The Highly Favorable Media Festival is not just a typical film festival; it's a transformative celebration of storytelling, compassion, and empowerment that aligns with the core values and mission of Highly Favored Magazine.

At the Highly Favorable Media Festival, we envision a world liberated from the stigma and shame associated with substance use, abuse, and recovery. We dream of a global community where individuals are free to share their experiences, struggles, and triumphs with open hearts and open minds.

Our festival is more than just a cinematic event; it's a movement. We exist to create a safe, supportive platform that facilitates vital conversations about substances, addiction, and recovery. Through the art of storytelling and creative expression, we aim to broaden the narrative surrounding these topics, offering fresh perspectives and insights into the complex issues that surround them. Our festival is a beacon of awareness, shining a light on the current realities faced by individuals and communities affected by substance-related challenges. We also serve as a vital resource hub, connecting individuals with the help and support they need within their own communities.

The Highly Favorable Media Festival is built upon a foundation of curiosity, authenticity, inclusivity, and creativity. These values guide us as we curate a diverse range of films and media that encourage deep exploration of substance-related issues, promote genuine and heartfelt storytelling, welcome people from all backgrounds and walks of life, and celebrate the creative expression that brings the festival to life.

With these principles at its core, the Highly Favorable Media Festival is more than just a film festival – it's a transformative experience that aims to change lives, foster empathy, and contribute to the creation of a more compassionate and understanding world.

Submissions that are eligible will be reviewed for the following awards titles based on the Highly Favored Magazine criteria. The winners will be the first to win in each category ever for what the festival organizers hope become and annual event.

1. **Best Narrative Feature:** This award recognizes the best dramatic feature film, often with a strong focus on storytelling and character development.
2. **Best Director:** Given to the director who demonstrated exceptional skill in guiding the film's narrative and performances.
3. **Best Actor/Actress:** Awarded to the standout lead actors in a dramatic film.
4. **Best Screenplay:** Acknowledges exceptional writing and storytelling in a dramatic film.
5. **Best Cinematography:** Recognizes outstanding visual storytelling through camera work and composition.

1. **Best Comedy Feature:** This award goes to the best comedy film, celebrating humor and wit in storytelling.
2. **Best Comedic Performance:** Given to an actor or actress who delivered a standout comedic performance.
3. **Best Writing (Comedy):** Recognizes exceptional comedic writing in the screenplay.
4. **Best Director (Comedy):** Acknowledges the director's skill in bringing humor to the screen.

1. **Best Documentary Feature:** Recognizes the best non-fiction film for its content and storytelling.
2. **Best Director (Documentary):** Awarded to the director who demonstrated excellence in documentary filmmaking.
3. **Best Editing (Documentary):** Celebrates the skillful editing and storytelling in a documentary.
4. **Best Documentary Short:** For shorter non-fiction films that convey a compelling story or message.
5. **Best Documentary Subject:** Given to a person or subject featured in the documentary for their contribution to the film.

1. **Best Animated Feature:** Recognizes the best animated film for its artistic and technical achievements.
2. **Best Animation Short:** Celebrates excellence in short animated films.
3. **Best Animation Director:** Acknowledges the director's creative vision and leadership in animation.
4. **Best Visual Effects:** For outstanding visual effects and animation techniques.
5. **Best Original Score (Animation):** Recognizes exceptional musical compositions in animated films.

1. **Best Experimental/Avant-Garde Film:** This award celebrates innovation and artistic exploration in cinema.
2. **Best Experimental Director:** Recognizes the director's unique vision and approach to filmmaking.
3. **Best Cinematic Innovation:** Acknowledges groundbreaking techniques or approaches used in the film.
4. **Best Sound Design (Avant-Garde):** Celebrates the creative use of sound and music in avant-garde cinema.
5. **Best Artistic Achievement:** Given to a film that stands out for its artistic and unconventional qualities.

Submissions must adhere to the following in order to be eligible for consideration:

1. **Original Work and Copyright Ownership**:
- Films must be original works, and artists must hold the copyright to their films.
- Artists should provide evidence of their ownership of the intellectual property rights.

2. **Permissions and Royalties**:
- Any content, including music, images, or video clips, owned by other creators and used in the film must have proper permissions granted.
- Artists are responsible for paying royalties to the original creators for the use of their content.

3. **Proper Crediting**:
- All contributors, including actors, crew members, and creators of third-party content, must be properly credited in the film's credits.

4. **Quality Standards**:
- Films are expected to meet certain quality standards to be considered for the festival. This includes audio and video quality, editing, and storytelling.

5. **Budget Constraints**:
- Artists often work within limited budgets to produce their films. Creativity in maximizing resources is encouraged and admired.

6. **Submission Guidelines**:
- Artists must adhere to specific submission guidelines provided by the festival, which may include formats, deadlines, and entry fees. Universal video formatting, as well as, videos from artist Vimeo, YouTube, and FilmFreeway accounts are acceptable.

