The One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest is part of the One Earth Film Festival which typically presents approximately 30 to 50 screenings across the Chicago region every March. Since the pandemic, screenings moved online, then became hybrid, expanding the audience across the country and around the globe.
The Young Filmmakers Contest is for students from age 25 down to grade 3, with prizes at each age level. Winning films premiere at the festival in March. Students are asked to create a 3 to 8 minute environmental film. Animations of at least 45 seconds in length are also accepted.
Students from grade 12 through age 25 have more freedom with content/topics. Their submissions should be environmental films that motivate viewers towards behavior change or activism.
Students grade 11 and younger should create films about one of 7 sustainability topics: climate, energy, food, transportation, waste, water, or wildlife and ecosystems. Films should present a problem with the chosen topic and then present a solution(s).
Animations may simply motivate viewers toward awareness or behavior change at all age levels.
Photo above is Chicago skyline from Wikimedia Commons.
Each winner will receive a cash prize pertaining to the grade level category:
1) Post-Graduate (recent college graduate through age 25) live action or animation/stop-motion: $1,000 college cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
1,000 college scholarship or cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
2) Senior Year + Post-Graduate (grade 12 or enrolled college students or beyond through age 25) live action or animation/stop-motion, Planet Warrior Prize for Creativity, in honor of Sally Stovall, co-founder of Green Community Connections: $1,000 college scholarship or cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
3) Middle School + Post-Graduate (grade 6 through age 25) animation/stop-motion: $1,000 college scholarship or cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
4) Senior Year + College (grade 12 or enrolled college students through age 25) live action: $1,000 college scholarship + $1,000 matching grant
5) High School (grades 9, 10, 11) live action or animation: $350 cash prize + $350 matching grant
6) Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8) live action or animation: $200 cash prize + $200 matching grant
7) Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5) live action or animation: $100 cash prize + $100 matching grant
As a reminder, while a group of people (ex: a class or a group of friends) may submit an entry together, only one prize will be awarded to the group as a whole. Prizes are subject to change without notice.
Matching Grant: In addition to the cash prize or scholarship, each winner will receive the privilege of selecting the recipient of a matching grant. The grant will be donated to a non-profit organization or community sustainability project that the winner chooses, subject to Sponsor’s approval. Upon being notified of winning, the winner or winning group will submit a short proposal (up to one page long) explaining the organization they are choosing for the grant. The selected organization will have proven its ability to raise sustainability awareness and will have demonstrated a commitment to creating solutions in the subject matter area of the winning film. It is the sole discretion of Sponsor to accept or reject the winner’s organization of choice.
Young Filmmakers Contest submissions, from age 25 down to grade 3, are due by 11:59 p.m. June 25, 2023. All winning films will premiere at a special event in September 2023, and possibly at the One Earth Film Fest in March 2024.
One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest (hereafter referred to as the “Contest”) is open to students from grade 3 through college and above, based on the student’s grade level (through age 25). As an example of the appropriate entrant category, students who have completed grade 11 and submit an entry during the summer before grade 12 will be considered entrants for grade 12.
We accept submissions from students currently enrolled in U.S.-based schools, universities and colleges, or qualified educational programs only. (Additionally, we are running a pilot program with Jane Goodall Institute Australia and their Roots and Shoots program).*
No purchase is necessary to enter the contest, but entrants are liable for any taxes or costs incurred for entering.
Employees and family members of One Earth Collective (the Non-Profit hereafter referred to as “Sponsor”) are not eligible.
All entrants must complete the Entrant Oath and Permission Form on FilmFreeway. For entrants under the age of 18 or under a legal disability, the form must be signed online by a parent or legal guardian who accepts responsibility on behalf of the entrant, has read these official rules (“Rules”), and agrees to bind the entrant to the Rules. In the event a winner fails or refuses to execute or provide any required documentation, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to a substitute winner at Sponsor’s sole discretion.
The Contest is hosted by One Earth Collective, located at 805 Lake St., #177, Oak Park, Illinois 60301.
3. Details of Official Rules
Participation in the Contest constitutes entrants’ full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Selection for awards, receipt of prize/scholarship money, and the ability to select and donate matching gift monies are all contingent upon complying with the Rules and fulfilling Contest requirements. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who fails to comply with all official Rules.
