The purpose of the Under Our Skin 2021 film festival is to entertain, inform and inspire through the medium of film. We hope to motivate audiences and participants to question, debate, and reflect on the state of human rights in Kenya and internationally with an aim of engendering positive change for society and individuals. We welcome documentaries, fiction, conceptual films, and animations of short, medium, and long/feature-length. Submissions to the open call should fit with the ethos of this human rights-focused film festival.

Under Our Skin aims to host its first film festival edition in Kenya and has chosen to focus on three main human rights themes: injustice by design; expression as a right; and social contract redefined. During the pandemic, these issues are increasingly relevant in the Kenyan context.

In Kenya, film has long been a way of bringing people together, for both entertainment and education. In economically disadvantaged areas, peer groups gather at local community centers to watch blockbuster movies, football, news, and local programs. Under Our Skin sees potential in galvanizing the power of film as a tool to inspire individual and communal efforts towards positive change around Human Rights outcomes.

Here you'll find all the information related to Under Our Skin 2021’s open call for film submissions. Please note that by submitting a film to Under Our Skin 2021’s open call, you commit to the rules, regulations, and procedures of the film festival, as outlined below. For additional information or queries please email: info@underouskin.org

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ARTICLE 1 - Objective
The purpose of the Under Our Skin 2021 film festival is to entertain, inform and inspire through the medium of film. We hope to motivate audiences and participants to question, debate, and reflect on the state of human rights in Kenya and internationally with an aim of engendering positive change for society and individuals. We welcome documentaries, fiction, conceptual films, and animations of short, medium, and long/feature-length. Submissions to the open call should fit with the ethos of this human rights-focused film festival.

ARTICLE 2 - Festival dates
The first edition of Under Our Skin 2021, Kenya will be held in Nairobi from 16th to the 25th of July 2021 in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. A subsequent four-day edition will be held in Kilifi later in October 2021 (dates to be confirmed).

ARTICLE 3 - Additional scheduling
Under Our Skin will also be hosting one-off events and screenings in the month before the festival in a variety of cities, towns, and communities in Kenya. We aim to stage events and screenings in schools, universities, rural communities, prisons, and rehabilitation centers for young people. You will be notified in advance if your submission is selected to be part of this programming.

ARTICLE 4 - Pre-selection conditions
The festival selection committee is exclusively responsible for the official selection and scheduling. The selection committee has the exclusive and final say on which films are selected and shown during the festival. There will be an award ceremony at the end of the Nairobi edition of the festival where awards will be given to a selection of films screened during the festival. Films will be nominated and awarded by an independent panel of judges.

ARTICLE 4.1 - Tariffs
The submission of your film is not subject to any registration fee.
Each filmmaker can enter more than one film.

ARTICLE 4.2 - Criteria
Films sent for selection must meet the following criteria:

Be related to the education, promotion, and/or violation of Universal Human Rights (as adopted by the United Nations [UN]) in general and/or in particular.
Be related to topics including, by not exclusively, education, sustainable development, the impact of climate change.
Have been submitted via the open call registration form.
Have been released or completed after 1st of January 2018.
Respect the aims of the festival as defined in Article 1.

ARTICLE 4.3 - Deadline for submissions
Registration ends at 23:59:59 East Africa Time (+3 GMT) on April 25th, 2021. Films submitted after this deadline will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the film selection committee.

ARTICLE 4.4 - Duration of films
During the festival, films may be categorised by duration including credits. Films shorter than 20 minutes will be counted as shot films. Films between 20 minutes and shorter than an hour will be categorised as medium length and which are an hour or longer will be categorised as features or long films.

ARTICLE 4.5 - Viewing for selection
All films must be presented in their original language (the language in which a film is or will be exhibited in its country of origin). It is for the selection committee to decide whether or not a film that does not exactly meet these criteria may participate in the Festival.

Films that are not in English (including Swahili) should be submitted with English subtitles for selection purposes. Electronic subtitles (the additional digital text file containing the time codes with each dialog corresponding to the film in .srt or .sub formats) are accepted and may be requested if your film is selected for the awards section. Please do not send copies with double subtitles. Swahili may be requested for films in English. If you do not have a copy of your film in English please contact our submissions department for additional information. Under Our Skin is not able to contribute to subtitling costs.

