Open to all Michigan's K-12 filmmakers only, the Michigan Student Film Festival is unique in the nation for providing a public venue for the work of students as well as giving recognition and significant awards to young media artists. DAFT is proud to present The Michigan Student Film Festival, now in its 55th year.

All entries will receive judges' feedback. Entries will be placed in four categories (Merit, Honor, Excellence & Best-in-Show) with a special screening of Best of Show selections at the DIAs' Detroit Film Theatre on Saturday June 1st at 10 AM (K-8) and 12:30 PM (9-12th grade). A free program at the screening (later available online as a pdf) will also include all entries and their placements.

Recognized by the American Film Institute as the longest-running K-12 student film festival in the nation, the Michigan Student Film Festival was founded by the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts, Film and Television) as a showcase for Michigan students to demonstrate their skills and to network with one another and industry professionals.

Special Prizes for category winners (see below)
$500 cash prizes for best narrative film and documentary

Narrative Film - $500 cash prize
Documentary - $500 cash prize
(2) Animated Short/Segment (original & adapted) - Special prize TBA
Experimental - Special prize TBA
Music Video/Montage - Special prize TBA
(2) News/Sports: Packages & Journalism (ENG)
Public Service Announcement

The Festival is open to any Michigan student or group of K-12 students who have participated in producing a film or video (in school, at home, with a community group). Video projects completed while students were enrolled K-12 may be submitted (e.g. high school graduates from last June who completed a video after the previous year's festival deadline).

Mature subject matter, inappropriate language and excessive violent content may disqualify your entry from competition based solely upon DAFT's discretion.

Judges in Round 1 will review a maximum of 5 minutes of an entry. Submitters of longer entries may stipulate a beginning time for judges to begin viewing their entry. If an entry is selected Best of Show up to 5 minutes of the film will be shown during the final festial. The judging committee may decide to show a slightly longer excerpt if scheduling permits.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: To be considered for Best of Show award-level, entries that have material whose rights are not owned by the producers should include clear permission from the owners of the music, images, video. DAFT offers many links to royalty-free music under the "Resources" tab at While educational-use of material can provide useful training for students, DAFT fully supports the ethical use of all creative material and encourages its students and teachers to adhere to these principles. Any questions, please contact us at

STUDENT-PRODUCED: While DAFT recognizes the important role of teachers/mentors in the production of entries--especially at the K-8 level, DAFT reserves the right to not award a Best of Show selection if it is determined that the project was not primarily student produced. The selection committee may reach out to the producers for more information, however the responsibility of full disclosure of adult involvement lies with the submitter (teacher or student).

Overall Rating
  • I am very thankful to have received the John Prusak Visionary Award in this year's festival. I cannot overstate how great this festival was to attend, even with it being virtual. The judge's feedback was very appreciated, and I could not be more glad to have been a part of this event.

    October 2021
  • John Wood

    We are so proud that Julian’s project was selected for the MSFVF! The BEST student festival in Michigan!

    June 2021
  • Craig Campbell

    This was a fantastic experience for my student filmmaker. Every aspect of the festival is stellar.

    June 2021
  • Scott A. Galeski

    It is evident that every project and every student matter. The DAFT Staff goes above and beyond to deliver over 50 years of student cinematic greatness.

    May 2020
  • Adam Burns

    Wonderful festival year after year and made very special this year for students despite not being able to hold it in person!

    May 2020