Judging criteria include the overall quality of:
The judges will also consider:
The TMFF looks for works that avoid gratuitous sex, violence, or language; ignoring these guidelines will make it less likely your entry will be accepted for the festival. We also like a balanced approach to most subjects, rather than hearing only one side of the issue. For scheduling reasons, we will not accept film/TV entries that run longer than 90 minutes. Also see our Festival Philosopy section, next.
We believe that every great film, TV, and theatre work starts with a great story.
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language – Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin
We encourage rich and vibrant storytelling that piques, amuses, or provokes the viewer. There is nothing like a good story – whether narrative fiction or documentary — to capture the interest and imagination. The most beautifully shot work will seem empty if a story is not embraced and effectively told.
Please, though, don’t neglect production values — do your best to make sure that most of the hard-earned money for your project ends up on the screen, not in someone’s pocket. Even the most richly detailed and emotionally powerful story is lost if you can’t hear the actors or see what’s happening. TMFF audiences have come to expect excellent production values, and your work must be up to that standard to be selected for our festival.
We like documentaries that are balanced. What does that mean? It means that if your entry blatantly advocates one side or point of view over another, it isn’t balanced. We don’t expect you not to have an opinion, but we do expect you to give screen time to credible opposing views. For example, if your story is about destruction of a habitat, you should include fair interviews with credible people who believe there are good reasons to do so.
And lastly, we’re serious about our content guidelines. Based on our interaction with our sponsors, with filmmakers, and our community, there is a strong preference for knowing the work shown at the TMFF won’t contain over-the-top violence, gratuitous bad language, or explicit displays of naughty bits (a.k.a., genitals). If your work contains an abundance of this kind of content, there are plenty of other film festivals that will be happy to see your work.
One final note: If your film is not selected for our festival, it could be that your film meets all the above criteria, but we just couldn’t find a place for it in the program. We wish we could show everything we like, but we only have a limited number of hours and venues, and we can’t fit everything in. If your entry is turned down, it’s sometimes frustrating not to know why; therefore, you may request a synopsis of comments we received from our screeners and selection committee on your work.