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Mr. dowd. You have now written this several times on several different posts. Let me respond here the same way I responded to your other posts:"Mr. Dowd: The films are judged by industry professionals. The film that won was the highest rated film in the entire festival. The film you were in was selected and judged on the same criteria as all the films. I am sorry you are not satisfied with the results. Just because this season one film garnered the majority of awards does not make it "one-sided." We recognize the best that are submitted without preference and this year there was a standout. In addition, a film from Australia won. As did a film from Ohio. And a film from Florida, too. So your charge of being one-sided is flat and smacks of bitterness. For what it's worth, the judges thought your performance in your student's film was funny and showed that you were a "good sport.""
And those films in the Foreign Film category and the National Film category are only eligible for those awards. Unlike most high school film festivals that only show the films of filmmakers in attendance, we accept films from all over and screen the best at the show, giving exposure to young filmmakers from other places in order to show our kids that they are part of a larger community and vice versa. But the specific awards such as screenplay, cinematography and performance are for those films in attendance, as is stated in rules #16 and #17. The film that won was technically an extremely accomplished film and would have won most of those awards anyway. That film was not a film from my school nor my district. The kids in attendance overwhelming voted for that film instead of their own, so that, in itself, does not point to bias or one-sidedness. That film just happened to be a little better than the other films, and even the kids recognized that. We are not going to fudge the judges opinions in order to give awards to others just for the sake of handing out awards. I don't always agree with the results, but I am not a judge nor do I see overriding the judges opinions as being beneficial to the standards of the festival. That's not fair to anybody and doing that would make the awards less meaningful. I do my best at explaining to kids what the process is. I send personal emails to every filmmaker who was selected, telling them what the judges thought, praising their films and giving constructive criticism as well. Each year the standards are raised due to films such as the one that won. That is not a bad thing, in my opinion. But this is the reality of the industry. There are occasionally standouts and, as art is a subjective thing, there will always be people disappointed with the results. Now that we are streaming the festival live, we may have to make some changes to the process. This is an ever evolving thing and I do not know what the future holds. I wish I could give more awards, but we are not funded by the school or the district. We are funded entirely on donations and sponsorships. This year we did not have an official sponsor so funds were lower (as stated in rule #16). I run this festival because I want to give kids an opportunity that many do not have. In my school, we don't have a single media production course. It is not taught here. So that limits the kids in my building, but the festival does give them an opportunity to submit and to see their films on the big screen and expose them to the talent from teenagers not just in the area but all over the world. But the fact remains that this festival, as with other high school festivals, are constructed to encourage as much participation and attendance as possible. I hope this helps clarify my original response.