The Categories of Entry
The student filmmakers may produce films in one of three categories. First, Second, and Third Place prizes will be awarded in each of the three categories. Films can be no longer than five minutes. For a complete set of rules regarding the production of the films, consult the Entry Form or the Rules page of the festival website. The categories are:

Documentary/Personal Essay
This category covers any traditionally structured nonfiction works, which could be fly-on-the-wall documentaries (ex. Salesman), “exposé”-style documentaries (ex. Bowling for Columbine), or first-person documentaries, in which the filmmaker plays some role in the film (ex. Super Size Me). “Personal Essay” films tell the filmmaker’s story, revealing something about his/her life or point-of-view (ex. Sherman’s March, Fired!, Roger and Me).

This category encompasses any traditionally shot and structured narrative film. The film generally will involve a script and actors, and tell a clear, complete story (with a beginning, middle, and an end) in its short running time.

Experimental films are avant-garde works, artistic and daring by nature, usually devoid of narrative. Experimental films are audacious and expressive in their use of interesting visuals and soundtracks. In addition to experimental films, this category will cover any works that do not fit comfortably into the other two categories. Submissions could potentially be PSAs, commercials, educational films and demonstrations, concert videos or music videos. Filmmakers are advised that if they choose to shoot a music video or concert video, they will need a signed letter from the song’s copyright-holder granting the rights to use the song in the production (see the Entry Form or “Rules” page of this website for more on this).