ARTICLE 4.6 - Support
Only films matching the following specifications will be accepted:

Video format MP4 (H.264) in HD (from 1080 x 720 pixels to 3840 x 2160 pixels if possible)
It is suggested to encode the video with a constant bit-rate and with 24, 25, or 30 progressive frames per second.
The audio, video and subtitles must be contained in a single file and the file size must not exceed 10 GB. (electronic subtitles in an extra file in .srt or .sub format)
The file name must not include any special characters. Do not use, for example, any file name such as: "myfilm! @ &% $ § * ().mp4".
The film must be sent once and in a single file.

To guarantee high technical quality, the following configurations are suggested for the file compression:

Size / aspect ratio
Video codec/min. bit rate
Audio codec/min. bit rate
1920 x 1080 px / 16: 9 HD
High profile H.264
5.000 - 10.000 Kbit / s
Sampling rate AAC / 320 Kbit / s 48 kHz

HandBrake is a free video converter software available for all operating systems.

ARTICLE 4.7 - Submissions
The films must be sent via the open call online submission form by providing a link to Wetransfer, MyAirBridge, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Vimeo (direct download).

ARTICLE 5 - Screenings
The main movie selection will be screened at a range of venues and settings throughout Nairobi. Short films, medium length, feature-length, or a combination will be displayed at every screening (competitive or non-competitive); additional screenings will be shown in alternative spaces: movie theaters or cultural spaces suitable for films. The entire festival is free of charge.

ARTICLE 6 - If your film is selected
If your film is selected you will be notified before the official press release announcing the selection, which will be published in June 2021.
We request confidentiality before the selection is officially announced.
Once selected, no film can be removed from the programme.
We ask you to send a trailer of the film of max. 3 mins in H.264 HD file format to be used only to promote the film’s exhibition. (If the trailer is not sent, then whoever holds the rights to the film authorises the selection of a clip from the work, being a three- minute fragment max, or 10% of the total duration, for its dissemination as information material to be used for promotional purposes.)
We ask you to send a poster of the film, in a JPEG or TIFF file, 60 cm. x 100 cm 300 dpi minimum. (If the poster is not sent, whoever holds the rights to the film authorizes the use of a fragment of the work for dissemination as an informative graphic material to be used for promotional purposes.)
We ask you to send a photograph of the film in a digital JPEG format (720x576 pixels minimum) as an attached document for publication in the Festival Catalog.
We ask you to send a photograph of the filmmaker or filmmakers in a JPEG digital format (720x576 pixels minimum) as an attached document for possible publication in the Festival Catalog.
Please send us a digital copy of the identity document of the owner of the rights to the film.
If you have any questions, please contact us as soon as possible using the email address indicated at the end of this document.
You will receive a digital certification of your participation in the festival.

ARTICLE 7 - Additional notes
The films selected for this exhibition may be shown in the festival tour and special screenings, always for cultural, solidarity, educational, or training purposes without profit.
All copies of the films presented at the exhibition, whether or not selected, will become a part of the organization's media library.
The editorial content of the catalog is the responsibility of the festival organisers.
Any person or institution interested in acquiring a copy of any of the films will be put in direct contact with the film rights holder, leaving the organisation outside of any commercial transaction.

ARTICLE 8 - Unforeseen issues
The festival general coordinator may decide over any situation not mentioned in this paper.

ARTICLE 9 - Participant responsibilities
Participation in the Festival implies acceptance of all the aforementioned regulations and the pre-selection conditions.
In case the submitted works include the author's music, they must have the respective rights and/or give the appropriate credit to the authors of the music tracks.
Whoever holds the film rights must have the licenses, copyrights, copyleft, and rights over the images, sounds, or any other intellectual property right that has been used for the film realisation.
Whoever holds the rights to the film agrees to the registration form in the open call as a sworn statement, which holds the rights and authorisations and the acceptance of conditions.
This regulation applies to the entire official selection.
In case there are questions or doubts regarding these regulations, we kindly ask you to get in touch with the festival organization: info@underourskin.org