfest: a look at the unethical side of cowboy film festivals. In an interview with Shooting People, about UFFO and Scamfest, he said:
For the first time filmmakers have a guide telling them these are the festivals that you should under no circumstances submit [films] to. Scamfest is just telling it how it is, someone has to say it. [Scamfest will] lead the film festival industry in a positive direction, it’ll change the industry, help make it fair and transparent.