A. Eligible Grade Level Categories
To enter the contest, entrants must be in one of the following grade level categories at the time of submission. There will be one winner in each of the following seven (7) categories. Occasionally, there will be a tie, allowing for two winners in a category.
• Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5)
• Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8)
• High School (grades 9, 10, 11)
• Senior Year + College (grade 12 or active, enrolled college students through age 25)
• Post-Graduate (recent college graduate through age 25)
• Animation/Stop-Motion (grade 6 to Post-Graduate)
• Sally Stovall Planet Warrior Prize for Creativity (grade 12 to Post-Graduate)
Note: students who have completed grade 11 and submit an entry during the summer before grade 12 will be considered entrants for grade 12.
Contest officials reserve the right to not name a winner in any given category, pending the volume and quality of entries.
Contest entries may be submitted by an individual, or by a group of any size (ex: a group of friends, an after-school program, or an entire class). In the case of group submission, one prize will be awarded to the entire group as a whole.
B. Topic Categories
Topics differ based on age. Students in grade 11 and younger should choose one or several of the following topics on which to focus the theme of the film.
Wildlife and Ecosystems
Entrants will then be judged on their ability to address the topic(s) of choice by being engaging, informative, inspiring, and creative through their film. All submissions must show a strong (research-supported) understanding of the topics and related issues. Submissions must share and highlight solutions to the issues discussed in the chosen sustainability topic(s). The film entry’s theme must be solution-based. The film should talk about an environmental/sustainability problem and then discuss what could be a potential solution to this problem. For example, consider a film that discusses over-logging and deforestation and then elaborates on how paper-based product industries can change their methods to harvest sustainably. We look forward to viewing your entries that talk about a current problem and how you propose we solve this problem as a community with the goal of sustainability.
Students in grade 12 and above have more freedom with content/topics. Their submissions should be environmental films that motivate viewers towards behavior change or activism.
C. Film Length
Entrants may submit a film of no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes.
Sponsor will accept and consider short animated films. The minimum length for animated submissions is 45 seconds. Animation/stop-motion films can present a solution or motivate viewers towards awareness or behavior change for one of the seven topics. In other words, animations from those in grades 11 and younger are not required to show a problem and solution within this shortened time frame, as they are required to do with live action films.
Winners in each category will receive the following prizes:
1) Screening of their film at a special event in September, a possible screening at the One Earth Film Festival in March, and at other related and subsequent educational and non-profit events hosted (or co-hosted) by Sponsor. These screenings may occur in person and/or online (recorded or streamed).
2) Posting of their film on the One Earth Film Festival website. (Note: Sponsor reserves the right to utilize submitted films for any promotional materials and online media, at its sole discretion.)
3) Cash prize or scholarship: Each winner will receive a cash prize pertaining to the grade level category:
• Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5) live action or animation: $100 cash prize + $100 matching grant
• Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8) live action or animation: $200 cash prize + $200 matching grant
• High School (grades 9, 10, 11) live action or animation: $350 cash prize + $350 matching grant
• Senior Year + College (grade 12 or enrolled college students through age 25) live action: $1,000 college scholarship + $1,000 matching grant
• Middle School + Post-Graduate (grade 6 through age 25) animation/stop-motion: $1,000 college scholarship or cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
• Senior Year + Post-Graduate (grade 12 or enrolled college students or beyond through age 25) live action or animation/stop-motion, Planet Warrior Prize for Creativity, in honor of Sally Stovall, co-founder of Green Community Connections: $1,000 college scholarship or cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
• Post-Graduate (recent college graduate through age 25) live action or animation/stop-motion: $1,000 college cash prize + $1,000 matching grant
As a reminder, while a group of people (ex: a class or a group of friends) may submit an entry together, only one prize will be awarded to the group as a whole. Prizes are subject to change without notice.
4) Matching Grant: In addition to the cash prize or scholarship, each winner will receive the privilege of selecting the recipient of a matching grant. The grant will be donated to a non-profit organization or community sustainability project that the winner chooses, subject to Sponsor’s approval. Upon being notified of winning, the winner or winning group will submit a short proposal (up to one page long) explaining the organization they are choosing for the grant. The selected organization will have proven its ability to raise sustainability awareness and will have demonstrated a commitment to creating solutions in the subject matter area of the winning film. It is the sole discretion of Sponsor to accept or reject the winner’s organization of choice.
