23 Mar '16

People's Choice Award

2016 Audience Favourites - The three top films as scored by our audience, plus an explanation of how the award is decided.
Oak People's Choice trophy by Gilman Graphics

The 2016 ShAFF People’s Choice Award has been awarded to Sherpa, with A Line Across The Sky scooping second place by the narrowest of margins, and Kayaking The Aleutians just pipped into third place. Each of the three films were also awarded other gongs by the ShAFF judges further cementing their quality. If you would like to watch any of these films check out these links:


A Line Across The Sky

Kayaking The Aleutians (Steepedge hosts a number of films shown at ShAFF this year and in years gone by.

An explanation of the People’s Choice Award at ShAFF

The people’s choice award at a festival should be a big deal to filmmakers, festival organisers and the audience alike. It’s all very well having a panel of judges, but judges watch films through different eyes to actual audiences, as is played out every year by the disparity between such prestigious ceremonies as the Oscars, and what does well at the box office. Rotten Tomatoes, a popular film reviewing website gives scores out of 100 from both sides, the critics, and the audience, and the two rarely marry up. The ShAFF judges take their jobs seriously, looking for all manner of elements in any given film, weighing them in the context of the other films submitted that year, and also in years gone by. The audience award however, is based purely on what those who saw the film at the festival actually thought of the screenings that they attended. It’s likely that at any given festival a proportion of the votes for a particular film will have been cast by people who have only seen that one film, and no other films for comparison. Different festivals have employed different methods to derive the people’s choice, but many of these methods have been open to abuse by persuasive filmmakers or active fan-bases. At ShAFF we wanted to use a system that is not open to such abuse and worked with local experience agency Beautiful Everything to develop such a framework, which they now call effectively allows (and encourages) people to give each and every film that they watch at the festival a score out of ten. It only allows people to vote on the films they have seen, and each film can only receive one score from one individual. There are some clever security measures in place to stop cheating. The scores are then averaged out. The result is a robust ranking of all the films at the festival. We don’t share this list with the filmmakers as it wouldn’t be fair - with any ranked list there are those at the bottom as well as those at the top - but it provides us with really useful feedback on which films went down well.

The scoring each festival goer gives each film also provides them with other recommendations to watch based on their feedback. We're conscious, that to some, a film festival can be a daunting and overwhelming prospect of many films that most may have never heard of. By providing the audience with selective recommendations based on their own feedback we hope we can improve the overall festival experience .

We hope you think this year's winners of the People's Choice Award are as worthy of the accolades as our audience at the festival did. 

The lovely Oak trophy was made by local partner Gilman Graphics