Screenings Policy

School of Film and Animation (SOFA) faculty have established the following official policies to govern the public screenings of student work held during the academic year.

SOFA Screenings Policy 1.0

Public screening is a requirement for film and animation projects.

1.1       The Fall Screenings (end of fall semester) and Spring Screenings (end of spring semester) are the only official exhibition venues at which this requirement can be met for finished projects unless other arrangements are made.  These screenings programs shall generally commence during the Thursday (2nd exam day) of final exam week each semester (presuming the standard academic calendar template adopted by RIT beginning with the 2018/2019 academic year).

1.2       Projects required to screen include BFA/MFA capstones/theses, workshop films, and production-intensive course films.  Certain craft course films may screen as a class reel compiled by the instructor as opposed to as individual projects.  All freshmen films from Production I will be screened. Only instructor-nominated freshmen films from Documentary Field Practices will be screened.

1.3       Senior capstone projects are required to screen an in-progress version of the film in public prior to the screening of the completed film. A separate Capstone-in-Progress Screenings scheduled Week 6 of the spring semester is intended for BFA animation capstone projects.  BFA film production capstone projects in-progress will be required to screen during the Fall Screenings.  Refer to the SOFA Student Handbook for expectations of project progress for these screening programs.  Any MFA in-progress thesis may optionally request to screen at any of the three screenings programs.

1.4       Senior research capstones generated by participants in the motion picture science (MPS) program may be publicly presented at appropriate venues other than the official screenings programs as approved by the MPS faculty.

1.5       For all films required to screen, instructors reserve the right to maintain their own deadlines for work submitted for grading purposes.  Requirements made in these policies pertain only to the public screening of the work.

SOFA Screenings Policy 2.0

The deadline for submitting works for the SOFA screenings shall be 10PM on the Final Monday (last class day) of the semester (Fall and Spring Screenings) or noon Friday of Week 6 in the spring semester (Animation Capstone-in-Progress Screenings).

2.1       Server upload of digital media must be initiated by the deadline.  Current instructions for media submission are managed by FVASA.

2.2       An on-time submission is defined by commencement of digital upload to the FVASA screenings server any time prior to and including 10:00PM on the deadline day.

2.3       An exception is made for class compilation reels commissioned by an instructor, which may be submitted any time prior to scheduled screening time (in coordination with the FVASA screenings committee).

SOFA Screenings Policy 3.0

All craft and writing capstone/thesis presentations shall be integrated into the Spring Screenings (end of spring semester).   

3.1       Craft capstone students will be able to present at any eligible time they select in the screenings schedule – they are not restricted to presenting after the screenings of all films they contributed to as part of their craft role. The student must work with FVASA to secure a screenings time before the signup deadline (10PM on the final class day of the semester).

3.2       All craft capstone schedule slots are exactly 30 minutes (no shorter) to contain artist’s statement, presentation and Q&A.

3.3       Craft capstone students may schedule a screening time prior to uploading media for their presentations since their roles in service to their film directors may prevent them from spending proper time to prepare the presentation materials before the general film submission deadline.  Craft students are responsible for uploading media to the FVASA screenings server, preferably no less than 24 hours prior to their assigned screenings time.

SOFA Screenings Policy 4.0

All submitted films for SOFA screenings programs should constitute digital media.  There are no plans to support videotape or film exhibition unless explicitly requested and approved by the FVASA Screenings Committee in discussion with SOFA faculty.

SOFA Screenings Policy 5.0

Only one (1) submission will be accepted per project per screening time – because students receive priority screening times at the moment they hand in their final projects, we must discourage incomplete work being submitted to simply hold a place.  Only one film will be accepted for a given screenings time except in the case of technical issues as described in SOFA policy 9.0.  This applies to all projects.  The student should NOT submit a work for a scheduled time unless they believe it is their FINAL version of the work.

5.1       Priority window: FVASA permits senior capstone and grad thesis students to sign up for a screening time anytime during the week preceding the screenings program.  This applies only to final screenings; rough and fine cut capstone/thesis films are not permitted priority.  This is meant to permit flexibility in scheduling times for which the capstone/thesis instructor may also be present during the showing of the work.

5.2       Pre-reserved screening times may be claimed in other approved special cases (see SOFA policy 14.0).

5.3       All other students are permitted to sign up for a screenings time during the deadline day at the end of each semester, nominally 7PM-10PM.

