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Submissions Now Open for the 2012 Vimeo Festival + Awards

Jeremy Boxer
December 13, 2011 by Jeremy Boxer Alum

The word "excited" doesn't do justice to our emotions right now. We're thrilled, pumped, tickled 2,012 shades of pink, and jazzed to the max to announce that the Vimeo Festival + Awards are back! In fact, submissions are now open, so it's time to throw humility to the wind and show off the amazing masterpieces you've been slaving over. We want to see them!

In case you have no idea what we're talking about: The Vimeo Festival + Awards are a celebration of the best original videos premiered online. This isn't just a Vimeo thing, it's a video thing – everyone is invited to participate. It's not just an online thing, either. The 2012 Vimeo Festival + Awards will culminate in an offline event held in the real physical world next June. We'll share more details when the time is right, and in the meantime you can learn more about the 2012 Festival + Awards on the website we designed expressly to tell you about them.

So – about these new awards. People always say things like, "They're better than ever!" But seriously, if the 2010 Festival + Awards knocked your socks off, the 2012 version will absolutely launch your argyles into the stratosphere. There's lots of new stuff to love, including:

New Categories
We're covering all your favorite categories from 2010, and, because the world of online video is growing like a teenager who sleeps too much, we're introducing four new ones: Action Sports, Advertising, Fashion, and Lyrical. See the full list of categories »

New Judges
We've plundered our Rolodexes and corralled some incredibly distinguished individuals to evaluate your submissions. To wet your whistle, we can reveal that the new-category judges are skate legend Stacy Peralta (Action Sports), ad genius David Droga (Advertising), fashion photographer extraordinaire Nick Knight (Fashion), and cinematography maven Philip Bloom (Lyrical). In addition, all of the 2010 winners will be on the 2012 jury! We'll unfurl the next round of big (and really massive) names in January.

New Prizes
Creativity should not go unrewarded, which is why each winners will receive a really sweet Vimeo t-shirt! Oh, and did we mention the t-shirt will be wrapped around a stack of cash? We're ponying up $5,000 grants for category winners and one $25,000 grand prize, all designed to help the recipients make new original work.

Sounds pretty fly, right? Before you submit, here are all the fine points of gory detail you need to know:

  • Submissions will be accepted from December 13, 2011 through February 20, 2012.
  • There is a $20 (U.S.) submission fee per video. The submission fee is $5 for Vimeo Plus and PRO members.
  • Entrants can submit any original work that premiered anywhere online between July 31, 2010 and February 20, 2012, or any original work that has never been premiered. Videos that premiered online before July 31, 2010 are not eligible for submission.
  • All entries must comply with the Official Rules of the Vimeo Festival + Awards. (We're typically not big fans of rules, but it's really important that you read these.)
  • All submissions must be entered through That's it! We hope you're as thrilled/pumped/tickled/jazzed as we are. Get inspired by reliving the 2010 Festival + Awards, and then go ahead - wow us!


Alex White

Whoa! Awesome!

Limitation on submitting videos?

Andrew Doig

damn no comedy category,same as the oscars


Very nice

Varun Mehta

m participating but i would suggest that you should not ask for submission fees atleast. from ur website users. Also its a bit tiring job for international users to get this job fixed first and then submit the movie.

O'Ryan McEntire Plus

It's also very costly for a website that doesn't charge to host a festival and dole out awesome prizes like these.

Varun Mehta

But many websites do the same. And it becomes comfortable for others to enter this. Actually the thing is nt abt the fees, its those documents to get them ready first when submitting a movie. Anyways, its just a suggestion at the end.

Elliott.G.Montello Plus

I have read all the T&C's and Rules and can not find anything about if you're allowed to submit more then one film into the same categories or into different ones?

Jason Sánchez

nice... this festival looks pretty interesting!

Kevin Parry

An animated music video: Animation or Music Video?

Kevin Parry

Figured that, just double checking. Awesome, thanks!

John X. Carey Plus

Oh, awesome! An advertising category! That's great -- it's hard to get love when making commercials so thanks for appreciating the craft!

Also love the "lyrical" category! Working on something for that one right now! :)

jason roberts

do we get some trophy or anything along with it ..?...the cash sounds gud though..:P

Ramon Rosa

wow, I'm still shocked about this beatiful video, congratulations for it and good luck to all participants!

Nils Clauss Plus

Help, please. I am confronted with a bug. Want to select a category after selecting a video. But once I click the category button, the page reloads and therefore no selection is possible. I am working on OS X 10.6.8 using Safari 5.1.

Grigoryev Gleb

What is considered as a lyrical? just didn't understand it properly

Brian Troy Plus

I'm really excited about this. Thank you for doing this again.

