‘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.

To help you understand the process better, we’ve explained below how your application will be judged by a team of external, anonymous judges. 

  • 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/ early September.
  • The judges are split into two teams with the categories split between them. This avoids any regional/ personal conflicts of interest and means that each application is given the time it deserves.
  • 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 different each year, and will remain anonymous with no exceptions.
  • No-one from the Cinema For All team is involved in making any final 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 judges.
  • The judging panel make their decisions based on the content of the applications Do not assume the judges know anything about your groups that the information you have provided.
  • The judging panel are assisted by a series of publically available criteria (see Guidance Notes for a full list of these), 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 chosen to be the group that have performed the strongest across the board/ has already won in other categories, so be sure to put in applications to several categories.
  • Following the awards, unsuccessful groups may request brief feedback from the judging session via the Cinema For All team. Please email