5.4       The FVASA screenings server will be open for the entire week preceding the screenings program (starting 12:01 a.m. Monday for example) for anyone to submit their work when ready, though screening times are assigned only as stipulated in 5.1-3.

5.5       No student may receive a screening time until they have submitted their work (unless permitted under other applicable SOFA screenings policies).

5.6       A replacement of an originally provided work may be submitted to the screenings process as long as the submissions deadline has not passed, however, the original screenings time will be forfeited (not to be further available to the submitting student) and a new time will be assigned at the end of the currently set schedule.  The lone exception to this loss of original screening time is for technical errors as dictated by SOFA policy 9.0.

SOFA Screenings Policy 6.0

The FVASA screenings server is kept open beyond 10PM on the submission deadline day to allow completion of digital uploads.

6.1       Because file submission may be slow or even interrupted during upload, an on-time submission is one considered commenced prior to the 10PM deadline.

6.2       The SOFA screenings adviser will confirm and approve files not completely uploaded prior to 10PM.  The student will typically need to request a submission extension from the screenings adviser in such cases as the SOFATube signup system does close precisely at 10PM.

SOFA Screenings Policy 7.0

Students are expected to submit their film according to the deadline summarized in Screenings Policy 2.0 and to be physically present for their assigned screening time.  Any student petitioning for a late screening submission must receive permission from their instructor, and no preferential screenings time may be reserved for anticipated late submissions.  Students who are not able to attend their screening in person must file an Approved Absence Exception form.

7.1     The deadline for submitting a film to screenings is summarized in SOFA Screenings Policy 2.0. If a student misses this submission deadline, they will have 48 hours to submit their film to their instructor, at which point, if their instructor has determined their film is complete based on course guidelines, their film will screen on the last reserved time slot in SOFA screenings, a ‘C’ being the highest grade they can receive for the course. Failure to submit by this extended deadline results in a grade of ‘F’ or ‘Incomplete’ for the class. The student should refer to RIT policy D05.0 for Incomplete Grades.

7.2     Students who submit their completed film on time according to the deadline summarized in SOFA Screenings Policy 2.0, but who determine they are not available to attend their screening in person, must file an Approved Absence Exception form to be signed by the instructor, Program Director and School Director. Approval of the absence yields no impact on the student’s grade.  The School Director and Program Directors for Animation, Production and the MFA program have created the following List of Criteria for Exceptions for students to have their absence from screenings approved.

7.2.1      If a student has been working remotely for more than 8 weeks of the semester (more than a 250-mile drive away), they must attend their screening via a video conferencing platform

7.2.2      If a student earns an important career opportunity which prohibits in-person attendance, they must attend their screening via a video conferencing platform

7.2.3      If a student has a death or emergency in their family, they are excused from their screening

7.2.4      If a student has a medical emergency, they are excused from their screening

7.2.5      Other significant cases that produce an absence may also be petitioned for appeal to the instructor, Program Director and School Director

SOFA Screenings Policy 8.0

Students will be permitted to resubmit their film after the screenings deadline in SOFA Screenings Policy 2.0 in cases where the media fails functionally due to technical errors introduced by the FVASA Screenings Committee. 

8.1     In such cases, the committee may work with the student to recover the problem content without penalty.

8.2     The SOFA screenings adviser will confirm these cases.

SOFA Screenings Policy 9.0

A technical error amnesty period is permitted for students who have uploaded a file prior to the Early Amnesty deadline, 10PM on the Wednesday preceding exam week for each semester, but who subsequently note technical issues with the file. 

9.1       The legitimate technical issue must be fully explained and a technical amnesty form must be signed by the SOFA screenings adviser in order to log the permitted corrections.

9.2       An agreement on appropriate time needed to resolve the technical issue in question will be made between FVASA, the screenings adviser and the student (the corrected file need not necessarily be submitted by the SOFA policy 2.0 deadline).

9.3       FVASA will confirm that replacement media submitted by the student corrects the technical error originally claimed and nothing more.  No creative adjustments are allowed.

9.4      This policy applies only to students who have submitted at least one version of their film by the Early Amnesty deadline.  Originally late submissions due to technical error must be petitioned through the existing policy and SOFA School Director (see SOFA policy 7.0).

