How the Judges Make Their Decision

‘Being a Cinema For All judge was a beyond heartwarming experience. Finding out about all the amazing activities and community nurturing events being carried out by volunteers across the UK was, as a film fan, an affirming activity. Being able to reward such activities was a great honour and the experience itself has changed my entire outlook on these unsung heroes of cinema.’
Previous FSOY Judge, National Film Critic.


How the judging process works:


  • The judging panel is made up of a team of 8 judges who assess the applications online, before convening in Sheffield to make their final decisions in late August.
  • The judges are split into two teams with the categories split between them. This avoids any potential regional/ personal conflicts of interest and means that each application is given the time it deserves. Judges are asked to declare any conflicts of interest immediately upon being invited to take part, and depending of the extent of the conflict, the invite may be withdrawn.
  • Serious efforts are made to ensure the panel is a diverse make up of industry professionals, community cinema experts, regional representatives and past winners from all across the country. The panel is selected by Cinema For All staff, in consultation with the Board of Trustees.
  • The panel is different each year, and will remain anonymous with no exceptions in order to avoid any canvassing from applicants.
  • No one from the Cinema For All team is involved in making any judging decisions. Some staff members are present at the final judging meeting to take notes, write down citations and keep the session running to time. However, all decisions are left to the independent panel of judges.
  • The judging panel make their decisions based on the content of the applications. Do not assume the judges know anything about your group other than the information you have provided.
  • The judging panel are assisted by a series of publicly available criteria (see Guidance Notes), on which the questions for each category are based.
  • The Engholm Prize for Film Society of the Year is chosen last. The winner is usually  the group that has performed the strongest across the board/ has already won in other categories, so be sure to put in applications to several categories to show the range of your operation.
  • Following the awards, unsuccessful groups may request brief feedback from the judging session via the Cinema For All team. Please email