Why does this contest no longer exist?
This event takes a lot of effort to put together, and while this work is fulfilling, it does feel like it's time to bring our adventure to a close. This contest started off as an experiment, and a world-wide community of like-minded dreamers has made JDFF a success. We are grateful to all those who made this possible.

This contest was propelled by a very specific vision. This vision centered around the desire to raise awareness of swing and jazz dancing, to preserve a certain appreciation for traditional swing and jazz music, and to provide people in the dancing community an opportunity to compete in a non-traditional way. We believe that we have fulfilled these goals to the best of our ability.

Ultimately, me and my wife (the sole organizers) have determined that life's demands have become too much for us to be able to include this contest in our juggling act any longer. While we are sad to say goodbye to this contest, we have every hope that someone will take it upon themselves to pursue something similar, and propel it with their own unique vision.

This FAQ and the legal information is still up on the site because we learned a lot from running this contest and wanted to provide examples of what we did to other event organizers and people who might be curious about the details of this contest. We hope that you find this useful! If you have any questions about how we ran this contest, feel free to mail us at info@jazzdancefilmfest.com.

General Contest Questions

Why are you running this contest?
The main goal is to generate a number of videos which can be used to promote both vintage jazz dancing (Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Tap, etc.) and jazz music, both online and offline. Also, projects like these encourage community between dancers and musicians, and provide them a chance to get together, choreograph, and be creative.
Is swing dancing required in the video?
No. Some form of vintage jazz dance (Swing Dancing, Tap, Charleston, etc.) is required, but not for the entirety of the video.
Can I make a video that includes a company's logo?
Please avoid featuring logos without permission as, depending on the context, that may be interpreted as trademark infringement. You can always, of course, get a company's permission to use their logo, or blur out the logo.
Can I submit an animated video?
Yes! If you prefer to submit a video entry using animation of any form (computer-generated, hand-drawn, stop-motion), let your imagination run wild! However, please do not use any copyrighted material or characters (e.g. Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, etc.).
Does the dancing in my video have to be choreographed?
No. As long as the dancing qualifies as vintage jazz dance, you can do what you'd like. If you want to include a little bit of "The Carlton", that'd be okay too...
Editing video seems daunting to me! Can I just not do it?
We'll take your video even if there's no editing, however, editing can affect the overall artistry, which the judges may take into account. If you do want to give it a try, check out the Resources page for suggestions on free, easy to use software for Mac and PC. There are a lot of helpful tutorials on YouTube for these programs as well.
When the contest is over, will we get to see the other videos?
Yes! There will be a screening of this year's videos at the Seattle Lindy Exchange. Check out the Screening page for details.
Do I need to sign up?
There is no need to sign up or register ahead of time. Simply submit your video when are you ready to turn it in! When you are ready to submit your video, check out the Submit page for instructions.
Is there a registration fee?
There is no cost to enter the contest. To attend the screening, there will be a small entry fee. However, the fee is waived for those who have registered for the Seattle Lindy Exchange.
Are there any restrictions to what I can do in my video?
Any video submitted to the contest must not be obscene, profane, or indecent, and must not involve illegal activity. In addition, videos submitted must not include any content which is defamatory, threatening, intimidating, harassing, harmful, hateful, abusive, invasive of another's privacy, sexist, racist, homophobic, or degrading. Videos must use music approved for use in the contest (see Music page for details).
Do I have to be present to win?
No. You are eligible to win as long as we receive your video by the submission deadline, and your video meets the requirements listed on this FAQ and the Legal page.


