In June of 2023, The Desertscape International Film Festival turns 5 and we want as many of you as possible to be part of our 5th-anniversary celebration.
St. George, UT--as well as a handful of its beautiful surrounding areas-- represents grand desert country at its most breathtaking. This, among other things, makes it a perfect spot for a film festival. Attend the fest and then stick around and check out all the incredible sights and sounds southern Utah has to offer.
The Desertscape International Film Festival invites and encourages filmmakers and screenwriters from all around the globe to submit their work--shorts, features, student films, etc. If you're proud of it, submit it! Furthermore, all genres are welcome.
Every film designated as an “Official Selection” will be presented in a live theatrical setting to enthusiastic festival attendees over the course of 4 fun-filled days in one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. And yes, awards will be handed out to the best of the best!
Our inaugural festival saw 35 films, shorts and features, of multiple genres from all over the world, including the world premiere of Jeff Sanders's provocative thriller, "Lay Me Down to Sleep," the Utah premiere of Kyle B. Thompson's touching drama, "The Boy Hero," the Utah premiere of Eric Gordon's unflinching Alzheimer's documentary, "When All That's Left is Love," Will Kindrick's sci-fi romance, "Storm" fresh off its buzz-worthy Tribeca premiere, and the recent brilliant Oscar-nominated short film, "Brotherhood."
Additionally, Desertscape: Year One saw a staggering 60% filmmaker attendance rate, virtually unheard of for a first-year film festival.
Years Two, three, and four saw increases in submissions and attendance. Year Five promises to be even bigger!
If you're a filmmaker, what are you waiting for? Submit your film now! This is a great opportunity to share your work and experience it in a live theatrical setting!
In short, this is a 4-day cinematic event you won't want to miss! Conversations with storytellers and like-minded individuals, filmmaker panels, special industry guests, live music, an awards gala, and of course, a wide variety of films for your viewing pleasure, all in beautiful Southern Utah!
The Desertscape International Film Festival: Celebrating film from around the globe!
Much love to you all from Team Desertscape.
Submitting your film or screenplay is not a guarantee of selection. All Official Selections and Award Winners will be listed on our website (www.fmasu.com/desertscape).
Trophies and/or certificates will be awarded to the best of the best in various categories. Awards will be chosen by a jury select made up of knowledgeable film industry professionals, enthusiasts, and experts.
Desertscape Film Categories & Awards are subject to change, but past awards have included:
Best of the Fest
Best Feature (International)
Best Short (International)
Best Student Short
Best Student Short (International)
Best Music Video
Best Animated Short
Best After Dark Film
Best "Made in Utah" Film
Best VR Short
Best Feature Screenplay
Best Short Screenplay
This year we are excited to announce that Burning Lines Entertainment is sponsoring the Rising Star Award to recognize the best screenplay by a student or recent graduate (since Jan 1, 2020) in any film-related discipline. This is an additional award consideration with no additional fee. The winner will receive a small trophy from Burning Lines Entertainment and appropriate laurels from Desertscape International Film Festival.
To be considered for the Rising Star Award, you must email proof of student status or graduation date in any film-related discipline to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filmmakers and Screenwriters, please read the following DESERTSCAPE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL RULES AND TERMS thoroughly before submitting your film/screenplay.
But, before we get into the nitty-gritty, we want you to know that every film/screenplay properly submitted will be viewed/read in its entirety.
• Films and Screenplays must have been completed no earlier than June 1, 2017.
• Films/screenplays that have been submitted, screened and/or received awards at other festivals are eligible, provided the submission adheres to all rules and regulations.
• Films with distribution are still eligible for award consideration.
• If a screenplay has been sold or optioned, the submitter is responsible for ensuring the terms of the sale or option are not violated by submitting to the festival.
• Desertscape assumes no responsibility or liability for a submission that violates any terms of previous agreements, will disqualify any submission that it finds to violate a previous agreement, and will not issue any refund for disqualified submissions.
• Desertscape screenplay competition Readers/Judges and Festival Directors, or anyone else who might be involved in the scoring or selection of screenplays are not eligible to submit.
2) LANGUAGE: Films not in English must be subtitled in English unless dialogue is minimal and not necessary for the comprehension of the Film. All screenplays must be in English.
3) GENRES: All genres are eligible for submission.
4) LENGTH: Desertscape has set the following runtimes and page-counts:
• Feature Film: 45 to 120:00 minutes, including credits
• Short/Student Film: 44:59 minutes or less, including credits
• Feature Screenplay: 45-120 pages
• Short Screenplay: 44 pages or less
5) SUBMISSION & FEES: All submissions MUST be made through FilmFreeway, and include a complete FilmFreeway entry form, the appropriate entry fee (or approved waiver), and a digital file.
• Once a film/screenplay is submitted, no alterations may be made without written approval from Desertscape.
• You may submit any number of titles; however, a separate entry form, fee, and digital file are required for each title.
• Do not submit a given title more than once. Desertscape reserves the right to recategorize entries due to submission error or programming requirements.
• Submission fees are nonrefundable.
• Desertscape does not pay screening fees for submitted films. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that Desertscape International Film Festival will not pay to present your work.
• Pen-names or Pseudonyms may be used in the “written by” block of the entry form, but Screenwriter’s actual legal name must then be used in the “submitted by” block. Any recognition or rewards will be issued to the “written by” name.
• Any submissions that are incomplete by our final deadline will be disqualified without refund of submission fees. Reasons a submission will be considered incomplete include (but are not limited to) the following:
○ Screener is missing
○ Screener has been deleted or password has been changed
○ Screener is missing subtitles (if in a foreign language), audio, image, or any feature that prevents us from properly judging it
6) FORMAT: Only digital files, electronically submitted through FilmFreeway will be accepted; no hardcopies, discs, or emails.
