Celebrating the passionate work of independent filmmakers, American INSIGHT’s annual Free Speech Film Festival invites filmmakers to submit films that focus on the issues of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law around the world,

The objective of the 2022 Free Speech Film Festival is to foster dialogue and to encourage speaking out against injustice. Championing different perspectives and listening to other opinions is vital to the future of our planet.

Each year, one film is selected as the Free Speech Award recipient by a global audience online, as well as locally by residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a "cradle of liberty” for decades before the American Revolution.

Free Speech: You Define It!

Discover more: www.FreeSpeechFilmFestival.org

The Free Speech Film Festival is unique in several respects:

- American INSIGHT awards a cash prize of $1,000 to the Free Speech Award-winning filmmaker.

- The FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL culminates in an online multimedia Free Speech Award Ceremony that showcases "Official Selection" trailers, the final Free Speech Award-winning film, and an in-depth interview with our Free Speech Award-winning filmmaker.

- The Moderator of our annual Free Speech Award Ceremony is former NBC News London Bureau Chief and CNN New York Bureau Chief, Karen Curry.

- The 2022 FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL's Award-Winner (as well as all of our “Official Selection” filmmakers) are interviewed for the Free Speech Spotlight Blog, and their films are featured on our festival's website in perpetuity:


- Each year, all of our Free Speech Award-winning films and their filmmakers are promoted over American INSIGHT’s daily Newsfeed, and across all of our social media outlets.

- American INSIGHT broadcasts its Free Speech Award Ceremony to audiences online, and that footage is placed in our Free Speech Archives that date back to 1983. It is also featured on its own festival highlights page like this most recent one:


- The FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL focuses exclusively on deepening the understanding of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law with the goal of inspiring dialogue about these topics and promoting their principles worldwide.

- Every year, the Free Speech Award-winning film is linked in perpetuity to American INSIGHT’s interactive educational Free Speech Storyline, which traces the history of individuals who fought for their rights back to the signing of the Magna Carta in England in 1215.

Discover more: www.AmericanINSIGHT.org

The FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL culminates in an online multimedia FREE SPEECH AWARD CEREMONY that features well-known artists, scholars, writers, and civic leaders speaking about what Free Speech means to them, in addition to showcasing American INSIGHT’s final FREE SPEECH AWARD-winning film and its filmmakers. Past speakers include:

Maya Sanbar, 2021 Free Speech Award WINNER

Wanjiru Njendu, 2020 Free Speech Award WINNER https://freespeechfilmfestival.org/2020-festival-highlights/

Robert Greenwald, 2019 Free Speech Award WINNER https://www.bravenewfilms.org/suppressed

Team Enough, 2018 Free Speech Award WINNER

Abby Huntsman, American television personality and former co-host of ABC’s The View.

David Kilgour, human rights defender, author, former lawyer and Canadian politician, remains continuously vocal on many human rights violations around the world

Reggie Shuford, Executive Director, ACLU Philadelphia

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America; University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University

Ben Wizner, Director, American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project

Samuel Zhou, Deputy Director, Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Michael Perlman, Producer/ Executive Producer of American INSIGHT's 2012 Free Speech Film Festival Award winning film “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” and Amnesty International official Artist For Amnesty

Discover more:


By agreeing to the terms and conditions stated herein, participants in American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL unconditionally accept these rules and regulations:


American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL jurors include the general public, well-known writers, lawyers, scientists, recording artists, media specialists, scholars, historians, civic and cultural leaders from Philadelphia, as well as other national and international locations, and the filmmakers who submit their films.

Jurors will not be prejudiced by film length, subject matter, filmmaker. They will follow established Judging Criteria (below) as they select American INSIGHT’s six “Official Selection” films. Although it is understood that any evaluation of artistic material involves a certain degree of subjectivity, their decisions will be considered final.


THEME: Relevant to the topic of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

EMOTIONAL IMPACT/AUDIENCE APPEAL: Visually appealing and entertaining, engender an emotional response, and create a lasting impression.

STRUCTURE/STORY: Clear, logical and effective plot with a meaningful and unique story line.

AUDIO/MUSIC: Appealing soundtrack, original, consistent volume, no background noise.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Effective visuals, lighting and camera angles.
Editing: Smooth flow that creates a powerful response from the viewer.

EDITING: Smooth flow, creates emotional response from the viewer


Film submissions deadlines and fees:

Early Deadline: February 28, 2022

Regular Deadline: March 31, 2022

Late Deadline: April 30, 2022

Email Notification of acceptance or rejection: before August 1, 2022.

FREE SPEECH AWARD Ceremony: Sunday, October 16, 2022


– Submissions must be made electronically through FilmFreeway.

– Guidelines must be followed by all applicants, or films will not be accepted.

– Defective submissions will not be accepted into the Festival.

– Multiple submissions are permissible; however, each submission must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and submission Fee.


FilmFreeway Online Screener


Restricted to individuals 18 years old or above.

Uncompleted films will not be accepted.

American INSIGHT’s selection committee(s) reserves the right to determine inappropriate content, such as violence, hate speech, defamation, or pornography; if any content is deemed by the committee(s) to be such, the film will not be accepted.

Previously broadcasted and/or independently/commercially distributed films will not be accepted.


No submission can be less than 6 minutes or greater than 60 minutes.


International submissions will ONLY be accepted through FilmFreeway, including the Entry Form and Entry Fee.

All non-English films must include English subtitles.

All International film submissions must agree with copyright rules and regulations.


Filmmakers submitting to American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL are encouraged to submit trailers along with their signed Entry Form and Entry Fee. Trailers may be included in American INSIGHT’s online pre-Festival promotional activities. Trailers can be submitted on FilmFreeway only. All terms and conditions regarding American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL apply to Trailer content.


Submitter is responsible for notifying American INSIGHT of any and all changes in contact information as soon as they occur.

All communication will be through email to the primary email address provided, including: reception of submissions, acceptance and non-acceptance of submissions into Festival, defective submissions, etc.

Notification of acceptance status will be sent no later than August 1, 2022.


The final five films chosen may be promoted in perpetuity by their filmmakers as “Official Selections” of the FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL.

Acceptance of a film by American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL in no way obligates the Festival to screen or award any film, and such additional actions are done so at the discretion of the Festival and its committee(s).

“Official Selections” for American INSIGHT’s FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL are selected by the Selection Committee, based solely on the Judging Criteria stated above.

“Official Selections” are in no way an endorsement of the film’s content by any representative of American INSIGHT.


Do not submit press kits until notified (unsolicited kits will not be returned).

Upon notification of acceptance, press kits will be requested and preferably should be submitted through FilmFreeway.

Press Kits should include: still photos (300 dpi); synopsis of the film (100 words or less); Trailer; filmmaker statement, photo, and biography.


Entry Fees are non-refundable.

Filmmakers retain the copyright of their film.


All archival materials used in your film must be credited within the film itself and be included within its run time.

The submitter and/or undersigned expressly warrants that it has obtained all necessary copyright clearances for original works of authorship used in the film, and all rights and clearances necessary to exhibit the film.

The submitter and/or undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American INSIGHT, and its FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, fees, and expenses (including but not limited to reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos submitted, and any claims arising out of or in connection with the exhibition of the film.

LEARN MORE: www.freespeechfilmfestival.org/rules

American INSIGHT is grateful to FilmFreeway for being a Sponsor of the 2022 FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL