Components and Concepts

Basic things you need to know about SparqFest before getting started

Written by George Reese

Last published at: March 26th, 2023

Welcome to SparqFest!

By now, you have likely signed up for your free trial or subscription to the SparqFest Festival Platform and are anxious to dive into making the site work for your festival. This series of "Initial Setup" documents will guide you through the full process of getting up and running with the SparqFest platform. For the most part, we will focus on the most common options and note where you can read more about further customizing SparqFest to support the unique needs of your festival.

The Initial Setup Series:

  • Part 1 - Components and Concepts (this article)
  • Part 2 - Appearance and Festival Configuration
  • Part 3 - Edition Setup
  • Part 4 - Submissions
  • Part 5 - Selections
  • Part 6 - Programming the Festival
  • Part 7 - Ticketing

SparqFest Components

When you sign up for SparqFest, a web site is created with the following core components:

  • A public web site
  • A staff portal
  • A creator portal (paid subscriptions)
  • (optional) A judging portal (paid subscriptions with the judging module)

Access to all four components goes through a common URL.

Access to all four components of SparqFest will be done via the address of [yourfestivalname] You may customize this address for a fee. The initial public site contains generic SparqFest graphics and links to the three portals.

The Staff Portal

The Staff Portal is where you will do all of your work as a member of the festival staff. We will go into more detail on the staff portal later this in this document.

The SparqFest Staff Portal (some dashboard  information has been blurred)

The Creator Portal

Most festivals invite creators in to self-manage the content and information supporting their selections to the festival.  The Creator Portal is, of course, where these individuals edit the details about their selections, upload screener copies and marketing materials, and otherwise interact with your team. 

You have the ability to manage all of the same information in the Staff Portal. The Creator Portal simply has a different organizational structure. Whereas the Staff Portal enables you to manage selections in bulk, the Creator Portal focuses on enabling an individual creator to manage one or two selections at a time.

The SparqFest Creator Portal provides a task-based interface for gathering selection information.

As a staff member, you should not be accessing the Creator Portal. While it is a great interface for managing a few selections at a time, it would be unbearably slow for managing 50, 100, or 500 selections.

The Judging Portal

The Judging Portal is where your jury members come to review and judge juried awards. You will not be using this components if you are not using our judging module or if you are using our judging module only for audience choice awards.

An example of the Judging Portal as seen by a French-speaking judge.

Key Concepts

Though you probably want to dive right in and get things looking right, it's important to know some critical SparqFest concepts.

Festivals and Editions

Each SparqFest site supports a continuous web presence for a single "festival" with one or more "editions" each year. If you are an annual festival, you will set up a new edition every year. You are not limited to a single edition in a year, however. Thus, if your festival runs quarterly, you will have four editions each year. You can also use one "edition" to separate the main festival content for a year and additional "editions" for special events that occur throughout the year.

No matter how you program your festival, you are charged an annual subscription based on the number of hours of programming over the course of a year. All programming during your subscription year counts against your hours of programming regardless of how many editions you program.

A new SparqFest site is pre-configured with basic information you gathered about your festival during the sign-up process and one active edition.

Submissions and Selections

Most SparqFest customers are using FilmFreeway to gather and select submissions and then using SparqFest to program selections. We thus manage a process from submission to selection to programming.

  • A submission is a project that has been submitted to your festival but may or may not be accepted
  • A selection is a project that has been accepted into your festival and is intended to be part of your program

Inside SparqFest, a project is first imported or created as a submission and then turned into a selection one accepted.

The Basic Process

  1. Configure your festival
  2. Configure the current edition of your festival
  3. Setup your submission categories
  4. Import your submissions
  5. Promote selected submissions to become Official Selections
  6. Create and program your various events

Next Up: Appearance and Festival Configuration