Since I joined the New Jersey Web Festival as an Executive Board Member I knew that we needed to be open to international and non-english fiction podcasts. As a filmmaker, one of the most amazing parts of NJWF was interacting with creators from all over the world and getting to experience their work. I thought, however, that with the limited resources of being a small festival and not wanting to add the burden of english translations to non-english podcasters, that this may need to be a goal for a future year.
That decision, however, didn’t stick right in my gut. Then last week, it came up again.
I received emails from creators of podcasts in Swedish, Arabic, and Russian, asking about non-english podcasts and their inclusion in the festival. These creators were excited for what we were building, proud of their content, and hoping that the NJWF would have space to consider their shows.
One thing that Neem Basha (Founder/President, New Jersey Web Festival) has instilled in me as we build this new Fiction Podcast experience is that every decision we make regarding our festival must be in the service of celebrating creators everywhere. To restrict “everywhere” to mean “english-only” would be so violently in the face of everything the festival stands for that we can’t in good conscience allow that.
Additionally, we don’t believe that non-english podcasts should be judged on what will assuredly be an imperfect translation against English-native shows. As such, we will be including nominators and judges who are fluent in the languages submitted to the festival and can judge it properly against english language shows. If you have a non-english fiction podcast, you can mark in the final question of the submission form what language your show is in, and if applicable, what dialect to make sure we have the proper judge considering your work.
All accepted shows to our festival will screen for attendees, just like the films do. We’re not sure exactly what form podcast “screenings” will take yet, however if your show is accepted and its primary language is not english, we will require an english translation for your screening. We require the same of non-english Web Series who have to submit english subtitles with their screening file.
While we’re making this change, our submission deadline is coming right up. To give time for non-english podcasts to prepare their submissions and submit in time we are extending our deadline by ONE WEEK. The new submission deadline for Fiction Podcasts is 11:59pm ET on April 16th, 2021.
To all Fiction Podcast creators out there, we hope you’ll submit for consideration to join our festival as work to bring the Film Festival experience to Fiction Podcasts, and alongside Web Series creators build a true Web Festival!