Philadelphia's annual Free Speech Film Festival encourages filmmakers to submit their FREE SPEECH FILMS and speak out against injustice!
Championing different perspectives and listening to other opinions is vital to the future of democracy.
Each year, ONE film is selected as the Free Speech Award Winner by audiences around the world, as well as by residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a "cradle of liberty” for decades before the American Revolution.
Our multimedia hybrid 2023 Free Speech Award Ceremony will showcase the final six 2023 Official Selection films, a screening of the 2023 Free Speech Award-Winning film, and an in-depth discussion with its filmmaker. All of these events will be recorded and featured in perpetuity on our websites below.
American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival is unique in several respects:
A cash prize of $1,000 goes to the Free Speech Award-Winning filmmaker!
All of our Free Speech Award-Winning films (and their filmmakers) will be promoted over American INSIGHT’s social media channels for a period of one year. Students participating in our new online course “Make History Every Day! will write Free Speech Spotlight blog posts about them for years to come.
The 2023 Free Speech Award-Winner, and all of the Official Selection filmmakers, will be interviewed for our Free Speech Spotlight Blog; and their films will be featured on the Free Speech Film Festival 's website in perpetuity.
Selected Free Speech Award-winning filmmakers will be invited to participate in monthly online conversations with the general public and students enrolled in Make History Every Day! as part of American INSIGHT’s new Free Speech Center: an online educational resource that offers a fresh outlook on the core values of our constitutional republic and the foundations of America’s legal system.
Submit your FREE SPEECH FILM from February 1st - April 30th!
Discover more here:
The Free Speech Film Festival culminates in an online multimedia Free Speech Award Ceremony that features the final Free Speech Award-Winning film and its filmmakers.
Past Award-Winners and guest 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
RULES & REGULATIONS
By agreeing to the terms and conditions stated herein, participants in the Free Speech Film Festival unconditionally accept these rules and regulations:
Free Speech Film Festival Judges in the past have included well-known writers, lawyers, scientists, recording artists, media specialists, scholars, historians, civic and cultural leaders from Philadelphia, as well as the general public from around the globe, and the filmmakers who have submitted their films.
Judges will not be prejudiced by film length, subject matter, filmmaker. They will follow established Judging Criteria (below) as they select the 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:
Early Deadline: February 28, 2023
Regular Deadline: March 31, 2023
Late Deadline: April 30, 2023
Email Notification of acceptance or rejection: before August 1, 2023
Free Speech Award Ceremony: Sunday, October 16, 2023
– 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 SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
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 the Free Speech Film Festival are encouraged to submit trailers along with their signed Entry Form and Entry Fee. Trailers may be included in our online pre-Festival promotional activities. Trailers must be submitted on FilmFreeway only. All terms and conditions regarding the Free Speech Film Festival apply to Trailer content, too.
Submitter is responsible for notifying the Free Speech Film Festival 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, 2023
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 the 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 the 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 the Free Speech Film Festival or 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.
TERMS + CONDITIONS
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 the 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 2023 FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL