The Rules

Submissions for 2018 are now closed – time to start dreaming up your next poetry movie <6 

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1. Ok, So by now you get the picture (no pun intended) – we’re not looking for performance videos. Your entry will not be a performance video. There will not be a poet poetizing at an audience or at the camera. There will be no lip synching by the poet. We know you’ve got good performance chops, we know you can wreck a room when you get up on the stage, but that’s not what this is about – show us, don’t tell us, make the moving pictures give the story. Seriously, this can be super powerful.

2. The work must be the submitter’s original work: the poetry must be by the submitter, and that person should be directly involved in the process of making the video. We want you to make the video, not hire someone else to make it. This is not to say that we think asking for help is a bad thing – we think teaming up is super, actually. Just, you know, respect the spirit of this thing, and don’t buy it, make it. If you’re a filmmaker making a video for a poet, you should submit together as a team. Just make sure the poet has a part in this filmy business other than just handing you the poem, natch.

3. Time length of 4 minutes or less. After that, we stop the film. If you’re entering the Under 1 Minute category, the video should be under a minute, natch.

4. Credit where credit is due, and please respect copyrights. On your submission form please credit everyone who is involved – the poem’s author, the person who held the camera, anyone involved in music you might use, including the sound engineer and producer (if the music is copyrighted, please make sure you have the artists’ permission to use the music. Seriously.) Fill in the form on the Submissions page and follow the instructions for sending your film.

5. Judging is blind, so please do not have any credits on your video outside of the title of the poem. You’ll send all the credit info when you fill out the form.

A quick note on poems in languages other than English: you are absolutely invited to submit your work! Please keep in mind, tho’, that the judging will be by English speakers – subtitles with translation into English will help your poetry film along.

Here’s some information to get you started.


You do not have to apply specifically to a category; we can sort out the obvious ones. But you might want to submit in a specific prize category, so let me tell you about them.

Best Overall – Just what it sounds like. The one video submitted in any category (or no category) that sticks with the judges through the whole thing. Every submission is automatically in the winning for this prize.

Best Animated – This can be any kind of animation, from stop motion to flipbook, to digital design. If you are using someone else’s engine for your digital production, please make sure you have the permission of the owner of that engine. For reals – we will need to make sure you do in order for your film to remain in competition.

Best Music/Sound – This winner can be from any category. We’re looking for spectacular use of sound and/or music in your video. This should go without saying, but all music should be music that you wrote or have permission to use.

Best Smartphone Production – This should be a video that you shot on your phone. Simple as that. Big tech is totally not the rule. Rock your phone and you fit in this category.

Best Under One Minute – Short and sweet. We won’t blink.

Best Valentine – Open to interpretation. Did you know that Worcester, MA is where the Valentine was created (check it out)? Let us honor Esther Howland with this category.

Shoots! Youth Prize – Open to filmmakers age 17 and under. You can scope out the FAQ here.

Ready to start? Holla! Submission details are over here. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


23 Responses to The Rules

  1. Rules regarding year of production?

  2. wadmin says:

    Good to know, thanks.

  3. Pingback: It’s Poetry Movie Time! | Apple Tells All

  4. Kirsten Luckins says:

    Can you enter more than one film?

  5. sabrina says:

    ahhhh so excited to enter this! is it ok if i enter it? (im 13 and my film buddy is 14)

  6. Pingback: Poetry film festival news: upcoming screenings and calls for submissions – Moving Poems Magazine

  7. Hi.

    I’d like to join. Though don’t know yet where we could register.

    Kind Regards,


  8. Pingback: Submissions are OPEN! | Apple Tells All

  9. Hello,
    I made a submission which is on the longlist (yay!) but I recently had some issues with my cloud storage service and I am not 100% sure that the link I provided is still functional. Is there a way I could check or submit an updated link?

  10. will there be a 2017 festival?

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  13. Martin K says:

    If my video poem has recently published on youtube and other sites can it still be entered in your festival?

    • Hi, Martin!

      It can – we do not recommend it, as our judging is blind, but it’s not required that you hide it. Some folks have opted to keep their films up, and change the settings on YouTube to Unlisted as a stopgap =)


  14. Kate Darnell says:

    Do you have a size or aspect ratio requirement?
    Will something 1280 × 720 pixels be acceptable?

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