9.5       Because only one submission is permitted for each project for an assigned screenings time (SOFA policy 5.0), even technical corrections noted and made before the 10PM Early Amnesty deadline has passed still require approval by the SOFA screenings adviser in order to retain the scheduled screening time.

9.6       No approval is required for replacements of any type if the deadline has not passed and the original submission and screenings time are forfeited (SOFA policy 5.0).

9.7       Students taking advantage of technical amnesty will be guaranteed technical support to resolve any and all technical issues prior to their screening.  Students choosing to submit instead for the general SOFA policy 2.0 deadline will be held to accurate submission of their completed films without assurance of technical support, though the FVASA screenings team will offer any reasonable help it is able to.  In such cases, SOFA policy 5.0 will apply and the screenings time will be forfeited and only technical corrections deemed necessary for proper exhibition will be made.  Meeting the Early Amnesty deadline is especially important for students subscribing to SOFA and FVASA Digital Cinema Package (DCP) submission protocols.


SOFA Screenings Policy 10.0

Students will be permitted to submit altered films after the screenings submission deadline for the purpose of archiving and inclusion for the Honors Show, but coordinated specifically through FVASA. Honors Show resubmissions must be made by July 1st, following the end of academic year. All other resubmissions to the SOFA archive must be made within three months of the final screening. Films NOT approved by the instructor (failing grades) are not eligible for the archives or the Honors Show.

SOFA Screenings Policy 11.0

MFA and BFA thesis/capstone projects require an artist’s statement but no respondent.

11.1    The general form of the artist’s statement will constitute commentary from the student immediately following screening.  This also applies to senior craft students (who may choose to deliver the statement at the beginning or end of their presentation).

11.2    Guidelines (BFA, MFA) for artist statements have been proposed and summarized for the benefit of screening students.

11.3    These requirements pertain only to the final screening of capstone/thesis work; fine and rough cut screenings will be followed by a discussion co-lead by the student and their capstone/thesis instructor.

11.4   In the event a capstone or thesis film is screened, but the contributing student fails to attend the screening, the student is rescheduled to appear on the last day of screenings to deliver artist statement and/or thesis defense and take critique. A rescreening of the film will not be allowed. If the student does not appear for their scheduled screening or any subsequent rescheduled artist statement or defense without proper explanation, the student will earn a failing grade for the course.

SOFA Screenings Policy 12.0

Screenings hosts will be restricted to appropriate commentary between films and in introducing student work. A code of conduct to be enforced by faculty, FVASA and the Screenings Committee has been summarized for students’ benefit.

12.1    Screenings hosts will address the audience from the podium only for session and break intros and outros.  Otherwise, films will be announced from the projection booth remotely.

12.2    FVASA will identify hosts and orient them to the expectations of the role by the end of week 13 of the Fall and Spring semester.

Further, the following “Rules of Behavior” statement is reinforced to the community and printed on each day’s program during Screenings.


1.      Screening of student work is a mandatory element of SOFA education. Please conduct yourselves accordingly:

  • Please refrain from unnecessary talking during screenings and critique.
  • Please put cell phones on vibrate. No light-emitting devices while a movie is playing.
  • Please deposit your trash in the receptacles in the rear of the auditorium.
  • Please be courteous and quiet as you enter and exit the room.

2.      Although sincere and forthright critique is always welcomed, please be sensitive in your remarks to the efforts of non-SOFA film talent and subjects.

3.      All adult content is reserved for specified blocks. Please be aware of the indicated rating system and content warnings, especially if children are present.

SOFA Screenings Policy 13.0

Screened Project Lengths – the following represent guidelines for project lengths approved for screenings:

13.1    BFA fiction/experimental live action capstone works shall be restricted to a maximum of 18:00 minutes for the Capstone-in-Progress Screenings (held during the Fall Screenings for film) and between 8:00 and 15:00 minutes for the final Spring Screenings (inclusive of credits).

13.2    BFA documentary capstone works shall be restricted to a maximum of 18:00 minutes for the Capstone-in-Progress Screenings (held during the Fall Screenings for film) and between 10:00 and 15:00 minutes for the final Spring Screenings (inclusive of credits).

13.3    BFA production workshop projects shall be limited to the following lengths:  Fiction 6:00 to 10:00 minutes; Documentary 6:00 to 10:00 minutes; Radical 3:00 to 8:00 minutes, all inclusive of credits.

