I’ve been a judge for the DC Shorts Film Festival. Am I more of an expert than you are on short film? Possibly. Am I more knowledgeable and astute than a vast crowd of film buffs? No, of course not. When it comes to judging short films, festivals are limited by the number of judges that can be recruited who will actually show up to watch and review films on cold weeknights when you’d much rather stay at home and watch American Idol than sit through some 17-minute long experimental work on the depressing urban landscapes of Flint, Michigan.
So, I say, the more the merrier. I think people who will bother to go to a site, watch the films and then judge them will be pretty fair. They’ll also be motivated to go to the festival. After all, they helped program it! This is a great way of getting more attendees by making people feel a sense of ownership for their local festival.