Mark Borgions Plus

So if I did something for TV, but uploaded it before airtime, it is eligible for entry, right?

Peter Simon (Petey Boy) Plus

I have a video I'd like to submit, but I feel that it fits in more than one category. You say at the top that I can only submit it to one, no? How do I choose the most appropriate category?

Kino Berlino

We'd love to participate, but sadly you charge the filmmakers a submission fee (which is very uncommon in Europe, but common in the USA).

Maybe invent a no-budget category, where we can post our videos (non-competitive).

Blake Whitman Staff

If we didn't charge, then everyone would submit everything and we would be inundated with submissions and never be able to watch them all!

Mark Borgions Plus

Submission fees uncommon in Europe??? And apart from that, $20 is not that much is it?

Sean Dunne PRO

Dearest Vimeo,

My name is Sean Dunne. I am a vimeo plus member and a filmmaker. I make documentaries that I post solely on vimeo. Some of my films have achieved great success due to the online exposure I've gotten. My first film, The Archive, was posted on Vimeo in August 2008 and subsequently went to Sundance, Silverdocs, was aired on PBS, shortlisted for best doc at the Vimeo awards and was even nominated for an Emmy. My next film, The Bowler, achieved similar success having played to audiences all over the world and at countless film festivals. Once again those films (and all my work thus far) were made exclusively for vimeo and posted on the site the day they were finished. Any attention they received after that can be attributed to the exposure they received from vimeo...this is why I love vimeo.

This summer I made a film called American Juggalo. I posted it on vimeo with very low expectations. Somehow despite it's length and subject matter it went viral and found an audience. I couldn't be more thrilled with the reaction that the film has gotten.

So some friends start sending me the submission for the vimeo awards saying I should send it in. It's not usually my thing, but I figure why not? If vimeo somehow chooses to recognize it then maybe it could help us get the much needed funding for my next project. So I submit it, then I realize that the documentary category has a restriction on the length of its submissions. What? Why? Huh? Ummm, okay. This is why I'm writing. As someone who has spread the good word and sung the praises of vimeo for the last 3+ years I was dumbfounded when I read these rules and I figured I would take this opportunity to let you know why this upsets me (beyond the obvious reason that my film doesn't qualify) and ask you a few questions, most rhetorical...because I'm an asshole.

Is it really necessary to have length restrictions for these awards? What do you gain by eliminating projects that are longer than that? Is this a good message to be sending to your users? And can you really, with a clear conscience, bestow the title of Best in category without acknowledging that a good portion of the films on your site didn't even qualify?

This points to a larger problem that I see in the changing landscape of filmmaking, the tail wagging the dog. As the torchbearers of quality online video, are you really trying to say to the filmmaking community that in order to have their work recognized it needs to be a certain length? That a film that clocks in over 20 minutes is somehow less worthy of the massive exposure that the vimeo awards brings your project? Is that really the message you're trying to send here?

As a filmmaker who has been to virtually every festival out there and spoken to countless directors I can tell you that the effect of this is simple and scary, artists start tailoring their work to fit into the confines of these festivals and awards...the tail wagging the dog. Up and coming filmmakers who haven't been as lucky as myself unknowingly start making films that are a certain length or a certain subject matter because they crave the exposure that comes along with being selected by these bullshit festivals. And now Vimeo can add their name to the list of people who are part of the problem.

If you ask me I think it was pretty ballsy to make an uncensored film about Juggalos that is 23 minutes long and expect people to watch, but they have. Close to 900,000 people so far. That film is exactly what I set out to make, the exact length it needs to be to get the point across. But what is the message vimeo is trying to send me? That had I made some edits, tweaks, omissions and fucked around with it and made it shorter it would be worth considering. FUCK. THAT.

You call yourselves a filmmaking community but I must admit that after seeing the rules on your little "contest" I now feel you're doing the exact opposite. You're doing the filmmaking community, especially those like myself who make films exclusively for vimeo, a huge disservice.

My suggestion, don't have a festival or awards ceremony at all. Act as a true community and resource for filmmakers and don't go alienating those who see vimeo as an alternative to the industry bullshit for their films by recognizing only a handful of films and videos. Isn't art supposed to be subjective? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't vimeo supposed to be above this? You’re supposed to be a resource, not a tastemaker. At least that’s what I thought.

I know the simple answer to all these questions and complaints is if you don't like it then just don't submit. Well, if I hadn't already submitted before reading these bogus rules then I would absolutely not have submitted. But now that you have my $5 submission fee do me a favor and watch and consider the first 20 minutes of American Juggalo for the documentary category but don't bother with the remaining 3 minutes and 22 seconds they are completely unnecessary to the film. I mean who could ever make something decent that's a little longer than 20 minutes?

