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Film Submission Information

Part of our mission statement is to help new directors make the best possible film by providing a service that is lacking in the independent community: an impartial, constructive critique. While we can do this at the final stage of the film, it is far more helpful to start with the rough cut of a film.

We will critique up to three forms of your film: the rough cut, the semi-final cut, and the final cut. The first two critiques are shaping critiques in which we give you advice on editing, tweaking, and shot selection in your film to make it as impactful and professional as possible.

The final cut critique is designed to be more like an actual review as you would receive it from the press when your film is hopefully released nationally. Because our staff has over twenty-two years combined experience in professional reviewing of national release films, we can do this very efficiently and understandably. While the final cut is considered to be permanent, we still make recommendations for improvement in case you decide to re-edit or procure additional footage. Additionally, even in situations where no more changes will be made, we include improvement suggestions to keep in mind for future movies, which will also help any new filmmakers who are reading your critique.

Unlike many review agencies, our goal isn't to berate your work so that we can make ourselves feel better. Our goal is to help people improve their work so it is the best it can be and to acclaim work that reaches to new heights in the microfilmmaking world.  And because our critics are all low-budget filmmakers, the advice we will give you will be pertinent and useful.

So we can pay a little money to our writers, there is a small fee for film critiques.  Feature films (those 50 minutes or longer) are normally $50 USD, but there is currently a special discount through March 1st where feature critiques are only $40 USD. Short films (those less than 50 minutes in length) are $25 USD. These costs are less than the cost of submitting your film to most film festivals and will yield exact information on what your film is doing right and what still needs work from a critic that has actively helped make a low-budget film as a filmmaker or high-placed film creative.   (To give some perspective, most other professional critique services are between $300 - $500 for a critique, and many of these are performed by film theorists, rather than filmmakers who can provide actual practical suggestions.  The reason we're able to offer such a low price is because this is subsidized by the fact that these critiques become content for this magazine.  If for some reason you need to have your film critiqued privately, see our special Non-Published Critique options below.**) In addition to providing helpful information, many filmmakers have found that a critique at MFM provides the press coverage that encourages Indie film enthusiasts and festivals to take their films more seriously.

To see how we critique films, click here to read exactly what we look for.

To see past critiques for real world examples, go to our Critique Index page.

With that said, there are some rules to understand before you submit your film:

  1. Your film will be critiqued, not reviewed. Reviews are largely opinion based pieces that lack a lot of detail and are written for film watchers (usually by people with no filmmaking background). Critiques are in-depth examinations of a film that are written for the filmmaker (by other filmmakers) to help them improve their craft. While we focus on areas that need improvement, we also showcase areas that each filmmaker does well. Because of this focus on specifics, critiques are often of more use in finding distributors than reviews are. (Be sure to look at our other critiques to make sure you see how this tends to come together.)

  2. You are submitting your film as the director or producer of this film and, as such, you are stating that you are the only official channel through which problems or concerns will be voiced. While we won't change a critique to simply make a filmmaker happy, because that would defeat the purpose of critique, we will sometimes get filmmakers who would like to bring useful facts to our attention. When that happens, although MFM is under no obligation to make any changes to a critique, we may choose to add this information to the critique. However, we will not consider any problems or issues that are brought to our attention unless they come from the filmmaker who submitted the film.

  3. We do not accept pornography or any film that would receive an NC-17 rating in the theatrical market due to nudity or sexuality. Our goal is to help filmmakers improve their craft and to help them make films that can go to a national audience in actual theaters. (Porn already has its own audience and that audience doesn't care about production quality!)

  4. Your film must have a production budget of $30,000 or less. While there are films made in all price ranges, we have found the least amount of review and critique assistance available for films made for under $30,000 and therefore have chosen to concentrate on them. Your production budget is how much you spent on shooting and editing your film, so you do not need to worry about the cost of advertising materials, submissions to film festivals, or other marketing costs. (If you have a film that is of a somewhat higher budget, but you feel would still be a good fit for MFM's "Special Critique" section--which was created for films that don't quite meet our budget standards but which push the envelope of low-budget filmmaking--you may contact the editor directly at: [email protected].)

  5. Your film's release date must be no older than five years from the date you send it in.  Specifically, each filmmaker may submit one film that has a release date between three and five years previous.  All subsequent films from that filmmaker must be three years old or less. We have to have an age limit somewhere and this is the most fair limit we can devise.  This at least will allow a filmmaker to submit one older film, but will not permit abuse of this policy, as our goal is to provide helpful suggestions for filmmakers based on their more recent work to help them proactively improve their future filmmaking.

  6. We only accept US formatted DVDs. Don't submit your film to us on beta tapes, 16mm reels, laser disks, 35mm blow ups, HD tapes, DV Tapes, hard drives, or Ipods. (Well, if you want to submit your film on hard drive, we'll be happy to keep the hard drive, format it, and use it for our own personal use! Same for Ipods.)

  7. If you are submitting multiple films or shorts, each film or short must be on a separate DVD in its own case. So that we can schedule critiques in a timely manner, we must be able to pass out individual projects to our critique staff.

  8. No CD cases, CD sleaves, or clamshell cases.  Your DVD must be submitted in a full sized DVD Case.  For us to be able to keep track of films, especially for those times when distributors ask us what films we've been impressed by or if we deem a film good enough to be part of the Ultra-Indie Film Weekend, we've got to be able to locate it quickly later.  (If you have a separate press kit that is on CD or DVD, you can definitely include that in a CD case or clamshell case, however.)

  9. We do not return films after they are reviewed or critiqued. Don't send us your master DVD or something you will be heartbroken not to receive back.

  10. Your critique may include spoilers which are clearly delineated with the preceding phrase: Warning!  Spoilers Ahead.   This is due to the fact that critiques are written to help you and other filmmakers become better filmmakers and are necessarily much more in-depth than standard reviews.  While we will do our best not to give away any unnecessary secrets in our critiques, this can never be guaranteed because sometimes your film may have problems in its secrets and/or ending that must be addressed.

If you click on either link before, you are stating that you have read and understand these rules. If this is so, continue by clicking on the appropriate link:

Feature Length Narrative or Documentary Film
(Films that are 50 minutes or longer in running time)

Short Length Narrative or Documentary Film
(Films that are less than 50 minutes inrunning time)

**Non-Published (or Private) Critiques: Due to popular request, we are now willing to perform critiques privately that will not be published, if for some reason you would prefer to not have your critique made public.  However because we would be unable to subsidize these critiques as additional content for the magazine, we would need to charge $150 for shorts and $250 for features.  If you are interested in this, please email the editor directly at: [email protected]

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