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Entry Criteria and Rules

General Guidelines:

  1. To qualify, a work must have been broadcast, screened, or published, for the first time in a territory or a platform, between 1st January 2023 and 31st December 2023 (the qualifying period). Any exceptions to this will be made at the discretion of the FOCAL team.
  2. To be considered, all Submission Forms and supporting visual material must be submitted to the FOCAL Awards entry platform – entry.focalintawards.org no later than 28th February 2024 for production categories and 28th February 2024 for restoration categories.
  3. All Submissions to each Award production or restoration category will be charged a standard entry fee of £80 (+VAT) with a discount of 10% as an early bird fee if submitted and invoice is paid before the deadlines. For the production categories all standard entry fees to be paid no later than 28th February 2024 at the closing submission date. For restoration categories, all standard entry fees to be paid no later that the 28th February 2024. As a not-for-profit organisation, we charge an entry fee to enable FOCAL to cover costs of delivering the competition and annual awards ceremony. We are also able to offer the following discounts for entering one submission to multiple categories. When entering one submission to two categories, you will receive 10% off the total submission price. The discount will apply to both the early bird and standard entry free price, whichever is relevant, at the time of submission. The same discount will also be applied when one organisation is submitting multiple titles/entries.
  4. Entry to the Short Film Production category is £40 (+VAT) with a 10% discount applied as an early bird rate.
  5. No more than two submissions of the same title to different production categories are allowed. Payment must be made online at the time of submission. FOCAL can only accept payment by invoice in special circumstances. Please contact the FOCAL team directly on [email protected] if you need to discuss further.
  6. Entries to the production categories may also be considered for the 2024 Student Jury Award for Most Inspiring Use of Archive, in partnership with the National Film and Television School. Further information regarding this award, which is offered as a complimentary benefit, are included in the submission form.
  7. All personnel categories, including the Researcher, Person and Company of the Year are free to enter.
  8. In submitting an entry, it is encouraged that you have the financial resources to send a representative to the Awards ceremony in 2024 if the submission is shortlisted, and at your own expense. FOCAL International Awards is a not-for-profit trade association and is not able to offer free tickets to the ceremony or to subsidise any travel or accommodation.
  9. Excluding the Company and Person categories, submissions are open to all production companies, broadcasters, advertisers, footage archives, facility houses, individuals etc. worldwide, you do not need to be a FOCAL International member to participate and you can nominate an employer, colleague, supplier or client but you must have their consent. For the Company and Person nominees you or your company must be a fully paid up member of FOCAL International.
  10. Submissions are only valid using the online FOCAL International Awards Submissions Entry Form accessed via entry.focalawards.org.
  11. Where supporting visual material is required you must upload a digital file in the video management section of the awards entry website. Viewing material should be in English, dubbed or subtitled; if not, then the submitter should accept that, since the common language of the international Jury is English, the submission is unlikely to receive due consideration. Please also upload 3 promotional stills of work to be used by FOCAL International if your entry is shortlisted.
  12. For the categories that require associated videos, you are required to upload the digital file of your entry on the awards entry website. FOCAL use the BAFTA Nucleus site to host its entries and all associated video content and it will be through this site that the FOCAL Jury members will view each entry. FOCAL believe this is the safest way in which entrants can submit their work.
  13. Restoration entrants must provide a ProRes file of their completed restoration plus any further files that illustrate the work undertaken and provide context for the jury. The downloadable link to such files must be emailed to the FOCAL Awards - [email protected] - via file transfer by the submission deadline. Alternatively, the entrant must provide the equivalent file(s) on USB drive for distribution to the Restoration and Preservation Jury. For restorations of original foreign language films, English version is not vital, but helpful. If sending a drive containing the files, please send the works to FOCAL International Ltd, 26, Poplar Business Park, 10 Prestons Rd, Poplar, London E14 9RL, UK. Please note that the entrant is liable for all customs or shipping costs.
    The FOCAL Awards Entry System aims to provide the best possible viewing experience for your content. To achieve this, we request that you provide a high-quality version of your file. Our preferred video specification is shown below; please use our specification where possible, however if your original best quality video is in another format, we would prefer to receive it with minimum encoding to preserve quality.
    Preferred Specification:

    File Format: .mp4, .mov
    Video Codec: H.264 (AVC)
    Audio Codec: Stereo, 48Khz audio is preferred, in formats: AAC (256k or higher) or Linear PCM
    Bit Rate: 15 – 20 mbps
    File Size: File sizes up to 80 Gigabytes are supported
    Frame Rate: Same as source
    Note: Please do not add ‘letterbox’ or ‘pillarbox’ rendering to your vide