By having these awards in the first place you are taking on a HUGE responsibility. Maybe you don’t realize that fact. But by pointing out the “best” in any given category amongst the hundreds of thousands of videos on your site you’re telling the public that this is truly the best of the best without fully explaining that this is the best of those films that were under 20 minutes…oh and chosen from only those who submitted. People buy into this shit, if you’re going to do this you should at least do it right.

That is all. Have fun with your little awards thing.

-Sean Dunne

Director Kobayashi Plus

I'm with you!!!

And also one more thing... Please don't put fake film makers in the jury of the festival, just because they drive a lot of web traffic to the event.

Yes, I'm talking about him: Phillip Bloom...
I don't have anything personal against him, he is a very good guy with a lot of qualities. But he is not a "cinematography maven" as you quote him!

You have hundreds of talented DP and cinematographers in this community, why do you pick up a mediocre one to judge our work?

All the Bests from London,

Peter Simon (Petey Boy) Plus

The way I see it is that if you want to submit something longer to a festival... there are thousands of film festivals that will take your work. Vimeo is one of a few festivals that appreciate and showcase shorter works.

Vimeo's festival caters to the community that it serves. In general, most of the videos on vimeo are under 10 minutes. That is the majority of the community. I'm not saying that means they shouldn't allow anything longer, but that makes the most sense for the folks they are working for.

Again, longer form film festivals are all over the place! Making it difficult for those of us that like to work in short form to garner attention. You say that your films "have achieved great success due to the online exposure [you've] gotten" and The Bowler "played to audiences all over the world and at countless film festivals". It sounds like you know what you are doing and that there are plenty of festivals and opportunities for you outside of the Vimeo Festival. So, why make Vimeo bend to your will? Just be thankful for Vimeo hosting and leave it at that.

Blake Whitman Staff


I appreciate your concerns. Truly, I do. But I'm pretty surprised that you're so enflamed by our efforts here. I figured you knew us and understood our intentions. You've been a great member of this community for a long time. 'The Archive' was even selected, by us, for the shortlist for our Awards last year. And you must know we are big supporters of your work. We've featured a bunch of your work in the past which has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to watch your docs that potentially never would have. Would you also argue that we shouldn't feature videos ever again?

We've created the Festival + Awards to honor the growing talent and amazing community of filmmakers on the web who choose sites like Vimeo to publish and share their work. Although we honor these videos everyday in general, we think it's important to push it further and honor the up and coming talent that is pushing boundaries, making incredible work, and deserves to be recognized.

But as a new festival, beginning to define ourselves, we have to start with what we know. For the most part, Vimeo and other video sites on the web are mostly made up of short form work. That is what is most prevalent, watched, and accessible. So we're starting with what we know.

To start, we've decided to focus on the length of films and videos that are the most prevalent on the web. Generally speaking, these works are largely under 10 minutes. But we realize longer form works are becoming more popular and have a ton of merit as well, so we made the limit 20 minutes to include longer works. We don't find that unreasonable. The reality is that watching tens of thousands of submissions is labor intensive and receiving a ton of long submissions is not something we can currently support. Just because your film doesn't fit within the length limitations doesn't mean our entire operation is unjust.

You'll notice that we also didn't include feature length films. And there's a reason for that: feature films that have premiered online aren't that prevalent... yet. When they are, we'll probably open up for that kind of work.

We're a small staff, trying to do something to support you and everyone else that chooses to publish your work online. We feel that is a good and just cause. I'm sorry you don't feel that way.

Kid Mountain Plus

Cut Vimeo a break man... they're the most respectable entity on the web for film. I genuinely love what they do and without them, what venue would we be left with? The artistic black hole that is Youtube? I used to have a lot of respect for you Sean... now you just sound conceited.

I level with Blake and Pete. Vimeo is doing a pretty wonderful service allowing twenty minutes for shorts, especially when there will most likely be a mountain of submissions to evaluate. I've been to some pretty painful festivals where the cap for shorts was fifteen minutes... begins to get stifling around that tenth minute or so.

Who knows, perhaps sometime in the future Vimeo will extend it's reach and encompass features?

All I can hope is that they'll stay young at heart and keep to the unique culture that they've become so esteemed for fostering. I'd be so sad to see this amazingly personable community drift off into the aesthetically-challenged void of gumptionless online video hosting.

Rock n' roll Vimeo! I appreciate you guys!

Frederic Sofiyana Plus

Hello Blake,

I have made the payement but I don't now how to select one of my vimeo video. The rules don't indicate it.
Thank you for your help ;)

Blake Whitman Staff

Hey Frederic, if you're having problems, please email awards @ vimeo and we'll get you squared away.

Knock Knock Pictures

After submitting a video, is it possible to change the category you selected?


American Juggalo blew my mind... a damn shame if I can't be submitted.

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