From my own experiences with IMDB, a professional production is not one that has been showcased in a film festival or won an award. It is not based on the quality of the final film, or the acting, writing, directing, sound... you get the picture. It doesn't matter if you have the biggest star in the world or have a never ending resume.
No, IMDB judges professional based on two things: the amount of money you spent and how many people worked on your film.
Now, I may be the only person who sees a problem with this judgment. But in my personal experience, I have seen films that have large crews that have spent thousands or millions of dollars... that aren't any good. I have also seen films that are amazing that employ a small crew and knew how to budget. But according to IMDB, the larger film is more worthy of their attention.
I have done research into the IMDB process by trying to submit our first film, "Master of Destiny", into their system. IMDB does recognize The Place Called Sacramento Film Festival as a legitimate festival and in fact, there are numerous Place Called Sacramento Films listed on IMDB. But our film can not get reviewed. After 3 submissions, I gave up.
See, what IMDB does is they review the largest films first, then go down the list that way. So what would happen is that our film would be put last on the list every time I submitted it. And every time, I would read their updates and they would mention that all submitted films were reviewed except for one -- which I knew was ours. Every single time. We made the film for $250 and had a crew of about 6. Which means our film is not "professional" enough to qualify for IMDB. But there are films that spent a lot more money and had large crews that showed with ours last year that are listed. Even winning the "Producer's Choice Award" at the festival didn't put us up on the list.
I'm not saying our film deserves to be on IMDB any more than anyone else's. I just find it interesting that all these independent film companies (IMDB, the MPAA) claim they do not favor studio productions over independent ones. But I think their policy speaks of the opposite. I believe that filmmakers who are able to strategize and budget their spending should be given equal footing with those who spend freely. A quality production should not be based on dollar signs or large crews, but by the end product and the ingenuity of the filmmakers. Since when is being resourceful considered wrong? Apparently in the film business, until we can make a change.