SeriesFest is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the art of episodic storytelling. With year-round initiatives and professional development opportunities focused on diverse and under-served voices, education programs for students, and an annual festival, which gives emerging artists a platform and place for discovery, SeriesFest is where new voices and storytellers have found a home.
The annual SeriesFest takes place in Denver, Colorado – the birthplace of cable television. With a special event at Red Rocks Amphitheater and seven full days of in-competition screenings, panels, and network sneak peaks and premieres, SeriesFest gives a platform for compelling and creative content while celebrating television history and engaging in meaningful dialogue.
SeriesFest is a nucleus of inspiration, innovation and excitement!
The following awards for the Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, and Late Night competitions awards are determined by juries composed of television executives and celebrities.
Independent Pilot Competition, Digital Short Series, and Late Night:
Best Pilot Award for Drama, Comedy, and Unscripted category
Best Actor *
Best Actress *
Best Director *
Best Writer *
Best of Late Night Award
Best of Digital Short Series Award
Audience Choice Award
Winner is decided by a panel of experts following the live event.
Independent Pilot Competition official selections will be screened twice in Denver during SeriesFest: Season 8 (May 5-11, 2022). Digital Short Series, Late Night, Pilots in Progress selections will be screened once during the festival dates.
Level Forward Impact Award **
Pilots applying for the Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, and Late Night competitions have the opportunity to opt in to be considered for the Level Forward Impact Award.
The Level Forward Impact Award will be given to the episodic pilot and team who demonstrate, on top of their commitment to creative excellence, a thoughtful, thorough, and deliberate approach to using storytelling as a means of leveling the playing field for underrepresented people including women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and alternatively abled voices. In keeping with Level Forward’s mission to advance the access, opportunity, and influence of storytelling, we are looking for compelling and entertaining pilots that have incorporated this ethos into the fabric of their process and project.
All submissions will be evaluated by a panel of Level Forward artists including playwrights, directors, producers, and performers from some of the company’s portfolio of work.
Submissions will be reviewed according to the following criteria:
What story is being told? Why is this story important now, in this moment? How is it being told?
Who is telling this story? Why are you the best person/people to tell it? Are you telling a story about something that has personally impacted you or someone close to you?
How were you able to tell this story? What kind of support system did you have or lack? What non-financial resources did you use?
Who is the audience for this story and what is your connection to that audience? How do you believe you can reach that audience? How do you hope your audience will be impacted by this story being in the world? How might others be impacted by it?
What actions would you like to see taken by audiences because of your story? What are the partnerships you have made, or would like to make, to advance those actions?
How did you identify and build your team? Who is on that team and how do they represent the subject matter, and/or the intended audience? Is there gender and racial balance that reflects equitable access to the opportunity of working on your project?
How were the people on your team compensated? How were they compensated relative to one another?
How would you like to see this story distributed? How would you like to see it priced?
If you could control the profit allocation of your work, how would you allocate it?
From where did your financing come?
Importantly, there are no right answers to these questions.
Additionally, not all questions may apply to you. Don’t worry, these are guideposts and ambitions. We know it takes extra time and money to be as thoughtful, thorough and deliberate as we would all like to be. Our logic, however, is that by naming these criteria, and rewarding them with a commitment to develop your series in partnership with you, and in alignment with our collective aspirations, we can together shape a more equitable and impactful industry, and encourage others to do the same.
All submissions are required to go through FilmFreeway
*Please visit SeriesFest.com/Inclusivity to see if you're eligible for a submission waiver through our Inclusion Initiative in partnership with The Royal Bank of Canada.
Unsubmitted entries will not be viewed! If you are having trouble with the online form, please e-mail us at Submissions@seriesfest.com and we will be glad to help guide you through the process.
COMPLETION DATE ELIGIBILITY
Any submitted produced pilot must have completed production no earlier than December 2019.
SERIES FORMAT DECK
All submissions must Series Format Deck to be uploaded to the application page under “Files & Attachments”.
An effective Series Format Deck introduces your project in a visually exciting and emotionally powerful way. It captures the reader’s imagination, allowing them to see the full scope of the series and embrace the characters.
The Series Format Deck must be submitted in English.