Am I only allowed to use music listed on this site?
No. However, we need to make sure that we have the rights to redistribute the videos submitted to this contest, including any music used in the videos. That said, you can use other music under a few conditions: Firstly (1), the music used must be representative of the jazz era (roughly 1920 - 1950). Secondly (2), you must have consent from the band to use their music and submit a completed Band Permission Form by the contest submission deadline. See the Submit page for details.
What kind of music can I use, assuming I can get the rights to use it?
This contest is focused on promoting music of the jazz era (roughly 1920 - 1950), and modern representations of that music. For specifics, please check out our qualified jazz music page.
Can I submit the same video from last year?
No. You can submit a video to the contest only once.
What if I do not comply with these music requirements?
If you do not use the approved music of the contest, or do not provide written permission from the musicians of the song(s) you use in your video, then your entry will be disqualified.
Is there a listing of public domain songs that I could use for the contest? Aren't pre-1923 songs not protected by copyright anymore?
In short, no. First, for us to be able to use it, the recording of the song must be in the public domain, which means it needs to have been written and recorded prior to 1923, or its copyright has expired (70 years after death of the individual copyright holder, or, if the copyright was on a work-for-hire, either 150 years after the creation or 95 years after the publication, whichever is shorter). There are very few jazz songs that fall under this category.

Second, if public domain songs are remastered for CD or mp3 release by a company, the engineering work to remaster that song is also covered by copyright. Thus, the only way we could use the song is if somebody recorded it straight off of their pre-1923 phonograph and provided it to us. Listings of public domain songs online have been known to contain fraudulently listed recordings which are actually still under copyright. For these reasons, finding out if a recording is under copyright or not requires a significant amount of research, which we can't afford right now, so public domain recordings are not a part of this contest.


How will the videos be judged?
A panel of judges will be selected closer to the deadline. These judges will not include anyone who was involved in any of the entries, or was a musician on any of the contest bands. The judges will watch the videos in a randomly selected order, and individually select their choice for winning entries. The panel then pools their results and selects the winners.
What will the criteria be for judging the video entries?
The judges will be asked to judge the videos based on such factors as artistry, creativity, use of music, etc. Overall, they are asked to choose winners that are entertaining and that inspire people to enjoy jazz music and dance.
What if I only have an old video camera? Will my video be less likely to win?
The judges will be asked to not take video camera quality into account for judging the videos. However, higher quality videos can affect the overall artistry, which the judges may take into account.


What prize do the winners get?
First place will include a cash prize of $700. The second place prize is $150. The third place prize is $50.
I'd like to donate to the contest prizes. How can I do that?
Thank you! Please contact info@jazzdancefilmfest.com. We will mention you as a sponsor at the screening when awards are presented. Please note, however, that we can only take prizes that can be divided easily among many people, as we do not know how many people may be involved in a winning video, so monetary prizes are preferred.

Video File Formats

What video file formats are supported?
Most major video file formats are supported:
  • Apple Quicktime
  • AVI
  • mpeg-1, mpeg-2, mpeg-4
  • DivX
  • Windows Media Format
We ask that the video be at least 640x480 in dimensions, so that it can be viewed on a standard TV.
Can I give you a VHS tape?
We ask that you please do not submit your video on VHS. The goal of Jazz Dance Film Fest is to share content online or in other electronic/digital formats, and VHS drastically limits our ability to do this. If you have access to a VHS camcorder only, please contact us (info@jazzdancefilmfest.com) and we will work with you to accommodate your restrictions.
Can I give you a DVD?
Again, we would like the video format to be a digital format in the above list. Please submit your entry on the Submit page.

Distribution Rights

If I submit a video for entry into the contest, will I still have the rights to it?
You retain the rights to do anything you want with your own video as long as it's non-profit, but you also authorize Jazz Dance Film Fest the right to use it as well. The musicians retain the rights to the music, so if you wanted to submit your video to another contest or do something else with the video for profit or commercial use, then you'll need to re-negotiate with the band.
If I don't win anything, will you still have the right to use my video(s)?
Yes. Any non-winning entries may still be used for our purposes in promoting vintage jazz music and dance and this contest.
Can I sell my videos to someone else?
Yes. Just make sure they know that there is a pre-existing agreement granting us permission to continue using the videos in question. You will also be responsible for negotiating the rights to the music with the band.
Will you sell my video?
While Jazz Dance Film Fest retains the right to sell your video, there's no real foreseeable reason to do so.