Welcome to SimsFilmFest! Please read the rules in their entirety before submitting your project, we reserve the right to disqualify anyone not following them. We’ve divided the rules into different sections to make it easier to follow. If you have any questions please contact us.
• Entry forms will be accepted from January 1st to May 16th – Note that no submissions will be accepted before or after this date. This does not mean that the film has to be completed by this date. You may submit your entries at any time before this, but they will not be acknowledged until the start of the season.
• Machinimas released after 11:59pm PST of June 1st will nott be accepted.
• Your machinima must be uploaded to YouTube* by June 1st as we’ll no longer accept late projects (if, for some reason, you can not complete your film in time for release let us know in advance).
• We accept all machinima made between festival seasons. This means that you can enter a machinima completed any time after the previous season or create something new just for the festival. This means July 1 or later.
* YouTube is the platform used by SimsFilmFest. You are welcomed to also upload anywhere else you wish, as long as it’s an accessible platform.
• Your machinima must have been released no longer then 12 months prior to the opening of the festival. We will not accept any entries created prior to last season.
• Your machinima MUST be filmed in its majority with The Sims — You can use editing effects, but the film itself, the sets and the animations are expected to be filmed in The Sims games. Footage from other game platforms or programs such as MMD will not be accepted.
• There are no minimum or maximum length requirements — The only requirement is that each entry should be a stand-alone story unless you are submitting an episode for the series category. If you are submitting a film, it must be complete or else you will be disqualified. This means that you must finish your machinima. If it is not completed, then back out and re-enter it next season.
• You can enter up to 5 machinimas. We are now two entries per category, however you will get one award for your collective works. This means if you enter two music videos, and they both would receive an award, you will only get the highest placed award for both entries.
• Language and Subtitles — SimsFilmFest is a gathering of The Sims machinimators from around the world, that is what makes the festival as popular as it is. Although we do not require English subtitles from foreign entries, it is advantageous to have them since the festival is predominantly attended by English speaking viewers. Machinimas in other languages are eligible for the SimsFilmFest award for Foreign Film.
• Please double check your listing on the playlist, if you see any errors then please inform us so that we can correct it.
• If you have not sent us a submission form, DO NOT submit any promotional material for your project. It will be removed.
Trailers & Machinima Posters
• Machinima trailers are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as they get a lot of attention. We share these during our promotional phase and we link them to the playbill to get the fans excited.
• A link to the trailer/s must be sent to us using the Trailer Submission Form.
• Trailers must be submitted by 11:59pm PST May 14th to be eligible for viewers choice voting.
• Please try and keep them under 3 minutes and upload them to YouTube or your platform of choice.
• Trailers are subjected to the same rules on censorship and viewer discretion as full-length machinimas.
We also look forward to seeing and sharing your film posters each season. Machinima posters are MANDATORY and will appear on the playlist along with your film. They are also used to promote your projects, and for use in our magazines. If you need help putting together a poster, check out our tutorials. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
• Posters must be uploaded to the Poster Gallery. Do not email them to us unless we request you to.
• Posters must be submitted by 11:59pm PST May 14th to be eligible for viewers choice voting.
• Posters need to be 831 pixels wide x 1175 pixels long and must either be in JPG or PNG format (we do prefer PNG as this format holds resolution best when resizing). If posters do not meet these size requirement we will ask that they be redone or we will not accept them.
• Please DO NOT use the ‘SIFF’ abbreviation on the posters. This is trademarked by the Seattle International Film Festival.
• If you are going to use SimsFilmFest branding, please only use the logos provided on the Brand Asset Page. DO NOT use old logos.
• The name of your machinima must be on the poster.
• Posters must not contain foul or offensive language, gestures, nudity, or depictions of sex.
Censorship & Viewer Discretion
We will disqualify your film if it contains:
• Any intention to be hurtful or offensive;
• Rape, incest, and/or non-consensual sex (tasteful sexuality and love are acceptable and should be shown with discretion and not with shocking scenes);
• Anything that supports racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and/or bullying (you can submit films with these topics if the message is positive or educational, but not something that shows that these things are good or acceptable);
• Pornography, no matter how small (this includes full view of sexual intercourse or sex organs/body parts). Penis/female nipple mods, sex animations, and 50 Shades of Grey-like content are not allowed;
• Excessive and unnecessary swearing (the occasional swear word as we might hear in real life stressful situations is acceptable).
The following themes MUST INCLUDE a warning message directly in the introduction of the machinima (no exceptions):
• Strong language;
• Intense violence;
• Sexual content;
• Use of alcohol, drugs, and/or tobacco;
• Blood and gore;
• Anything that could be a trigger for people (domestic violence, rape, or anything else of a traumatizing nature).
• Disclaimers MUST be placed on all things of a political nature.
Categories & Labels
You MUST identify if your submission is a FILM, MUSIC VIDEO, SERIES, M.E.P. (Multi Editor Project), MISCELLANY or AD. In the past there has been some confusion about which category your submission falls into, so please consider the following:
• FILM: A unique story either taken from a real-life film or story, or something you came up with yourself. It may be set to music, it may include voice acting, it may be set to a single song and yet not actually be a music video. The key here is that the focus is on the story and the characters. It should be a complete, finished, stand-alone story. If it will be part of a series, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games then you must make it clear from the start. A NOTE ON FOREIGN FILMS: All submissions that are in any language other than English will be considered for our Foreign Film award.
• MUSIC VIDEO: Think about the music videos you see on television, they often tell a story, but are presented in a more abstract or artistic way, often showing the band playing. In a music video the focus is on the band and the song and if there is a storyline it will usually be an interpretation of the lyrics.
• SERIES: A group of episodes of a project released at regular intervals. Each episode should be a stand-alone story, or a stand-alone part of a larger story told throughout the series. If you enter a series you have two choices: you can submit the next episode of your series, but it MUST NOT have been previously released, or you can enter a new series. To qualify as a new series it must not have more than 5 episodes and no episodes of the series have been submitted to SimsFilmFest in a prior season. Note that we will separate the playbill into NEW SERIES (pilot episodes) and ESTABLISHED SERIES, and voting polls will also reflect this.
• M.E.P. or Multi Editor Project: Machinimas made with parts by a number of different directors. (When you submit, please list all contributing directors in your entry under director – list your name first).
• MACHINIMA MASTERS: The Machinima Masters category is by invite only. Once you are awarded Masters, this is where you will always compete (the only exception is if you enter a MEP). Please see our Machinima Masters page for more information.
• ADAPTATIONS – Adaptations include projects that are based on books, manga, other video games, movies, TV shows, etc. This means that if someone has turned any of these things into a “Sims version” it will be considered an adaptation. An adaptation is not an original story using characters from a book, TV show, etc. (an example of this is Vinny Visual’s Tomb Raider machinimas). Adaptations will now be their own category (provided there are enough entries) and will not be eligible for certain awards (Best Dialog, Best Storyline, and Most Original Machinima) however there will be a new Best Adaptation award will be given out.
• OTHER OR NON-TRADITIONAL MACHINIMA – Anything that does not fit neatly into the above categories. This can be anything from a house tour to an advert or something completely out of the box.
Voice Actors Submissions
We are still in the experimental stage with voice actors and are trying new things to make it more fun and fair for them. We are always open to suggestions so please feel free to contact us with ideas.
• Awards will be given for Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male Character, and Best Supporting Female Character.
• Please use the Voice Actor Submission Form to send in your entries;
• Directors can submit their voice actors for awards or voice actors can submit themselves. Keep in mind we may ask for either a picture of your simself or of one or more of the characters you have played.
• There is no limit to the number of submissions per voice actor.