The videos submitted to the yearly Jazz Dance Film Fest contest are reviewed by a panel of judges, who may be dancers, musicians, and film industry professionals. The members of the judging panel differ from year to year, but the main goal is to ensure fairness and have a representative sample of a broad spectrum of sensibilities.

Required Criteria

There are a few criteria that are required for videos being entered into the contest. Video entries being submitted to the contest have to meet each of these criteria in order to be considered:

Jazz Dancing

Some form of jazz dancing (i.e. Lindy Hop, Tap, Charleston, Shag, etc.) is required in the film, but not required for the entirety of the video. Dancing can be choreographed, but doesn't have to be.

No Trademark or Copyright Infringement

Logos appearing in the background (for example, if you are filming on the street, and there is a storefront logo in the background) do not have to be diluted.

Specifically, a logo cannot be "featured" in the video without permission from the trademark owner. Logos can be construed as being featured if they appear prominently in your video, or have been displayed in a way that draws attention to the logo.

If there's a logo that appears to be featured, it should be "diluted", meaning it needs to be blurred or obscured in some way. The context of how the trademark is displayed is important, and can determine if it's okay or not. Should there be a question about a logo in a video, please refer your questions to info@jazzdancefilmfest.com.

In addition, your video must not utilize or portray characters, personalities, or other copyright-protected materials that are owned by an individual or a company (i.e. Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Charlie Chaplin, etc.).

Musical Selection

Music used must be EITHER:

  • selected from the contest music lists, OR
  • has been authorized by the band AND qualifies under the musical styles criteria

Judging Criteria

In general, the judges are asked to rank the videos mostly by their general appeal, but there are a number of specific criteria that they will be looking at:


Judges will be asked to evaluate the overall quality of the presentation.

Examples: Distinctive camera shots of dancers, well-timed use of music, etc.


Creative use of concepts including, but not limited to: storytelling, scenery choices, editing techniques, etc.

Examples: Creative stories, creative use of venue space or props, etc.

Music Usage

How the music is used in the video: dancing musicality, storyline matching, etc.

Examples: Matching a fall with a hit in the music, dancers breaking during a conspicuous break in the music, etc.

Things to Consider

Video Quality

We want to encourage people to participate regardless of the quality of recording; however, higher quality videos can affect the overall artistry, which judges may take into account.

Open Format

Videos can come in different formats -- we've had videos that were more documentary style, while others are more traditional music videos. We won't judge a video harshly because it is not a "music video" in a traditional sense.