Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alaska International Film Awards - And The Winners Aren't . . .

The Alaska International Film Festival changed its name to 'Film Awards' last year.  I and others had raised questions about a festival that had no actual screenings or . . . 'festival.'

There is a real film festival in Alaska - the Anchorage International Film Festival and I have compared the two events here.  [July 18:  I've corrected this link]

Essentially, the Alaska (not Anchorage) International Film Awards (not Festival) solicits films in the summer, with the first submission deadline in September in a whole myriad of categories and their website says that winners will be announced on July 15 of the following year.   That gives them plenty of time to have lots of people submit films and entry fees.

Last year, I contacted some of the winners and learned that, yes they had won, and to get their trophies they had to pay another fee that varied in price.

Today is July 16 and this is what they have on their website under awards.  The names of the awards, but not the winners.

Click to enlarge
I took a screen shot so you could see today's date (July 16, 2011) in the upper right corner and the awards page of their website.  Actually, now it's the 17th as I get ready to post, but still no winners announced yet.

Since May 15th was the last submission deadline, and since they didn't have to do any work to set up a festival and show the films, they've had two full months to figure out the winners and post them on their website by the July 15, 2011 deadline.  But they didn't.

If anyone submitted a film to the Alaska (not Anchorage) International Film Awards (not Festival) this year, please let me know if you have been notified that you won or didn't win.  You can leave a comment or you can email me.

[UPDATE Aug 4:  Sometime while we were gone, the Awards folks posted this year's 'winners.'  I don't mean to in any way make light of those whose films got awards.  I'm sure that many of the films are truly excellent.  And I've heard from two people who got letters saying they did NOT win an award.  So, not everyone who submitted got an award.  However, the list is pretty long.  I counted 81 different awards.  (In contrast, the Sundance Film Festival seems to have just given out about 40 awards.)  And a couple folks who contacted me and said they won, were told they had to buy their own trophies.

I don't know the answer to John's comment.  Contacting Without A Box can't hurt.  You can also post comments here and in the Without A Box forums to warn others that if they win, they probably will have to pay for their trophies.]


  1. I submitted a script to the Alaska Film Awards Screenplay Competition, and I haven't heard one word from them whether I've won or lost or anything at all.

    Today I googled to get some more information about this festival, basically to find out if they are legit or not. I found your post and found it interesting, albeit discouraging.

    I've mailed Withoutabox, who gave me the tip about this festival, to ask them if they know anything.

    Feeling is, the festival is not legit.

    Mikael, Sweden

  2. I submitted a film to the Alaska film awards and still haven't heard from them. When the winners weren't announced in the day they were supposed to, I start googling about this festival and learned it could be a scam. We submitted to the alaska film awards because we wanted to submit our film to an alaska film festival. we googled and found the alaska film festival. it looked very legit by its site, we were even very excited by the alaska film festival.just now we learn that there's a real film festival in alaska, the anchorage international film festival and we'll definitely submit our film to it. But how about the money we've spent to submit to the alaska film awards?We've spent almost 80 dollars, 55 dollars the late deadline and almost 25 dollars of mail,because we wanted it to arrive fast there. What can we do?

  3. Mikael and Anon (Wed) - There's a possibility they are just late. If not, I'm sorry that the state of Alaska is connected with this event. The only thing I can see that is related to Alaska is their name and private mail box that forwards mail anywhere.

    I know you've made email inquiries. Withoutabox has a phone number in Kentucky for this event -
    Phone: 270-675-0451

    You might also let Withoutabox know about your experience. You could also contact that Better Business Bureau in Alaska. When I checked last year, this Awards event had no Alaska Business License.

    Let other film makers know about your experience and look at my posts on scams, film festivals, and comparing the legitimate Anchorage International Film Festival and this Alaska International Film Awards. I learned a lot about signs that something is fishy and you'll know what to look out for next time.

    Do let me know if you do hear back from them - either in the comments or email me
    Thanks for commenting.

  4. Hi, Steve -
    I, too, submitted and I, too, haven't heard. Has anyone contacted the organization itself??

  5. i was just notified that my feature film did win a DANALI AWARD. the email said that they will be sending out a press release this week to the industry. i'll let you know how that goes.
    stay tuned...

  6. Anon July 5 - thanks for letting me know. I just checked their website and there are no award winners up yet. Let me know if they are sending your trophy free or if you have to pay for it too. That's what they did last year to the winners.

  7. Hi Steve,

    I won a prize at the festival & the trophy fee is $155 (USD) + Postage

    I can understand postage fee's but if you win an award
    why do you have to pay for the trophy? Shouldn't the entry fee cover that?

  8. Anon 5:29 - in my post comparing the IAFF to the IAFA I mention that Christopher Holland, the author of Film Festival Secrets (p. 19), says that charging for trophies is the practice of film festival scams. Your assumption is correct. If they told you in advance, on their website, what the costs of the various awards were, then they could argue that you were simply paying them to get an award. Sort of like a place where you pay them to publish your book. But if they don't tell you up front, the expectation of a legitimate organization is that if you win an award, you'll get it with no additional fee.

  9. My name is John and I also participated in this festival. I too believe this festival is not legit. What can we do to stop this kind of fraud? Does anyone know of a way to report this to Without A Box? When I asked about the festival's results,I was given the following very ambiguous & automatic reply:

    Thank you for submitting your work to the Alaska International Film Awards. This year was especially competitive, with so many well made and deserving projects competing against one another. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all of the quality work we review can be selected or recognized, and we are forced to make many difficult decisions during the selection process.

    Please know that your project was carefully considered by our judges, and the decision was incredibly difficult to say the least.

    We greatly respect the effort and skill that went into creating your project. Please keep in mind that judging, by nature, is entirely subjective.

    Thank you again for considering our event and for the privilege of reviewing your work. We wish you all the best in your filmmaking pursuits and hope to have the opportunity consider more of your work in the future.


    Jay Akinwale
    Alaska International Film Awards

  10. I'd check to see if they're operating legally, I doubt they have a business license or any proper paperwork? City sales tax? Business personal property taxes?

    I'm ok with the many small arts groups flying under the radar but this is a scam and should be held feet to the fire for misleading and taking advantage of independent filmmakers.

  11. Pat, they didn't have a state business license when I checked last year.

  12. I wish I came across this blog sooner... I just submitted my film and payed for it on saturday =( What should I do?

  13. You can ask for a refund. But don't hold your breath? Did you pay by credit card? Dispute it. Tell them you were confused and wanted the Anchorage International Film Festival and don't pay. You can show them this and the other posts about this. Did you pay through withoutabox? Complain to them. Good luck and let us know if you got your money back.


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