Rules

Feature Film Eligibility

Films become eligible by fulfilling two of four criteria:

  • a.) Screening at one of the following international film festivals (listed alphabetically): AFI DOCS, Berlin, Camden, Cannes, CPH:DOX, DOC NYC, Dokufest Kosovo, Full Frame, Hot Docs, IDFA, Los Angeles, New Directors/New Films, New York, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sheffield, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Toronto, Tribeca, True/False or Venice.
  • b.) Screening at one of the following international film festivals (listed alphabetically): AFI DOCS, AFI FEST, Ambulante, Antenna, Ashland, Berlin, Camden, Cannes, CPH:DOX, Dallas, Denver, DOC NYC, Docs Against Gravity, Dokufest Kosovo, Edinburgh, Full Frame, Guangzhou, Hamptons, Hot Docs, IDFA, It’s All True, Jihlava, Karlovy Vary, Los Angeles, Locarno, Montclair, New Directors/New Films, New York, RIDM, Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sarasota, Seattle, Sheffield, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Toronto, Traverse City, Tribeca, True/False, Venice, Visions De Reel or Yamagata.
  • c.) An Oscar-qualifying theatrical release in New York or Los Angeles prior to the end of the year.
  • d.) Reporting at least $25,000 in North American theatrical box office.

Examples of Eligible Films:

  • A film that has screened at SXSW and Full Frame is eligible.  
  • A film that has screened at San Francisco and Traverse City is eligible.  
  • A film that is set to screen at the New York Film Festival and has an Oscar-qualifying NY/LA opening confirmed prior to the end of 2017 is eligible.
  • A film that has reported more than $25,000 in North American theatrical box office, including Oscar-qualifying openings in NY and LA is eligible.

NOTE: Films may only submit once for Cinema Eye Feature Honors. For example, if you submitted in 2016 because you were eligible via festival screenings, you cannot submit again this year even if you are eligible via theatrical release.

NOTE: Films that had a public screening prior to September 1, 2015 are not eligible, even if they had not previously submitted and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Voting for Feature Film Categories

  • Nominations are determined by the votes of the Cinema Eye Feature Film Nominations Committee, except in the Outstanding Nonfiction Feature category where nominations are determined both by the Nominations Committee and by that year’s eligible filmmakers who have submitted and registered their films.
  • Cinema Eye Core Team members do not vote for nominees, except for the Nominations Committee chair, who votes as part of her/his committee duties.
  • Nominations Committee members are asked to vote for their favorites in each category from the list of submitted films ranking films 1-5, with 1 being their favorite, except in the Outstanding Nonfiction Feature category and the Audience Choice category where they rank ten films 1-10.  Films ranked first receive 5 points (10 points in Feature and Audience categories), second receive 4 points (9 in Feature and Audience) and so on.
  • In the Outstanding Nonfiction Feature category, eligible filmmakers are also asked to vote for their five favorite films of the year. They are not allowed to vote for their own film.
  • Total points from the nominations committee at totalled.  In the Outstanding Nonfiction Feature category, points are totalled from the filmmakers and from the nominations committee.  
  • The top five point totals are named nominees.  In the Audience Choice category, the top ten point totals are named nominees.
  • Should a sixth film have 1 point less than the film in the fifth position AND should the sixth film have received more total votes than the film in the fifth position, the sixth film will be named a nominee.
  • If two films are tied in the sixth position that receive a higher vote total than the film in the fifth position, the film with the higher number of votes would be named a nominee and the other film would not.  If they are tied in points and in number of votes, neither would be named a nominee.
  • If there is a points tie between two films in the fifth position, both would be named nominees.  There would not be a seventh nominee named, even if the film in seventh position has a higher vote total than the films tied in fifth position.
  • If there is a points tie between three (or more) films in the 5th position, the two films with a higher vote total would be nominated. If there was a tie between all three (or more) films in votes, the nominations committee would re-vote on their preferences for the three films.  The two highest scoring films would be nominees.
  • In the Score category, films are required to have at least 51% of their music original and composed specifically for the film.  
  • In the Graphics category, films are required to have at least 1 minute of original graphic design and/or animation, not including lower thirds or sub-titles.  
  • In the Debut category, films are required to be the first feature-length (longer than 50 minutes) nonfiction or fiction film that was directed by the director.
  • In the Spotlight category, Nominations Committee members are free to vote for films whether they have qualified for other feature film categories or not.  They are asked to vote for films that have yet to receive proper attention in North America and are from filmmakers who are in the early part of their career, from whom they would like to see more.
  • In the Audience Choice category, films become eligible by grossing more than $100K at the North American box office or by winning an Audience Award at one of the festivals represented by the members of our nominations committee. There cannot be an 11th nominee in this category.  If there is a tie at 10th place, the 10th nominee is determined by which film has the higher number of votes.
  • Winners are chosen by votes of our general voting body.  
  • In the Audience Choice category, the winner is chosen by online voting.  Cinema Eye Core Team members do not vote.