E. Judging Criteria
Sponsors and its judges will check for adherence to these Rules, including eligibility, compliance with all terms (legality, conduct, etc.), film length, format, etc. Films will be judged by One Earth Collective volunteers based upon quality and content of the film and its ability to educate, inspire, and raise awareness of the film’s chosen topic.
We also stress that films from students in grade 11 and under will be judged on their ability to address a problem and propose a solution to that problem. Films should state a current environmental/sustainability problem regarding one or more of the topics listed in Section 3b and propose a solution that can help solve/lessen that problem.
Films from students in grade 12 and above will be judged on their ability to educate, inspire, and raise awareness of the film’s chosen topic.
Entrants who do not conform to policies and Rules may be disqualified at the discretion of Sponsor. Any disqualifications are the decision of One Earth Collective and are final.
4. Entrants’ License to Sponsor
Entrants retain all intellectual property rights in their submissions, including copyright rights. As a condition of participation in the Contest, entrants grant Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual right to show, display, distribute, and market all film entries, in their entirety, in part (film clips) and still shots, to live audiences, online (recorded and live stream), and in written materials. This permission also includes but is not limited to Sponsor’s right to use all film submissions in screenings, showcases, workshops, educational activities, and marketing efforts with third party partners. Exceptions and requests to opt out will be granted only by written request and must be made prior to acceptance into the Contest.
5. Contest Submission Period
The Contest Submission Period is on a rolling basis. All submissions for 2023 must be submitted and received by June 25, 2023. Entries received after this time will be considered for the following contest submission period.
6. Environmental Activism Award Opportunity
The YFC is introducing a new Environmental Activism Award opportunity to YFC entrants in 2022. This Award matches YFC film entries with partnering non-profit organizations with environmental advocacy missions (“EAA Partners”). Filmmakers selected for this award will receive $500.00 USD and be honored at the Young Filmmakers Award event. To be eligible for this award, filmmakers permit their selected EAA Partner to make limited use of their award-winning films for the EAA Partner’s promotional purposes, in line with the Partner’s environmental advocacy mission, for one year. Award-winning filmmakers may also have the opportunity to meet a representative of their EAA Partner.
The YFC Rules/Guidelines govern the Environmental Activism Awards. The YFC and/or its judges will identify films, and appropriate EAA Partner matches for this award . Filmmakers will be notified of Environmental Activism Awards no later than August 21, 2023 and decisions of the YFC are final. In order to be considered for this Environmental Activism Award, Young filmmakers (or as appropriate, their parent or legal guardian) must check a box on the submission form, indicating their understanding of these rules, including agreement to allow EAA Partner use of their films. No additional submissions are required to be considered for this award and being considered does not exclude any film from any other appropriate
7. How to Enter – Submission Rules/Guidelines
There is a limit of one (1) entry per person or per group, regardless of category of entry. Any additional entries will be void. All film submissions must be made electronically. If you have a special circumstance and need to submit a hard copy DVD, contact Lisa Files at email@example.com.
All entries (hard copy or electronic) become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. As a condition of participation, entrants agree that all entries can be used for marketing purposes and future events held by Sponsor and/or hosted on Sponsor’s website.
A. Steps to submit an electronic file:
1) Enter your film on FilmFreeway. Simply click the button Submit Now button, upload your film and fill out the online form.
2) Be sure to complete the customized oath and permission form within FilmFreeway.
3) For group entries, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. explaining that you are submitting as a group. She will send an electronic oath and permission form which each additional entrant (and as appropriate, parent/guardian) must complete.
B. Intellectual Property
By entering this contest, all entrants agree that their submission is their own original work, does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others, and is in compliance with all copyright laws.
When using sources and works that are not your own, entrants agree that those works are part of the public domain, that they have obtained permission to use the work, or that the use of the work does not constitute a substantial portion of the film so as to comply with fair use laws of USC Title 17 Section 107 found at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. Where an entrant has obtained permission to use a substantial portion of another’s intellectual property, entrant agrees to submit proof of permission with the film entry. We urge entrants in their creativity to use their own artistic works or those in the public domain. As to research, please give credit to the owners and authors of scientific, academic, political, etc. works, such as through the credits of the film or when the source is used in the film.
