Dear SimsFilmFest Community

When I went on Facebook today (April 21, 2016) to post a SimsFilmFest update video I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. There was a public message there asking if we knew people had been saying that this season was rigged.

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The surprise management change in the middle of Season 12 went less than smoothly, as everyone can attest, and the staff has worked very hard to make sure things went smoothly this season and to prove that we were, in fact, competent to take over the festival and that we weren’t going to change things…at least not more than needed.

The Sims International Film Festival has always been about creativity and community. From our start six and a half years ago we have strived to provide a welcoming and supportive place for the Sims machinima community. The competitive aspect of the festival is to encourage everyone to improve their machinima skills, to think outside the box, and to try new things. It is also a way to acknowledge and reward the skill and creative that goes into making Sims machinima. Hosting a festival where the winners are decided on by the Sims Community as a whole, where anyone who wants to can watch the entries and vote, has gone a long way to promote machinima to not only the Sims community but those outside of it.

What people don’t realize is how close SimsFilmFest came to ending last season when Minraed stepped down. I didn’t know if I wanted to take over the responsibility and the work of running the festival for a number of reasons. My want to see Sims machinima thrive as well as the community grow and come together won out.  Finding out that there are people who claim that the festival was rigged, for whatever reason, made me regret taking over the festival.

We have done everything we possibly can to make voting fair. We have moved away from using Polldaddy to collect votes because of the ease in which people could vote more than once to using Google Forms where you have to be logged into your Google account in order to vote ensuring that only one vote per person was cast. When it was suspected that people were creating multiple Google email accounts in order to vote during the early polls for machinima trailers and posters, we stated publicly that anyone suspected of cheating would be banned from SimsFilmFest. It’s something we are very serious about.

We have stated over and over that we have an open door policy, that if anyone has any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions that they are free to share them with us and we will listen, take things into consideration, and respond. However, people rarely take advantage of this. Instead, people would rather talk smack and spread rumors. All this is going to do is paint the festival in a negative light and bring about its demise.

It has always been the policy at SimsFilmFest to share the voting results with anyone who asks. It’s not something we will do publicly because there is always someone in every poll who gets very few votes and we don’t want to discourage anyone from doing something they love. The staff has no control over how the community votes. We don’t know why they vote the way they do. As for the technical merit awards, these are decided on by the Masters. Everyone who has ever been placed in Masters is given an opportunity every season to vote.  Some Masters vote every season, others change depending on what is going on in their life. While the results of these votes will even be released if asked for, what will not be released is who voted for who to prevent harassment. No one wants to get 20+ messages asking “Why didn’t you vote for me?”

I would really like those who are saying that the voting was rigged to email us – simsfilmfest@gmail.com – and share with us why you think it’s rigged and what we can do to fix it.

Written by: Jorgha Haq

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The Sims International Film Festival was created in 2010 as a way to foster creativity in The Sims community through machinima, an art form that uses video game footage to make movies. Over the years, as new entries in The Sims franchise were released and new editing methods became available, we’ve seen a lot of changes, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to showcasing the creativity of this community and inspiring new artists.

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