7. **Release Forms**:
- All necessary release forms, including talent releases and location releases, must be in place for the film, and can be produced upon request.

-Festival organizers may ask for signed releases from artists in regarding their submitted work that may or may not have been selected for the festival.

-Organizer release form requests may be sent to acquire various rights to the artist's film to, but not limited to its use, feature, disseminate, print, create marketing material, exclusive material, etc. And may or may not include exclusive rights for specific periods of time, or have the option to.

8. **Content Restrictions**:
- Films should not excessively contain explicit or offensive content that may be unsuitable for most audiences, G rated preferred, PG-13 rated allowed.

All content should be emphasizing and driving the storytelling forward, if it can be reasonably defended as a plot device that adds, rather than detracts from the film the submitted content can still be considered eligible.

9. **Film Length**:
- For films to be eligible for submission we ask they are a duration equal or greater than 8 minutes, but no longer than 15 minutes.

10. **Language and Subtitles**:
- Films in languages other than the festival's primary language, English, are required to have subtitles.

11. **Premiere Status**:
- Highly Favorable Media Festival requires that films have not been previously screened or premiered in the same region or within the same year as the festival. The festival will be held March 15th-17 2024, in Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area, Minnesota, USA.

***Exact festival dates and location are subject to change as necessary by the event organizers. Meaning that dates can be added or subtracted based on the volume of artist's film entries, and the venue can be scaled up to accommodate a larger audience should ticket sales indicate the current venue will no longer be suitable. The changes can be made up to 21 days prior to festival start date, and announced publicly up to the festival dates as part of promotional materials.***

12. **Entry Fees**:
- Artists are required to pay an entry fee to submit their films. These fees help cover festival expenses. The Fee applies to each entry and there's up to 3 entries allowed per artist.
-Early Bird Entry Fees apply to submissions entered on dates 11/1/2023 - 12/31/2023: Standard early bird entry fee is $5.
Student early bird entry fee is $5.
Gold Member early bird entry fee is $3.

-Regular Entry Fees apply to submissions entered on dates 1/1/2024 - 2/29/2024:
Standard regular entry fee is $8.
Student regular entry fee is $8.
Gold Member regular entry fee is $5.

*Deadline is 3/1/2024*
-Late Submissions cut off is 3/7/2024:
Standard late entry fee is $10.
Student late entry fee is $10
Gold Member late entry fee is $8.

*Note that most films that are selected for festivals are submitted during the early bird timeframe. Anything after the Late submissions cut off on 3/7/2024 will not be accepted, as they cannot be properly considered and scored in time for the festival.

13. **Judging and Selection**:
- Films will be judged by the founders of Highly Favored Magazine using similar criteria for the magazine's submissions, and the selection process may be competitive. Not all submitted films may be accepted.

-The number of films selected per category will be determined by the level of interest by the amount of submissions that meet at least the minimum quality and relevant story telling criteria in each category, and further by audience interest in pre-festival ticket sales.

-The festival will be scaled appropriately based on those above metrics for interest. It should be noted that ideally, Highly Favorable Media Festival, would love to include at least 100 films between the 5 categories for a three day festival.

14. **Screening Rights**:
- By submitting a film, artists often grant the festival the right to screen their film during the event. Please also indicate the optional right to show them in written or visual stills formats in Highly Favored Magazine, featured and/or exclusive content on, or archival use by its parent company Highly Favored Media LLC. A release form from Highly Favored Media LLC for these optional rights will be sent to artists who indicate interest in the above mentioned rights for future use of selected films to be signed by necessary artist(s) credited with the work.
***necessary is defined here as artists credited as directors and producers.***

15. **Marketing and Promotion**:
- Artists are required to provide promotional materials like posters, stills, and trailers to help market their films. Please include social media accounts and handles that can be tagged in festival, and as the Highly Favored Magazine organization, for, but not limited to, promotional and archival materials.

16. **Attendance**:
- Artists are encouraged to attend the festival in person, and in some cases by video call, to present their work and participate in Q&A sessions.

17. **Awards and Prizes**:
- Artists selected are eligible for recognition and award titles within the festival categories; drama, comedy, documentary, animation, and avant-garde. Not all selected films may be recognized for an award title in their category, but will be featured on the festival lineup, and entered for fan/crowd favorite recognition, determined by the audience during the festival and announced post festival dates via social media.

18. **Audience Interaction**:
- Artists are often encouraged to interact with the audience, answer questions, and discuss their work during the festival. Please relay your willingness to participate in Q&As and artists talk should your work be selected. Do this when submitting or by emailing Caleb Fritz Craig, Events and Operations Director, at ATTN: Film Festival Entry Details, include title(s) of work, name(s) of artist submitting, contact info., if it is okay to communicate via phone/video/text message(s), social media handles that you can be tagged on Highly Favored Magazine social media accounts and as part of any other marketing by the festival.