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.

1.2     Projects required to screen include BFA/MFA theses, workshop films, production-intensive course films  and any other instructor-nominated films. Certain craft course films may screen as a class reel compiled by the instructor as opposed to as individual projects. All Freshman films from Production I will be screened during Fall Screenings while only instructor-nominated Freshman films from Production II will be screened during the Spring Screenings (maximum of 3 per section.)

1.3     Special agreements made between students and their individual thesis adviser or instructor are permitted. However, deadlines applicable to all SOFA students must still be enforced.

1.4     Senior thesis projects are required to screen an in-progress version of the film in public prior to the screening of the completed film. A separate Thesis-in-Progress Screenings scheduled Week 6 of the spring semester is intended for BFA animation thesis projects. BFA film production thesis 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 BFA or MFA in-progress thesis may optionally request to screen at any of the three screenings programs in addition to the required screenings listed here.

1.5     Senior research theses 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.

1.6     Any project not publicly screened during the official SOFA screenings may receive a failing grade. Thesis advisers and instructors are not obligated to assign this grade if they feel it is unwarranted, but it should be noted that this is a recommended and permissible consequence of not screening.

1.7     The SOFA administrative chair as part of the final grading process shall review films that are not screened due to fault of the student. Films which do screen but which are not considered appropriately finished may also be nominated to the administrative chair by faculty for review of final grading.

1.8     Thesis advisers and 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 noon on Reading Day (Fall and Spring Screenings) or noon Friday of Week 6 in the spring semester (Thesis-in-Progress Screenings).

2.1     Either physical media is presented to the Film Video Animation Student Association (FVASA) Screenings Committee by the noted deadline (film, tape, DVD, HDD, etc.) or server upload of digital media is 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 OR by physical presence of the submitting student’s work (in the case of film, tape, DVD or HDD) in line at the FVASA Screenings Committee sign-up table any time prior to and including noon on the deadline day.

2.3     An exception is made for class compilation reels commissioned by an instructor, which may be submitted anytime prior to scheduled screening time.

SOFA Screenings Policy 3.0

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

3.1     Craft thesis students will be assigned (as close as possible) a time slot in the screenings program immediately after the final screened film they have crafted on. The student must work with FVASA to secure a screenings time before the signup deadline (noon on Reading Day).

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

3.3     Craft thesis students may schedule a screenings time prior to uploading media for their presentations since their choices for time slots are connected to the thesis films they work on; however, thesis directors are given priority to select times up until midnight on the morning of Reading Day. From midnight until 9:00AM on Reading Day, craft thesis students may select their preferred presentation time.  Craft students are responsible for uploading media to the FVASA screenings server, preferably no less than 24 hours prior to 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 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 thesis and grad thesis students to sign up for a screenings time anytime during the week preceding the screenings program. This applies only to final screenings; rough and fine cut thesis films are not permitted priority. This is meant to permit flexibility in scheduling times for which the thesis adviser 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 Reading Day at the end of each semester.

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.

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 until at least 1:00 p.m. on the submission deadline day to allow completion of digital uploads.

6.1     Because file submission may be interrupted once the server is closed, any files started before noon and not finished before the server is shut down can be replaced.

6.2     The SOFA screenings adviser will confirm and approve these cases.

SOFA Screenings Policy 7.0

All late screenings submissions must receive permission from the SOFA administrative chair. Late submission requests may not be made until after the normal submissions deadline has passed and no preferential screenings times may be reserved for anticipated late submissions.

7.1     A late submission form is first filled out by the thesis adviser or instructor and then approved on a case-by-case basis by the administrative chair.

7.2     Conditions cited on the form as an acceptable excuse for late submission are 1) medical/family emergency, 2) conflicting travel schedule (remote students only) and 3) catastrophic failure of RIT equipment.

SOFA Screenings Policy 8.0

The lone exception to Policy 7.0 is for media that fails to exhibit 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 of 1 hour beyond the screenings sign-up deadline is permitted for students who have uploaded a file prior to the deadline 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 by 1:00 p.m. on the submission deadline day.

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 1:00 p.m.).

9.3     FVASA will confirm that replacement media submitted by the student corrects the technical error originally claimed and nothing more.

9.4     This policy applies only to students who have submitted at least one version of their film on time. Originally late submissions due to technical error must be petitioned through the existing policy and SOFA administrative chair (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 noon deadline has passed still require approval by the SOFA screenings adviser.

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).

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 thesis adviser or instructor (failing grades) are not eligible for the archives or the Honors Show.

SOFA Screenings Policy 11.0

MFA and BFA thesis 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 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 thesis work; fine and rough cut screenings will be followed by a discussion co-lead by the student and their thesis adviser.

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.

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 thesis works shall be restricted to 30 minutes for the Thesis-in-Progress Screenings (held during the Fall Screenings for film and Spring Week 6 Screenings for animation) and 26 minutes for the final Spring Screenings (inclusive of credits).

13.2    BFA documentary thesis works shall be restricted to 35 minutes for the Thesis-in-Progress Screenings (held during the Fall Screenings for film) and 26 minutes for the final Spring Screenings (inclusive of credits).

13.3    All BFA workshop projects of any genre shall be restricted to 20 minutes in length (inclusive of credits).

13.4    All freshmen films from the 1st year production sequence shall be restricted to 10 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.

13.6    All MFA theses shall be no less than 2:30 and no more than 40 minutes (inclusive of credits).

13.7    Craft-track capstones presented at screenings shall be restricted to 20 minutes for the presentation of work, 5 minutes for the artist statement, and 5 minutes for audience commentary. Motion Picture Science students presenting at screenings shall be restricted to 25 minutes for the presentation of work and 5 minutes for audience commentary.

13.8    Exceptions to the above must be approved by the thesis adviser and submitted to SOFA administrative chair for final approval prior to submitting the film to screenings.

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

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 or captioning (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, 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 administrative chair. 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-thesis and thesis shorts.

15.4.1 The student produced notice for non-capstone or non-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 or 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

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-the-semester screenings.

16.1 Delivery format of captioning to be determined by the screenings committee to meet projection and SOFAtube workflow needs.  Current details can be found in the screening documentation on the FVASA website.

REVISION 4.0 (April 23, 2021, mjbpph/kmbpph)