The Series Format Deck should be no longer than 15 pages and include the following:
Season One Outline
Main Character Descriptions (Up to 5)
For unscripted pilots, key onscreen subjects/talent
Tone of your series (can include no more than 2 comparisons)
Goals for your Series
A Creator Statement which includes Why This Idea, Why Me, and Why Now?
**If your submission is selected for final programming you will be required to submit more information regarding your pilot, cast, and crew so SeriesFest can maximize your experience with executives at the Festival in May. Full details will be sent to submissions selected for SeriesFest: Season 8 in an acceptance email early April 2022.
All pilots must be submitted via FilmFreeways’s Secure Online Screener system. We cannot accept any other digital download or streaming links at this time. Submissions are welcome from around the world, but submissions must be in English or include English subtitles.
World Premiere status is preferred, however, pilots selected do not need to retain any sort of premiere status. Programmers do consider premiere status, previous festival screenings, and awards when deciding on official competition selections. If your pilot or series has been released via any home video outlet, broadcast on television, publicly available to stream, or had a ticketed public theatrical exhibition anywhere in the USA, it is not eligible for this festival.
We encourage content creators of all ages to submit their work. All submitted pilots will compete against each other. If you are under the age of 18 and your pilot is accepted, we will require signed, written permission from your parent or legal guardian before we are able to screen your pilot. Collegiate students are encouraged to submit to the collegiate competitions. Collegiate entries not entered into the collegiate competitions are still eligible to screen in the collegiate spotlight.
NUMBER OF PILOTS ELIGIBLE
You may submit as many pilots as you would like. You must fill out individual applications for multiple pilots. We do not offer reduced rates in fees for multiple submissions.
Unfinished versions of the pilot with incomplete or temporary sound, no credits or titles, unfinished effects, etc. can be submitted for Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, and Late Night Competitions. However, it does need to be complete enough for us to be able to make a decision. Whenever possible, you should provide an on-screen description of missing elements as placeholders within the continuity of the pilot. Temp tracks, scratch music, and temp scores are perfectly fine for your submission, but please include a list of missing or temporary elements directly on-screen before the pilot begins. If your pilot is selected, you must send us a complete, final exhibition copy before we screen it at the festival, as we only exhibit work in progress pilots at the festival through the Pilots in Progress competition.
RIGHTS AND CLEARANCES FOR MUSIC OR OTHER COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
At the time of submission, you are not yet required to obtain all rights and clearances.
If your pilot is selected, you must clear all copyrighted materials before it can be publicly screened. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the project to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question, whether it is music, stock footage, or any other elements that could violate an existing copyright. Quite often, rights holders offer reduced rates for festivals, so you should contact them directly to avoid any potential rights infringements. You will be required to sign a release stating that materials used in the pilot do not violate any existing copyright before the festival exhibition.
We will contact you via e-mail in early April 2022. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provided on your application will be operational at that time. If your e-mail address changes after you’ve filled out the application, please log into your account and update it. We will not be held responsible for any failed delivery of notification. If you haven’t heard from us by April 8th, please contact us at email@example.com for an official notification.
Please make sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your SPAM account settings as SAFE SENDER LIST.
If your work is selected, you must fulfill the following requirements by the date(s) designated by the Festival:
(1) You must execute a release agreement wherein you:
Accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film at SeriesFest
Warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your pilot at SeriesFest
Indemnify and hold harmless SeriesFest, LLC, its parent company, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at SeriesFest.
Agree to participate in a reasonable number of customary promotional and publicity activities [including press junkets, telephone interviews, sending press packages, and public appearances to promote the SeriesFest
(2) If selected for exhibition at SeriesFest, you will receive a letter with deliverable requirements of your media.
(3) You must provide a properly completed and signed official SeriesFest “Information Form” including all press and publication assets as specified in the “Materials Checklist”
The official judging panel, consisting of individuals selected by SeriesFest, at its sole discretion, will make a number of official selections (the “Official Selections”) from all eligible entries received. The judging will be based on the following criteria:
Originality and creativity
Overall quality of all elements & aspects of the production of each entry, including, without limitation, writing, acting, directing, editing, etc.
Adherence to and appropriateness for a particular format or type of program
The ability to develop story through a first season and thorough drafting of the arc.