Taken directly from imdb.com
What kind of titles/films are eligible for addition? And what kind of proof is required?
Eligibility: General Public Interest
For a work to be eligible for inclusion in the database it must be of general public interest and should be available to the public or have been available in the past.
We accept most kinds of films/TV shows, including big screen and direct-to-DVD features; documentaries; experimental films and short films. We also list video games, though at present, we do not list commercials, video clips or music videos (these go to the biographical section under 'other works').
General public interest is assumed if a work has been:
- Released in cinemas.
- Shown on non-local TV.
- Released on video or prints have been made available to the public (See exceptions below on limited distribution titles).
- Listed in the catalog of an established video retailer.
- Accepted and shown on film festivals that don't accept everything regardless of its quality (if you have doubt, see this page for details).
- Made by a (now) famous artist or person of public interest.
- Made famous for some reason and is widely talked about/referenced in non-local media or the 'film community' or is now of general historic interest for some reason.
NOTE: Unless general public interest is assumed for one of the reasons stated above, general public interest is NOT given just because a work has been:
- Digitized and put on an internet page for downloading. For more information, please see this special guide.
- Offered to the public on the web via home made video tape/DVD-R copies.
- Made during/for a film class, workshop or any other educational program.
- Made for a local institution (such as a university or company) for internal use.
- Made for private home use only (i.e. like a home movie, which is of a strictly private nature).
- Made for local consumption by friends, family members and neighbors, the local school campus etc. (including "local access television").
IMDb retains the right to reject any work whose eligibility according to above rules is dubious and/or unverifiable. This may include works which are in their very first development stages. If you would like to submit a project in development, please sign-up for IMDbPro. IMDb retains the right to change and adapt eligibility rules as circumstances require.
In Development - Title Acceptance Criteria
Getting Started > Submission Guides > In Development - Title Acceptance Criteria
IMDbPro is now listing feature films, TV movies, unaired TV pilots, and TV series in various stages of development including pitch, option, script, treatment/outline and turnaround. In order for your title to be considered for listing, it needs to meet the following criteria:
- Projects must be in active development at a production company, which can be easily verified (i.e. the company currently exists in the database and has an established IMDb filmography of credited, released feature films). We will also consider development titles from newly formed production companies if the filmmakers attached to the project have an established IMDb filmography and the project can be independently verified.
- For unaired TV pilots, we will only accept announced projects produced by major studios, production companies, or networks.
- Sorry, we are not accepting in-development titles for short films or video games at the moment.
- You can update your existing project by clicking on the "edit"/"Update" button on the title page. If no updates are made to a project after a certain period of time, then the title may be considered for deletion.
For a submitted title to qualify for In-Development status is must be in one of the following stages of development:
An idea for an upcoming project that has been presented and sold to a production company, which agrees to develop it.
A piece of literary work (book, short story, play, news article, etc.) where the exclusive rights to purchase the property are currently held by a production entity for consideration to develop into a feature length film or television project for a defined period of time.
An idea or abridged script; longer than a synopsis containing a rough outline such as a summary of each major scene and descriptions of the significant characters in the project. While a complete script is around 100 pages, a treatment is closer to 10.
Completed, copy written manuscript, which has been picked up by a production entity for development. A script may take the form of a screenplay, shooting script, lined script, continuity script, or a spec script.
A project, which was previously picked up by a production entity, but has been dropped and is currently in a state of limbo allowing the producers to set up the project with another studio.
The project is in some form of development stage that is completely unknown to you.
Submission Guide: Film Festivals
Getting Started > Submission Guides > Film Festivals
- Our title acceptance criteria state that one way for a film to qualify is if it was accepted by: "film festivals that don't accept everything regardless of its quality"
- To help with this guideline, the following are some common examples of film festivals or similar events that do not meet this criterion. Please note that a screening at one of these events might be listed for a title that qualified for other reasons; in other words, just because you see a screening at one of these events listed, that doesn't mean it's the reason the title qualified.
- Some general categories of screenings that do not generally qualify:
- The 48 Hour Film Project (and anything similar): These events are not festivals; inclusion is not determined by the quality of the finished work. They are most similar to a film school, and the primary audience of the films produced is the fellow participants. However, if the people involved have previous valid credits (valid under our current rules), they are accepted.
- Film markets (most notably, Cannes Market, including Short Film Corner, and American Film Market [AFM]): Participation in these is determined primarily by payment of a fee, not by quality of the film. Screenings may be open to the public, and these will often affect the year associated with a title, but this doesn't change the essentially pay-to-play nature of the event.
- Film school "festivals" (and other showcases): Generally speaking, these are really showcases for the work of that school's students. Essentially all finished projects are shown, regardless of quality or general public interest. This applies to other showcases calling themselves festivals, such as those for a filmmaking collective; unlike a festival, a showcase doesn't have an independent selection panel, and doesn't accept works from outside the group being showcased.
- Online-only "festivals": Generally speaking, these are not sufficiently selective, and are really just a special case of the existing rule that, just because a film is available on a web page doesn't mean it qualifies. They generally don't have the level of exposure of a real festival.
- And some specific non-qualifying events that don't fit the above categories:
- New York International Independent Film and Video Festival: We accepted this event for a number of years, but have since become convinced that this does not meet our criteria for selectiveness.
- Channel 101: Selection is not based on quality of the work (but rather on quality of your previous work).
- Flicker LA: This event accepts anything, regardless of quality, and even puts its schedule together before the films are available. Other branches of Flicker may be more selective than this one.
What are the eligibility rules for online titles?
Because it's so easy to get "distribution" of a title online, we have some specific guidelines about eligibility for a title that has only been made available online.
The fundamental rule is that you need to demonstrate general public interest. The most common ways to meet this criterion are:
- Have someone very well known in your cast (or extremely well known in a significant crew position). If the person isn't well known enough to merit a solo profile in a notable publication like Entertainment Weekly (or equivalent), this rule won't apply. If you have any doubt whether the person or persons are well known enough-- they probably aren't. And, just cutting in some clips from one of their old movies/TV shows/commercials isn't enough; it has to be something they did specifically for your title. And not just a 10-second soundbite on a red carpet, either.
- Be a tie-in/spin-off of a TV series on a major network, hosted on that network's official site.
- Go viral. Get a staggering number of views, ideally on a site where we can easily verify this claim. Again, if you have any doubt whether your title is "viral" or not -- you probably need to qualify using one of the other criteria.
- Get coverage -- significant, national, mainstream press coverage. That means, for example, that the New York Times is doing an article specifically about your web series (not just the people behind it, or an offhand mention in an article about web series in general). If the press outlet is online-only, it's almost certainly not going to be sufficient.
Note that, even if you meet these criteria, there are still certain kinds of titles we don't accept as primary titles:
- Short-form music videos -- these are accepted as "other works" in the biographical sections of the relevant people
- Commercials -- ditto (this includes trailers)
- Unscheduled interstitials -- for example, "hosting" an evening of programming -- again, "other works".
- Portions of larger programs (e.g., news reports; skits within awards shows, even if prerecorded) -- include them within the original program
If you don't meet any of these criteria, there are always the usual criteria for offline distribution, such as screening at a qualifying selective festival, a DVD available from an established distributor, or airing on non-local television. Remember that no matter what eligibility rule you are using to qualify, you need to document that you meet the criterion, generally by providing one or more URLs to sites other than your own.