• Films must be submitted in MP4 or .MOV formats. If selected for exhibition, filmmakers may be contacted for alternative file formats for programming purposes or to meet venue requirements.
• Screenplays must be submitted as a PDF file, in Spec Screenplay format, with no identifiable information about the screenwriter on the cover page (if included) or within the document (no watermarks, footers, etc.).
7) JUDGING: Qualified jurors, selected by the festival, will judge the entries. Awards may not be given in categories where, in the opinion of the jurors, the entries do not merit distinction. In the case of entries of three or less in any category, the festival reserves the right to collapse that category.
i. Preliminary Round
1. Every film will be viewed in its entirety and judged anonymously.
2. A predetermined minimum score must be met to be considered for “Official Selection”. The Film Programming Director and Festival Directors, may raise the minimum score required to advance beyond the preliminary round based on the quantity and quality of films submitted.
3. If the First Viewer scores the film at or above the minimum score required, a Second Viewer will also read and score the film, and the scores will be averaged.
ii. “Official Selection”
1. The Official Selections will be ranked and chosen by using the average of all the viewer's scores.
iii. Award Winners
1. The film in each category with the highest combined score will be awarded the “Winner” laurel.
2. In the event of a tie, the Directors of the Festival will decide the winner.
i. Preliminary Round
1. Every screenplay will be assigned a number, read in its entirety, and judged anonymously.
2. A predetermined minimum score must be met to be considered for “Official Selection”. The Screenplay Competition Director, with the approval of the Festival Directors, may raise the minimum score required to advance beyond the preliminary round based on the quantity and quality of screenplays submitted.
3. If the First Reader scores the screenplay at or above the minimum score required, a Second Reader will also read and score the screenplay, and the scores will be averaged.
4. For scores less than the minimum required, a Second Reader will determine if the screenplay advances to the next phase.
ii. Quarterfinal Round (“Official Selection”)
1. The top 50% of screenplays (max of 40) in each category that score above the minimum score will advance to the Quarterfinals and be awarded “Official Selection” laurels.
2. Each Official Selection will be read and scored by a Third Reader.
3. The Official Selections will be ranked using the average of all three Readers’ scores.
iii. Semifinal Round (“Semifinalist”)
1. The top 50% of Official Selections (max of 20) will advance to the Semifinals and be awarded “Semifinalist” laurels.
2. Each Semifinalist will be read and scored by a Fourth Reader.
3. The Semifinalists will be ranked using the average of all four Readers’ scores.
iv. Final Round (“Finalist”)
1. The top 50% of Semifinalists (max of 10) will advance to the Finals and be awarded “Finalist” laurels.
2. Each Finalist will be read and scored by a Fifth Reader.
3. The Finalists will be ranked using the average of all five Readers’ scores.
1. The script in each category with the highest combined score will be awarded the “Winner” laurel.
2. In the event of a tie, the Directors of the Festival will decide the winner.
• Official Selections will be published no later than May, 2022, on FilmFreeway and at fmasu.com/desertscape.
• Semi-finalists and Finalists will be published as soon as possible in June.
• Award Winners will be revealed at the Desertscape International Film Festival Awards Ceremony on the evening of Saturday, June 25th, 2022.
• The Desertscape International Film Festival reserves the right to accept, reject, or disqualify any submission at their discretion without a refund.
• The Desertscape International Film Festival does not maintain ownership of any film/screenplay submitted but does have the legal right to use images and as much as 30 seconds of footage for current and future festival promotional materials.
The filmmaker/screenwriter releases the Desertscape International Film Festival from any and all liability for damages or destruction of the entered film/screenplay file. The filmmaker/screenwriter understands that the programmed material will be retained in a secure facility by the festival, and every effort will be taken to protect and control the viewing of this film/screenplay. The festival assumes no liability whatsoever for theft, copyright violations, or piracy of the entry
The filmmaker accepts and understands that the festival will do everything possible to present the film in the best possible manner but the festival is not responsible for any malfunctions during screenings. All entries are carefully pre-screened prior to the public showing to assure that the films are in working order. The Desertscape International Film Festival assumes no responsibility for any technical difficulties in the presentation of a film at the actual event.
The Desertscape Film Festival reserves the complete right to make changes in the program dates and times and to possibly not screen a film, despite it being selected for the festival.
It is the sole responsibility of the filmmaker to obtain the legal use of any and all copyrighted material presented in a film before submitting to a festival. The Desertscape Film Festival is not liable should a filmmaker fail to do so.
Promotional items and/or any programming materials will not be returned.
All shipping costs are the sole responsibility of the sender.
BY SUBMITTING THE MATERIAL, I/WE HEREBY AGREE TO DEFEND THE DESERTSCAPE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, FMASU, ITS EMPLOYEES, DIRECTORS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND AFFILIATES FROM ALL LIABILITY, CLAIMS, AND DAMAGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SUBMISSION AND FROM ANY FEES AND EXPENSES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES, THAT ANY OF THEM MAY INCUR IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.
Now, what are you waiting for? Submit a movie! The cinematic adventure that is the Desertscape International Film Festival awaits you!
Response from festival:
Ben! You are a gentleman and a scholar! Thank you so much for sharing your talent and thanking so much for the kind words and for supporting the festival. We greatly enjoyed "Trouble" of course, but all eyes are on The Horse Killers right now! Can't wait to see it come together. Thanks again!