Seattle-based NFFTY is a national film festival screening films by filmmakers 24 years old and younger. The films must have runtimes of less than 40 minutes. Awards in different categories and age groups include prizes ranging from software, scholarships and cash to a trip to TheNextFilmFestival International in Denmark. Submissions are accepted from May through January, with entry fees escalating from $22 to $60.
This international film festival accepts media arts entries from middle and high school artists in numerous categories, including video blogs (vlogs), music videos and podcasts. The specific requirements vary by category, as do the prizes. Entries submitted between November and February are free; entries are accepted through June each year with entry fees escalating to $62. The festival is held in New York City in October.
MoPOP’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival is introducing a youth category for aspiring filmmakers in 2021. Check the website for more details.
One of the world’s biggest film festivals, SIFF presents the juried FutureWave Shorts competition to showcase new films created by artists 18 and younger. Submissions are due in early January, with fees ranging from $20 to $70, depending on the age of the filmmaker and duration of the film (entry fees are waived for Washington state residents). Winners are screened during the festival in April.
The Young Filmmakers Contest of the One Earth Film Festival welcomes submissions of films on environmental topics created by third-graders up to college and post-graduate students no older than 25. Films must be between three and eight minutes long, and address one of seven environmental topics, with an emphasis on solutions. Submissions are due in January. Two winners in each of seven age-based and content-themed categories are screened at the festival in March, and winners receive scholarships or cash prizes of as much as $1,000. Prizes are matched with grants of equal value; recipients of the grants are chosen by the winner.
Showing films made by, for and about kids, the Boston International Kids Film Festival accepts submissions between February and August with escalating fees ($25–$50).
More film contests
Looking for more film contests? The School of Creative and Performing Arts maintains a list of its top picks.