The Lonely Seal Film Festival is gifting $170,000+ of in-kind prizes.

Mission Statement
We utilize cutting-edge technologies to showcase the endless creativity of filmmakers. 

Our Creative Oasis
The Lonely Seal Film Festival is an oasis of creative bliss where cutting-edge technology marries the ambiance of a turn-of-the-20th-century cinema. We launch online on August 18, and we land on August 24th at a historic cinema for two days of screenings, seminars, parties and an awards ceremony for our film festival and screenwriting contest. 

Our Story
Hammad Zaidi created Lonely Seal way back in the 1970's when he and his little sister Mona watched a documentary on the clubbing of harp seals. All of the innocent snow white pups perished, except for one, which they called "The Lonely Seal." Hammad knew right then he wanted help to make the world a better place by creating and showcasing visual and written stories which would inspire audiences worldwide. 

Zaidi's quest began when he found a UCLA beanie buried in a snowdrift during recess in kindergarten in Overland Park, Kansas. The discovery triggered his desire to attend film school at UCLA, and a few decades later, Hammad earned his MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Producers Program in 1994. 

In 1997, Hammad began producing, and executive producing indie films under the Lonely Seal banner. Within the same year, he began a 20+ year journey of serving as a judge, panelist, filmmaker advisor, showcase curator, screenwriting judge, advisory board member, sponsor and world cinema screener at several film festivals worldwide, like Sundance, SXSW, Slamdance, Nashville, and Cinequest. 

In 2005, Hammad founded Lonely Seal Releasing, an international film distribution, and production company.

In 2010, Hammad created "Script Accessible," a screenwriting contest for writers with disabilities and non-disabled writers who write about disabled lead characters. "Script Accessible " was showcased at Slamdance in conjunction with the Writers Guild of America-West. Our first winner, "All the Wrong Reasons," was produced and went on to win the Discovery Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. 

Also in 2010, Zaidi created and wrote "Going Bionic," a distribution and career strategy column that started at FilmThreat. New articles are on this site, and our 300+ archived articles are at www.GoingBionic.com.

In 2013, Hammad Zaidi became an ownership partner of Industry Corporation, a Canada-based multinational video game and software entity. He also served as a founding member of the Industry Corp team that developed the Spark platform for businesses,  the universal system to design and run all visual content on public screens.

In 2018, alongside Jonathan Nadeau, our CTO, Hammad created Lonely Seal Streaming, an interactive platform for independent cinema. 

Also in 2018, Nadeau and Zaidi cofounded Hourglass24, a social media technology, sales, and distribution company.  

Our Philosophy 
We believe film festivals are at their best when they become a melting pot of information, collaboration, and celebration. That is why in addition to having online and in-person panels, and "Going Bionic News," a column to provide strategic help for filmmakers and writers, we also have a filmmaker party scheduled for Friday, August 24, and an awards ceremony and closing night party set for Saturday, August 25. 

The Lonely Seal Film Festival looks forward to reviewing your cinematic creations soon!

We are gifting $170,000+ of in-kind prizes.

Prizes
Our Film Festival Categories are Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries and Web Series.

Film Festival (six prizes totaling $150,000)
We are gifting a $100,000 in-kind package for our Grand Prize Winner and $10,000 in-kind packages for each our four category winners. We are also gifting a $10,000 in-kind package for the winner of our Best Female Filmmaker Award.

Grand Prize – Winner gets a $100,000 in-kind package that includes one-year of international film distribution with $50,000 of waived administrative fees through Lonely Seal Releasing. The winning film will be showcased at the Cannes Film Market during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019. The Grand Prize Winner will also receive SEO for one-year ($36,000) a custom website with a premium theme and a custom logo ($7,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Best Feature Film – Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a custom website ($3,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Best Female Filmmaker – Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a custom website ($3,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Best Documentary – Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a custom website ($3,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Best Short Film – Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a custom website ($3,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Best Web Series -Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a custom website ($3,750) one-year of website hosting on a virtual private server ($1,250) and a custom APP ($5,000).

Screenplay Festival (four prizes totaling $20,000)
Our screenwriting contest invites scripts written for features, teleplays, shorts, and web series.

Best Screenplay – Winner gets a $10,000 in-kind package that includes a staged reading of their screenplay, six hours of strategic advice from Hammad Zaidi, a certificate, and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

First Runner-Up -Winner gets a $3,750 in-kind package that includes three hours of strategic advice from Hammad Zaidi, a certificate, and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Second Runner-Up – Winner gets a $3,750 in-kind package that includes three hours of strategic advice from Hammad Zaidi, a certificate, and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Honorable Mention – Winner gets a $2,500 in-kind package that includes two hours of strategic advice from Hammad Zaidi, a certificate, and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Audience Awards
Audience Award Winners are determined by the films with the most views during the Online Film Festival portion of our festival.

Feature Film Audience Award – Winner gets a certificate and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Documentary Audience Award – Winner gets a certificate and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Short Film Audience Award – Winner gets a certificate and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Web Series Audience Award – Winner gets a certificate and mentions in press releases and social media posts.

Key Dates
Submissions open on January 31, 2018.
The early bird submission deadline is March 20, 2018.
The regular submission deadline is April 20, 2018.
The late submission deadline is May 20, 2018.
The super late/extended deadline is June 1, 2018.
Selected films are notified by July 2, 2018.

Our festival runs August 18-25. Winners will be announced on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

Good Luck!

FILM FESTIVAL RULES & REGULATIONS

-- Competition is open to U.S. and International entries.

-- Entries must not have been publicly shown before 2015. 

-- Entries must be submitted online through Film Freeway.

-- You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and pay an entry fee for each.

-- Grand Prize Winner has the option to decline the international film distribution portion of the award. In such an event, all other portions of the Grand Prize will remain valid ($36,000 of SEO value, a $7,750 custom website, a $5,000 custom App, and $1,250 of website hosting for one year on a virtual private server).

LIABILITY
Every possible care will be taken with entries while in our possession, however, we cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or additional charges incurred en route, or due to normal wear and tear, or due to equipment failure. Additionally, Lonely Seal Online Film Festival is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity or screening of any film.

REPRODUCTION AGREEMENT
Entrant grants Lonely Seal Online Film Festival permission for accepted films and related marketing materials to be reproduced and distributed - in whole or in part - for purposes of jurying, education, and promotion of the festival. 

THE FOLLOWING MUST ACCOMPANY YOUR ENTRY

-- Entry fee (must be paid online).

--3-Line Synopsis. 

--Feature Films: Please include no more than a 250-word synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website).

--Accepted entries must submit at least one web-ready still at 72dpi and 560x315 pixels.

SCREENWRITING CONTEST RULES & REGULATIONS

All entries are eligible to win the top prizes.

Employees (and their immediate families) of The Lonely Seal Film Festival and any of their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies or festival sponsors, are not eligible to win.

There is no limit on the number of screenplays you can submit; however, each screenplay must be submitted separately and accompanied by its own completed submission form.

Feature Film Screenplays must be between 70-120 pages, must be in English and must be submitted in proper script format.

Teleplays must be between 40-60 pages, must be in English, and must be submitted in a proper script format.

Short Screenplays must be no longer than 30 pages, must be in English, and must be submitted in a proper script format.

Web Series Scripts must be no longer than 30 pages, must be in English, and must be submitted in a proper script format.