  15. In entering the competition, the submitter accepts all responsibility for
    - gaining the consent of the Producer of the work cited
    - ensuring that any further clearances are gained where deemed necessary to comply with the Entry Guidelines
    - can provide written proof of the above, upon request.
  16. The submitter of the Entry indemnifies FOCAL International against any claims that might arise out of its use of any visual materials supplied to support a Submission in the various ways stated above.
  17. Submission of a work does not guarantee nomination.
  18. From the initial Submissions, a Jury will shortlist a minimum of three and maximum of five nominations per Award production category. Final Nominations will be announced at the end of April 2024.
  19. The international Jury will comprise a minimum of 3 Jurors per Award production category. Jury Members are respected professionals drawn from FOCAL’s membership and the international footage community. The Jury names will be listed in the Awards ceremony brochure. No Juror with a vested interest in a particular submission will be allowed to serve on the relevant Award category. Access to view submissions online will only be allowed by registered members of the Jury who will be given password protected unique user access through the jury-viewing-portal.
  20. Shortlisted nominees will be notified by Early May 2024, whereupon they agree to provide a hi-res exhibition quality digital file of the submission. A suitable clip (maximum of 30 seconds) will be edited into a category compilation clip to be shown on the night of the Awards Ceremony and for non-commercial purposes across FOCAL websites and social media channels. Please note that to exhibit the nominated work at the awards ceremony to the highest possible standard, the file provided will need to be of cinema quality. Shortlisted nominees will also agree to the provided promotional stills of the work will be included in the Awards Brochure, slide show at the ceremony and other related print and online publications.
  21. The decisions of the international Jury are final.
  22. FOCAL International will be in contact to inform you if any submission or nomination has been rejected. Without prejudice, FOCAL International reserves the right to reject any submission or nomination.
  23. The Jury reserves the right to change the category to which a Submission is made if they feel another category to be more appropriate; however, this will be done in consultation with the submitter.
  24. In the event of multiple entries of the same name or title from different people to the same category, FOCAL International will confer with submitters to discuss and agree a sub-title to identify each entry separately.
  25. In the event of multiple entries of the same production from different submitters FOCAL International will confer with each submitter in deciding which single entry is accepted.
  26. FOCAL International accepts no responsibility for non-receipt of any electronic submission or supporting visual material, however, we will be contacting each submitter to verify when their submission is complete.
  27. FOCAL International will endeavour to protect any supporting visual material such as digital files or Hard Drive's once in its possession, but it accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage, and it will NOT return any such material to the sender except under exceptional circumstances, or where the submitter is willing to pay for return delivery.
  28. Shortlisted nominees may be asked for permission to show the programmes shortlisted non-theatrically following the Awards presentation.
  29. The submitter accepts that their contact details will be stored on a FOCAL International database for use by FOCAL International only.
  30. Participation in the FOCAL International Awards implies full acceptance of the Guidelines to the competition.

Additional Guidelines:

There is No Charge for the following categories and no need to send any moving images except for the Researcher Award, which does require supporting visual material.

  1. The Jane Mercer Footage Researcher of the Year Award. The recipient(s) is NOT restricted to FOCAL International members. Anyone can nominate a suitable candidate, or the Jury may nominate individuals during the course of the Jury process. A Jury, whose decision will be final, will choose the recipient.
  2. For the Award for Footage Company of the Year anyone can nominate a company which must be a fully paid up company member of FOCAL International.
  3. The Award for Footage Person of the Year. Anyone, except the person concerned, can nominate an employee of a company that must be a fully paid up member of FOCAL International.
  4. The FOCAL International Student Jury Award for Most Inspiring Use of Archive. Entries that are nominated for the FOCAL International Production categories are eligible for this free award. You must consent to being considered for this award within your production entry form.
    Please ensure you are familiar with the Personnel Awards Guidelines
  5. It is within the power of the Jury to grant a further award under the title The FOCAL International Special Award. The criteria used to make such an award will be at the discretion of the Jury and the FOCAL team, whose decision is final.

About the FOCAL International Award Juries

The FOCAL International Award juries are composed of professionals from the international media archive sector as well as the wider creative and cultural industries. The Juries comprise FOCAL Members and wider industry. We encourage diverse participation on the juries and, as a result, jurors may bring different priorities to their role and differing ways of appreciation how footage is used within a submission. We encourage debate within the juries, moderated by the chair, that engages with the different values that footage brings to the viewing experience, including historical objectivity and creative innovation.

In general, the Juries will be looking for examples of work where:

  1. Footage is central to the success of the production or has made an invaluable contribution.
  2. Intelligent use of footage has enhanced the understanding of the theme or topic or illustrated it in a way that words alone could not do.
  3. Traditional construction or innovative use of footage has managed to portray a topic in a unique way – the creative skilfulness of a project and the insight it brings for the viewer.

Juries may also consider any of the following:

  1. The previous use and exposure of the chosen footage - has the archive material already been widely seen?
  2. The efforts made to find new and/or appropriate footage and how this has been managed into the final project.
  3. The effort made to ensure that the footage is well presented, including correct ratio, speed and colour and technical work to make the footage look possible and maintain the integrity of the original material.
  4. The relationship between the images on screen and corresponding commentary or interviews.
  5. The factual accuracy of the production’s narration.
  6. The historical accuracy of the footage used.

The criteria are deliberately loose, as submitted productions may be judged in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Footage is considered to consist of moving images and so productions that consist mainly of stills will not be considered in the same way by the Jury.

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