For help finding images that are in the public domain and do not constitute any type of infringement, try starting at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures. For free or royalty-free sound recordings and music, an artist typically places their work into the public domain. Try doing a search for royalty-free music, and you can find many songs available for a free and legal download to accompany your video. While One Earth Collective does not endorse or promote any specific website, you may find some of these free resources helpful in your film creation: http://socialtimes.com/royalty-free-music_b37470
Entrants agree to not hold One Earth Collective liable for any intellectual property disputes and to comply with these Rules and all copyright laws.
8. Winner Selection/Notification
During the week of August 14, 2023, the Sponsor will announce the potential winners after judgment of all eligible entries.
After winners are chosen, Sponsor will attempt to notify the winners via e-mail or telephone during the week of August 14, 2023. If the winner cannot be contacted within five (5) days after the date of the first attempt to contact, the Sponsor may choose to award the next runner-up in place of the originally selected winner.
Potential winners will be notified by e-mail and/or telephone. If the potential winner cannot be contacted or if the prize is undeliverable, potential winner forfeits the prize.
It is the duty of the winner/s to supply a physical U.S. mailing address to Sponsor to which the prize can be delivered at the time of entry. If this address should change it is the duty of the entrant to inform Sponsor of the updated address. For winning entrants who are minors, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize in the name of the parent/legal guardian. Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of the Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all of the requirements. If a potential winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor may award the applicable prize to the next runner-up in the category.
9. General Conditions
In the event that the operation or administration of the Contest is impaired for any reason such as, but not limited to, fraud, legality, technicality, or in the event that the Contest is unable to run as planned for any reason, Sponsor may suspend the Contest temporarily or indefinitely. Sponsor may address the issue and resume the Contest or terminate the Contest. Suspension or termination of the Contest is under the sole discretion of Sponsor, and entrants agree not to hold Sponsor liable in these circumstances. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant that it finds to not be in compliance or in violation with the Contest Rules or any entrant who acts in an unprofessional or disruptive manner.
In submitting a film and signing the application form within FilmFreeway, all entrants agree to these terms and conditions of the contest and that Sponsor is not liable for any unauthorized or inappropriate sharing of films. Note that violence, profanity, or direct attacks on individuals or organizations will not be accepted. All films must adhere to copyright laws. Any film utilizing copyrighted material that is not the creation or property of the entrant will not be considered unless clear evidence of the legal right to use that copyrighted material is provided with the submission by the applicable deadline (ex: permission by the owner of the intellectual property).
10. Release and Limitations of Liability
In consideration for permission to participate in the Contest, entrants (together with parent or guardian if entrant is under 18 years of age or under a legal disability) expressly release and hold harmless the Sponsor from and against any and all claims, demands, and causes of action arising out of the entrant’s participation in the Contest. Entrant’s release and agreement to hold Sponsor harmless includes but is not limited to intellectual property disputes, cancellation of the Contest, injury, death, harm or losses of any kind, whether or not caused in whole or in part by the negligence or other fault of the Sponsor or its agents. Entrant (together with parent/guardian if appropriate) waives any right to claim any damages whatsoever, including but not limited to consequential, punitive, direct, or indirect damages, and releases and forever discharges Sponsor, its representatives, employees, officers, agents, and affiliates from all such claims, on behalf of entrants, their heirs, assigns, and any other person claiming by, under or through entrant.
Except when prohibited by law, entrants agree that any and all disputes will be handled individually. In the case of any dispute, entrants agree to attempt resolution with Sponsor. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of the Rules, entrants’ rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection to the Contest, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Illinois, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the laws of any jurisdiction other than Illinois. Any legal fees incurred by Sponsor in the event of a dispute relating in any way to the Contest are the responsibility of the entrant.
*Contest criteria for the Roots and Shoots pilot program are the same as for the Young Filmmakers Contest. If a participant does become a winner, prize money will be paid via the Jane Goodall Institute, and matching gifts will be limited to one of three U.S.-based non-profits which reflect the theme of the winning film(s).
Sponsor reserves the right to update these rules.
Last updated: 4/8/2022
The One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest is partially funded by a grant from the Manaaki Foundation.
Response from festival:
Kayleen and Colsen, your film "The Apocalypse" was packed with important information, and also wildly creative. After watching it the first time, I was speechless except for one word: "Wow!" So glad our jury felt the same way, giving it top scores. Keep creating! Your voice is important!