How do you decide which movies to accept? The Process.

Every year we're seeing more and more quality environmental documentaries being submitted to Green Film Fest - over 600 last year!

It's thrilling to see this growth in environmental filmmaking. It also presents us with a logistical problem: with all the fantastic filmmakers in the field, emerging and established, how do we make the hard decision on which films to present at the Festival?

This is the first in a series that takes a peek behind the scenes, at the steps we take to find the most compelling new environmental documentaries.

We watch every film

For founder, Rachel Caplan, making sure our programming remains fair to every entry and brings a diverse program into the spotlight is always front of mind. That means creating a clear process where every film gets reviewed.

But no one person can watch 600 films. That's a lot of screen time!

Fortunately, we have an excellent pre-screening team - more than 30 people with expertise in film or environmental issues - that help us review each film.

Our pre-screeners rate all the films. At least two people review each one or we take a look at the films when the whole team gets together at our regular pre-screening team meetings.

Nobody holds back in their reviews or at these meetings, as we welcome people advocating for or against the films. They can be lively discussions! 

Getting to the shortlist

As we filter through films, the ones that are getting consistently high reviews are shortlisted by our programming team. They make the final call.

Sometimes a film can split opinion in our pre-screening team - getting both one-star and five-star reviews. Those films are also flagged for further review by our programming team. We know that not everyone can love every film.

Our programming team often debates the films that make it into the program until the last moment. When the program has to go to the printer's is our final deadline!

It's not only the quality of the film that is important but all the other reasons a film might catch our eye. We delve into some of these content decisions in part two of this series and in part three we take a look behind the camera.


Green Film Fest 2017: Entries Now Open

Be part of San Francisco's leading movement for films & discussions about people and the planet. Submit your film now to Green Film Fest 2017, April 20-26.