13.4    All freshmen films from the 1st year production sequence shall be restricted to 5:00 minutes, inclusive of credits.

13.5    2D, 3D and stop motion BFA animation capstones shall be no less than 2:30 for final Spring Screenings, inclusive of credits.

13.6    MFA production fall and spring films shall be restricted to a maximum of 15:00 minutes, inclusive of credits

13.7    All MFA theses shall be limited to the following lengths inclusive of credits: Animation 2:30 – 10:00, Live Action Production 8:00 – 30:00

13.8    Craft-track capstones presented at screenings shall be restricted to 20:00 minutes for the presentation of work, 5:00 minutes for the artist statement and 5:00 minutes for audience commentary.  Motion picture science students presenting at screenings shall be restricted to 25:00 minutes for the presentation of work and 5:00 minutes for audience commentary.

13.9    Exceptions to the above for MFA thesis runtimes must be approved by the MFA thesis chair and submitted to the SOFA School Director for review.

13.10 Any film violating the above guidelines will not be screened.

13.11 “Filler films” from SOFA students will be screened when programmed films are pulled due to being incomplete or not meeting technical standards and adjudicated by the SOFA Screenings Advisor.

SOFA Screenings Policy 14.0

Under the following conditions, contiguous blocks of time may be reserved for grouping students in the screenings program. 

14.1    Only a faculty member may request the reservation of these time blocks.

14.2    The faculty member must reserve the block prior to student signups so as not to displace any existing reservations.

14.3    If the faculty member does not make the request prior to the student signups, they will be restricted to available blocks in the program at the time of request.

14.4    Permissible special cases for pre-assigned time blocks include:

14.4.1   Graduate thesis screenings (historically grouped in contiguous blocks during 1 or 2 days of the full screenings program); non-thesis graduate productions will be screened during the general program.

14.4.2   Class reels, either as single compilation or a group of independent projects the instructor deems necessary to exhibit as a contiguous program (examples include study-abroad productions and specialty workshops).

14.4.3   Students requiring special access services such as sign language interpretation (blocks may be reserved during times these services are available on campus)


SOFA Screenings Policy 15.0

Students must include an approved animated or still frame SOFA production credit at the head or tail, and a student produced notice and copyright notice at the tail of the final version of all SOFA shorts.

15.1          All versions of the SOFA production credit available for download from SOFAtube are approved for student use.

15.2          The approved versions of the production credit may not be altered in any way nor used for any work produced outside of SOFA without permission of the SOFA School Director. However, if desired, music or sound effects appropriate for a short may be played under the still credit.

15.3          Shorts exhibited as a continuous program, such as the Honors Show, need only include a SOFA production credit at the head of the program.

15.4          Student produced notices must immediately precede the copyright notice. The student produced notice is different for non-capstone/thesis and capstone/thesis shorts.

15.4.1   The student produced notice for non-capstone/thesis shorts is:

Student produced at the
School of Film and Animation,
Rochester Institute of Technology

15.4.2   The student produced notice for capstone/thesis shorts is:

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the [BFA or MFA] degree in the
School of Film and Animation,
Rochester Institute of Technology

15.5    The final end title credit (after the student produced notice) on all shorts should read as follows:

Copyright [year of completion] [student’s legal name]

SOFA Screenings Policy 16.0

The following are SOFA screening requirements related to captions and subtitle requirements, managed consistent with RIT guidelines and requirements for accessibility.

16.1    All students, whether deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing, will be responsible to provide captioning or subtitling for any film that is submitted for public screening at SOFA events, including the end-of-semester screenings.

16.2    Format of captioning is to be determined by the screenings committee to meet the best workflow for projection and SOFAtube delivery needs.  Current details can be found in the screening documentation on the FVASA website.

SOFA Screenings Policy 17.0

In order to allow efficient scheduling of SOFA screenings, including generating predetermined class groupings (see SOFA policy 14.0), the SOFA screenings committee shall be provided film count and duration data from screening students and their instructors for the Fall and Spring screenings.

17.1    Faculty shall provide an estimate of film count and predicted film durations for all students enrolled in their courses which require screening by the end of week 4 of the Fall and Spring semester.

17.2     Students and faculty shall provide a final film count, film duration and rating for all films which require screening by the end of week 13 of the Fall and Spring semester.

REVISION (04.09.2024 mjbpph)