Short Film Eligibility

Films become eligible by fulfilling two of the following four requirements:

  • a.) Screening at one of the following international film festivals (listed alphabetically): AFI DOCS, AFI FEST, Ambulante, Antenna, Ashland, Aspen Shorts, Berlin, Camden, Cannes, CPH:DOX, Dallas, Denver, DOC NYC, Docs Against Gravity, Dokufest Kosovo, Full Frame, Guangzhou, Hamptons, Hot Docs, IDFA, It’s All True, Jihlava, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Los Angeles, Montclair, New Directors/New Films, New York, Palm Springs Shorts, RIDM, Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sarasota, Seattle, Sheffield, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Toronto, Traverse City, Tribeca, True/False, Venice, Visions De Reel or Yamagata.
  • b.) Screening at one of the following international film festivals (listed alphabetically): AFI DOCS, AFI FEST, Ambulante, Antenna, Ashland, Aspen Shorts, Berlin, Camden, Cannes, CPH:DOX, Dallas, Denver, DOC NYC, Docs Against Gravity, Dokufest Kosovo, Full Frame, Guangzhou, Hamptons, Hot Docs, IDFA, It’s All True, Jihlava, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Los Angeles, Montclair, New Directors/New Films, New York, Palm Springs Shorts, RIDM, Rooftop Films Summer Series, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sarasota, Seattle, Sheffield, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Toronto, Traverse City, Tribeca, True/False, Venice, Visions De Reel or Yamagata.
  • c.) Published or broadcast on one of the following networks/platforms (listed alphabetically): AJ+, CNN Films, ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts, Field of Vision, Frontline, Guardian, HBO, Independent Lens, Netflix, New York Times Op-Docs, New Yorker, POV or Vice.
  • d.) Reporting at least $10,000 in North American theatrical box office.

Examples of Eligible Films:

  • A film that has screened at AFI DOCS and Hamptons is eligible.  
  • A film that has screened at Full Frame and was published by the New York Times Op-Docs is eligible.  
  • A film that has screened at RIDM and also screens by itself OR as part of a shorts program OR is attached to a feature film that reports more than $10,000 North American theatrical box office is eligible.

NOTE: Films may only submit once for Cinema Eye Feature Honors. For example, if you submitted in 2016 because you were eligible via festival screenings, you cannot submit again this year even if you are eligible via theatrical release.

NOTE: Films that had a public screening prior to September 1, 2015 are not eligible, even if they had not previously submitted and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Voting for Short Film Categories

  • Short film nominations committee members are asked to vote for their ten favorite films of the year from the list of submitted films, ranking films 1-10, with 1 being their favorite.  Films ranked first receive 10 points, second receive 9 points and so on.
  • Points from the nominations committee are totalled. The top ten films in point totals are named to our annual Shorts List, which is announced and screened at the Camden International Film Festival.
  • If two films are tied in the 10th position, both would join the Shorts List.
  • If there is a points tie between three (or more) films in the 10th position, the two films with a higher vote total would be named to the Shorts List. If there was a tie between all three (or more) films in votes, the nominations committee would revote on their preferences for the three films.  The two highest scoring films would be included in the Shorts List. If another tie resulted, neither film would be added and there would be 9 films on the Shorts List.
  • The top five point totals will be the named nominees in the category.
  • For rules regarding when a sixth film is named a nominee, see Feature rules above.
  • The winner is chosen by votes of our general voting body. Cinema Eye Core Team members do not vote.

Broadcast Longform Nonfiction Award Eligibility

  • Films are eligible when they are produced or commissioned by a broadcaster OR if they are acquired by a broadcaster prior to any public exhibition.
  • The broadcaster must be the primary funder, fund at least 30% of the total budget costs AND contribute to the creative of the final editorial cut.
  • Films may be submitted by the broadcasters or filmmakers.
  • Films may be stand-alone feature films or mini-series. Mini-series must have a single, contained narrative that spans multiple episodes [example: The Jinx or Making a Murderer]. Continuing or thematic series or programs [example: Top Chef, Parts Unknown, Independent Lens] are not eligible for this award.
  • Films and mini-series must have someone credited as Director. For mini-series, the same filmmaker or filmmaking team (maximum of three directors) must be credited on each episode of the series.
  • Films must be broadcast, streamed or published between June 1 of the previous year and May 31 of the current year (for example, June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017 for the 2018 Honors). For mini-series that broadcast, stream or publish episodes spanning across two eligibility periods, eligibility will come in the year that they broadcast their final episode.
  • Films must be broadcast, streamed or published no later than 18 months after their first public screening
  • Films may not have been nominated in any previous year for a Cinema Eye Honor.  Films that are eligible in the same year for the Broadcast Honor as well as general craft categories may compete in all categories.
  • Individual films or mini-series must have a total running time longer than 30 minutes.
  • Submissions are open May 1, 2017 – May 15, 2017.

