Humanitarian Award Press Release Template

Best Shorts Humanitarian

A press release is an important public relations tool that will help bring notice to your winning production. This template is for your use so that you can fill out independently and send to the media outlets of your choice in your local area and beyond.  Just add the information about your production to the draft press release below, select the media outlets you want to send it to – then send it to them directly.

This is simply a template – feel free to modify it to suit your needs.  Please do NOT return to us – this is for your personal use.

Simply copy and paste from this page into your word processing document.  Please note the formatting of a standard press release.

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PRESS RELEASE TEMPLATE
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
(Your Name)
(Email)
(Website)
(Telephone)

(Company or Individual) Wins Humanitarian Award in Best Shorts Competition

(City, State, Date) – (Winner’s name), of (company or organization), has won a prestigious (Grand Prize, Outstanding Achievement, Award of Distinction and Honorable Mention) Humanitarian Award from The Best Shorts Competition. The award was given for (winner’s name) exciting (type of production), (title of production), which (purpose of production). (Title of production) features exceptional (story line, names of actors, location, visuals, sound, etc.).

“(Quotes from producer, director, editor, and talent regarding their pleasure at receiving the award and what they were trying to achieve with the production.”)

The goal of the Humanitarian Award is to honor filmmakers who are bringing awareness to issues of Ecological, Political, Social Justice, Health and Wellness, Animals, Wildlife, Conservation and Spiritual importance combined with excellence in filmmaking craft.  The winners are hand picked by the judges and staff from hundreds of entries throughout the year.

Information about the Best Shorts Competition and a list of recent winners can be found at www.BestShorts.net

In winning a Humanitarian award from Best Shorts, (company or organization) joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this important award such as  Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winner Vanessa Redgrave for Eyes of St John, Stuart Rideout’s I wish for you starring Oscar winner Jeremy Irons Student Oscar winner Emily Kassie for the powerful I Married My Family’s Killer, Oscar short list nominee Hanah Donegan for My Enemy, My Brother, Linda Mills and Chelsea Clinton for their barrier breaking documentary Of Many and many more.

Rick Prickett, who chairs the Best Shorts Competition, had this to say about the Humanitarian winners, “It takes great talent to tackle the world’s most pressing issues with film and do a great job.  It takes an even greater heart. The Best Shorts award helps set the standard for Humanitarian filmmaking worldwide.  The goal of Best Shorts is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve for the incredible job that they do.”

For more information call (name and phone number) or visit (company or organization)’s website at (website address).

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PRESS RELEASE TIPS
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SECTION 1:  THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESS / PUBLIC RELATIONS

Getting Noticed: One of the most challenging aspects of being a filmmaker is promoting your work.  Being noticed for your award winning film can be a challenge, even for veteran filmmakers. Public relations using press releases is a great tool to get noticed and to build the credibility of your film.

Credibility: Films / Filmmakers that have been covered in various publications lend an air of prestige and authority.   Using a press release to garner this coverage is a very important step to generate this buzz.

Benefits of Press Releases: Public Relations and Press Releases have some major benefits.

  • Creates credibility
  • It’s cost effective
  • It often has more credibility since an outside, “objective” source has deemed your activity to be newsworthy

SECTION 2:  PREPARING YOUR RELEASE

Easy Way: Use the Fill-in-the-Blanks press release that we have put together for you.  You can use it “as is” – or customize it to your specific needs. (LINK TO FILL IN THE BLANKS HERE)

Be Brief: Brevity is not only allowed, it is encouraged and rewarded. It shows you respect the time of busy editors & reporters. If they require more information, they will ask – or you can direct them to your website for additional information.

PROOF!  If your writing is full of errors…it’s going to get tossed…and you will lose a potentially valuable opportunity for your work…  Reread your press release and proof it for errors.

Headlines Are Important!  Make sure your headline and the first paragraph, in particular, communicate that your content is newsworthy.  Journalists and bloggers are busy and you need to stand out.  The headline is the best way to do that.

Be Creative: Make your writing stand out with an awesome headline.  It is the best way to get their attention. Rule of thumb is 70 – 80 characters.

Take this imaginary example of a government announcing $1 billion to eradicate homelessness:

Bad: [Organization name] welcomes the government’s decision to increase funding for homeless services

Good: 100,000 people ready for a good night’s sleep

Make it easy:  Attach or link to any additional media such as photos or background information.  We recommend a dedicated page on your website.  If they have to dig…they will give up and move on to another story option.

