The ARCLight Student Film Festival is the new iteration of the former CinéStudent Film Festival. Same festival, same staff but different location. We pride ourselves in having provided a unique opportunity for students all over the world, showcasing their creativity and talent. This will continue under our new mantle: The ARCLight Student Film Festival.

The ARCLight Student Film Festival is now hosted by the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

The ARCLight Student Film Festival features submissions in any category of video production, from narrative films to documentaries, music videos to animation. This is an opportunity for film lovers, film creators and the community to come together in a celebration of student achievement. In addition to the screening of films, the festival hosts a filmmaker's reception and a red carpet event. The festival will be live streamed on the night of the festival.

The festival awards prizes in the following judged categories:

Best Film
Best National Film
Best Foreign Film
Best in Show

Awards may also be given in the following categories, depending on the number of entries:

Best Documentary
Best Performance
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematography

1. Only submissions by current high school students will be accepted (18 years of age or younger), with a teacher from the school of attendance of the filmmaker identified for contact information. Additional information may be requested for proof of high school enrollment. Filmmakers who are not enrolled in a high school or equivalent will be disqualified.
2. Teachers should not be submitting for their students. Students must register themselves for the festival in their own names. Any questions, contact the festival.
3. The films can be of any subject: narrative film of any genre, documentary, or animation.
4. Films must be submitted in the English language. Films not in English need to be subtitled.
5. The festival will only accept films that are 10 minutes in length of shorter.
6. Only 1 submission per filmmaker will be allowed.
7. Films cannot contain vulgar language, sexual situations, graphic violence or graphic drug and/or alcohol use. Films with any of these classifications will be disqualified and not screened at the festival. For comparative purposes, films should be rated an equivalent to the MPAA designation of PG-13 or lower.
8. Films cannot contain any copyrighted materials, such as still photographs not taken by the filmmakers, advertisements, brand logos, moving images or music. Popular songs and music cannot be used within the production without the expressed written consent from the copyright holder. Most record labels charge exorbitant fees for use of music, even in student non-profit productions. It is best to go the royalty-free route. There are several sites where free music is available. Unauthorized use of music will result in disqualification. See for more information.
9. Each film must have credits listing all of the people involved in the production. Plus, all music must be properly attributed in the credits with artist, title, and license.
10. Students will have to complete an application when submitting a film to the festival and may be required to send a copy of a student I.D. as well.
11. All films must have been produced and completed in the 12 months prior to the film festival.
12. Students will submit their films via FilmFreeway without charge. After the posted deadline, films may still be submitted until the "late deadline" and will be subjected to a small "late deadline" fee.
13. Films will be previewed and judged by event organizers. We reserve the right to refuse any film on any grounds.
14. Students will agree to release their films for viewing by a general audience. The festival will be streaming live, and selected films will be broadcast on the internet and also made available on the Festival website after the conclusion of the festival, in perpetuity. Submission to the festival grants the festival non-exclusive rights to show the film at the festival, online and on our website.
15. Selected films will be listed on the website and filmmakers will be notified via email by the established notification date. Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival. Filmmakers do not need to be present to win some of the awards. However, the Best Film and other specific categories with monetary awards may be subjected to regional constraints and attendance requirements (see #16).
16. Prizes will be awarded by the festival after being judged by an impartial panel whose decisions will be final. Awards will be given for Best Film, Audience Choice, Best Foreign Film and Best National Film. Additional prizes may be awarded for Best Documentary. In addition, there may be awards given for Best Cinematography, Best Directing, Best Editing and Best Performances. Entries will be judged on technical, creative and content elements.
17. Rules are subject to change. Competition and awards may be subjected to regional constraints and availability of funds. The ARCLight Student Film Festival is run entirely on donations and sponsorships, so the level of funding can vary from year to year.
18. Preference will be given to local films for inclusion for public screening in the festival at John Hersey High School. Unfortunately, we will not be able to show all selected films at the festival due to time constraints.

Overall Rating
  • Asher Anantham

    Great opportunity for young filmmakers. Excellent communication.

    May 2023
  • Goran Šporčić

    I had a great experience with ARCLight Student Film Festival. Both with the submission side and with communication and even though I was not able to attend the festival it seems like a great event!

    May 2023
  • jonggi sukma

    nice festival i've ever join

    May 2021
  • Leanne Lin

    Wonderful festival! Looking forward to participating next year.

    April 2021
  • Look forward to attending next year

    April 2021