Broadcast Longform Nonfiction Award Voting

  • A sub-group of the Feature Film Nominations Committee view the submissions and submit votes for a short list.  They are asked to vote for 5 films in this category, ranking films 1-5, with 1 being their favorite.  Films ranked first receive 5 points, second receive 4 points and so on.
  • The 10 top points leaders are named to a short list that is announced publicly in June.
  • If two films are tied in the 10th position, both would join the Short List.
  • If there is a points tie between three (or more) films in the 10th position, the two films with a higher vote total would be named to the Shorts List. If there was a tie between all three (or more) films in votes, the TV First Round Nominations Committee would re-vote on their preferences for the three films.  The two highest scoring films would be included in the Short List. If this again resulted in a tie, neither film would be added and there would have 9 films on the Short List.
  • The Second Round TV Nominations Committee (made up of film critics) watches all films on the Short List and gives their votes. Nominations committee members are asked to rank all ten films from the short list of films, ranking films 1-10, with 1 being their favorite. Films ranked first receive 10 points, second receive 9 points, and so on.
  • The top five point totals will be the named nominees in the category.
  • For rules regarding when a sixth film is named a nominee, see Feature rules above.
  • The winner is the top points getter of the TV nominations committee. Cinema Eye Core Team members do not vote.
  • In case of a tie in points, a tie is declared in the category.

Heterodox

  • Nominations committee members are asked to vote for 5 fiction films that use nonfiction means or style, ranking films 1-5, with 1 being their favorite. Films ranked first receive 5 points, second receive 4 points and so on.
  • The top 10 vote-getters in the category move on to a 2nd round nominating committee comprised of programmers, curators and film writers/critics.  
  • Second Round Nominations Committee members watch the films and rank all ten films from the short list, ranking films 1-10, with 1 being their favorite.  Films ranked first receive 10 points, second receive 9 points and so on.
  • The top five point totals will be the named nominees in the category.  
  • For rules regarding when a sixth film is named a nominee, see Feature rules above.
  • The winner is the top points getter of the second round nominations committee. Cinema Eye Core Team members do not vote.
  • In case of a tie in points, a tie is declared in the category.

Legacy/Influentials

  • Eligible filmmakers are asked to vote for 5 classic nonfiction films, ranking films 1-5, with 1 being their favorite.  Films ranked first receive 5 points, second receive 4 points and so on.
  • Films that have been released during the last 10 years are disqualified.
  • The top 25 films from this list are named as that year’s list of The Influentials.
  • From this list, the Cinema Eye Core Team selects a recipient of the Legacy Award.  
  • The winning film is announced in advance.

Unforgettables

  • Filmmakers and Feature Film Nominations Committee Members are asked to vote for five notable or significant nonfiction film subjects from the list of submitted films, ranking subjects 1-5, with 1 being their favorite.  Films ranked first receive 5 points, second receive 4 points and so on.
  • The top 15 point totals are named as that year’s Unforgettables.  There cannot be a 16th honoree in this category.  If there is a tie in the 15th position, the film with the higher number of overall votes is named to the Unforgettables.  If there is tie in vote as well, then the film with the higher number of votes from the Nominating Committee is named to the Unforgettables.

Recusal of Core Team, Nominations Committee and Advisory Board/Kitchen Cabinet

NOTE: Recusal rules apply to all categories (i.e. Feature, Short, Broadcast, Heterodox)

Films directed by a member of the Cinema Eye Core Team (Lead Production Unit, Committee and Event Chairs, Founding Director) are not eligible for Cinema Eye Honors. Films ARE eligible if a member of the Cinema Eye Core Team fulfills a different creative role (e.g. Producer, Executive Producer, Editor), however the Cinema Eye Core Team member shall not be eligible for any awards they may be considered for (for example, if a Cinema Eye Core Team member was the sole editor on a film, that film is eligible in all categories aside from editing; if a Cinema Eye Core Team member is one of several editors on a film, that film is eligible in the editing category, but the Core Team member may not be a named nominee).

Films directed by a member of the corresponding (feature, short or broadcast) nominating committee are eligible only if that nominating committee member recuses her/himself from voting that year and from any decisions related to that year’s rules or voting.

If a member of the Cinema Eye Core Team, Nominating Committee or Advisory Board/Kitchen Cabinet fulfills a key creative (Director, Producer, Executive Producer, Editor, Cinematographer, Composer, Graphic Designer) or distribution role on a film being submitted for a nomination for that year, they must recuse themselves from voting for nominations in the corresponding nominating committee (feature, short or broadcast). They may still vote for the award winner.

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For a full list of Nominations Committee Members for the 2018 Cinema Eye Honors, please see our About/F.A.Q Page.

 

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