Put a PRESS page on your website.  The journalist / blogger can go there for further information.  Additionally, you can include high quality photos there that they can download.

Twitter:   We all know social media continues to expand…journalists are no exception.  If you don’t already have one create and include a Twitter handle in your press release as more online journalists are using Twitter to tell stories as well.

Contact Info:  Include contact details for how to reach you.  If you are away from the office often, which most of you are, be sure to put your cell phone number so they can reach you right away.

SECTION 3:  DETERMINING WHERE TO SEND IT

Focus: First determine if you are going to send it to outlets and specifically focus on your project / film, or if you are going to focus on yourself as the filmmaker.  For some publications such as your community newspaper, the story that local citizens have completed a great project may be more significant than the film itself – but of course any published story will still generate buzz for your project.

Relevant: Make sure you are sending it on to relevant outlets.  In other words, make sure that you specifically target publications and bloggers that apply to your kind of film – or a special interest if that is what your film is about.  As mentioned above – the exception to this is a publication that serves your local area – and would like to highlight the achievements of the citizens within that community.

The Right People: Determine the correct person:  Identify editors & reporters who would be most interested in what you have to say.

Key Player: Choose key players in your field including noted bloggers and industry leaders.  Do a little research to figure out the best ones for you.

The Right Format: Determine how they want releases.   Do they want to receive news releases either by fax, mail or e-mail?  Send your release the way that the publication wants it sent.

Submission Guidelines:  Once you have your list put together of who to send it to – research the outlet’s submission guidelines.  Some like it by mail, some by email, some have an online platform.  Make sure that you are sending it to them in their preferred format.

Determine Timing. Your release may need to coincide with a screening of your film so you can determine a date from that.  If your release is solely to announce your award, then the specific date is less important.  A general rule is to submit the release early in the week and early in the day to give them flexibility in running the story.  You never know if it is a slow news week for them.

Position vs Name: Don’t worry too much about finding out which exact individual you should send your release. Get the person’s title right, and that should be sufficient.  Examples are given in Section 4 below.

SECTION 4:  THE PROCESS OF SENDING IT

Who to address it to:  If you don’t have a name at a particular place it is ok to use the following:

  • Daily newspaper in your community: Contact the City Editor or the editor in charge of the section that relates to your content.
  • Weekly newspaper: Editor
  • Magazine: Editor or Managing Editor
  • Radio stations: News Director or PSA Director (if sending a public service announcement)
  • TV stations: News Director

One at a time:  Only send your release to one person per news outlet.

Send it early in the day:   Some PR professionals recommend choosing an atypical time, such as 9:08 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m. Doing this will keep your release from getting lost at the top of the hour.

Do It!  Submit your press release according to the required guidelines that you determined in Section 3 above.

No attachments!:  If sending by email – type or paste your content directly into the body of an e-mailed press release. Many journalists delete e-mails with attachments because they take too much time to download and may contain viruses.  Remember to send them to your website for photos and additional details.

Submission Platforms: Some outlets may prefer that you upload the press release directly to their website over a secure submission platform.  You can determine this during your research process.

SECTION 5:  HELPFUL TIPS – GET NOTICED

Be Prompt:  Remember, it is best to send the release to the different media outlets first thing in the morning.

Be Distinct: Put your company logo or film poster in the upper right hand corner of the document if you are sending by mail.  It helps to get it noticed.

Be Pretty: To really make an impression print your release on a distinctive type of paper that is either heavier, colorful or both.  Make sure that it is professional and not tacky.

Be Zen:  After you submit your releases… then you might have to wait to hear back from them.  Many journalists and bloggers are very busy and you may not hear back from them right away.  It also may be a busy news day when you submit – so that might slow the process down even further.

Be persistent:  If you don’t hear back within a few days – give them a friendly reminder about your story and why they should be interested.

VOILA!  You may not hit gold every time but with creatively written pieces catered to the publication you will get noticed…and your story will be run.  Our best advice is to be persistent, be patient and stay positive.  You have put a great deal of time and energy, not to mention money, into your project.  Use that same determination and commitment when it comes to creating buzz for your film…it will pay off and they’ll be eternally grateful that you helped them fill a news slot.