IMPORTANT: The 2020 Competition had been cancelled due to COVID-29. Please bookmark us for future years.


Project Twenty1 challenges you to create an original short video, animation, or VR/360 project in 21-Days, August 1-22, 2020. All projects must contain a common secret element. Examples of past elements have been "Passage, " selected by Felicia Day (The Guild), "Jump," selected by Joel Hodgson (MST3K), and "Between the Lines," selected by James Rolfe (AVGN).

Top shorts will be judged by working industry executives, film festivals, and screening partners who can provide opportunities for your short. Past judges have included Amazon Studios, A Better Tomorrow Films (John Woo's production company), Atomic Cartoons (Hilda, The Last Kids on Earth), and more.

Official Selections will be streamed online via Project Twenty1's social channels. In addition, top projects will receive awards, as well as move on to theatrical and broadcast exhibition consideration through our 2020/2021 screening partners.

Participants from all over the world are invited to join. Past participants have been from Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Canada, the UK, and all over the USA. Project Twenty1 provides the motivation, deadline, and access to working entertainment industry judges and unconventional screening opportunities.  You just have to provide the short.

Step 1: Log In or Sign Up for a filmmaker account.
Step 2: Create a New Project on Under Project Title, make up a Team Name.
Step 3: Skip all of the project details and scroll to the bottom to save the project.
Step 4: Submit the blank project (just your Team Name) to Project Twenty1 to register in order to save a spot as a Project Twenty1 Participant!

Confused? We know, we're using this platform in an unconventional way (with FilmFreeway's blessing.) Here's a walk-through with screenshots if you're a visual person:

On August 1 at 4 p.m. P.T., you will receive a Secret Element to inspire your brand new short film, animation, or VR project!

You will have until August 22 at 4 P.T. to upload the final file to your FilmFreeway profile.

Make sure you follow us on social media and hashtag the announcement of your participation #projecttwenty1 so we can RT you! If you need help casting or crewing your project, just include the name of your town and need - we'll send it to our community of talented folks who want to help!

Awards & Prizes are subject to change based on participation (films vs. animations vs. VR projects.)

We expect the following awards:

Best Short (Grand Prize)
Best Live-Action
Best Animation
Best V/R
Best Directing
Best Writing
Best Acting
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Music
Best Sound Design
Audience Award (Live-Stream)
Best Marketing
EPIC Award*

*Award for participant who exhibits exemplary participation within the Project Twenty1 community.)

The greatest reward of Project Twenty1 is a completed project. Think of it as National Novel Writing Month for media arts. The better your project is, the more opportunities Project Twenty1 can potentially get for it.

For example, Project Twenty1 partners with film festivals, broadcasters, screening partners, and new media outlets to exhibit projects. It’s essentially a waived submission fee for your project.

Since these partners vary, the opportunities have ranged from playing 24/7 in the lobby of a business to exhibiting as a part of a traditional film festival with a red carpet event, to getting broadcast on the award-winning PhillyCAM production, Optical Toys!

After our panel of screeners view and rate all of the submitted projects, the top projects submitted on time will be screened by the industry judges.

2020 Rules:
The following guidelines apply to each participating Team and their projects:

1. Times:

• Project Twenty1 2020 will Launch on August 1, 2019 at 4:00PM US PDT. The Secret Element will be revealed at 4:00pm (U.S. Pacific Daylight Time) via a live-stream, on social media, and on this website.
• All projects must be completed and submitted digitally via FilmFreeway by 4:00 p.m. US PDT 21 days from the Launch, on August 22, 2019.
• ONLY projects that are submitted prior to the deadline will be officially part of the competition, and eligible for Awards.

2. During the 21 day period, all creative endeavors are to take place. All footage must be shot and all animations created within the 21 day time period. Stock footage, animations, 3-d models, sets, logos, overlays, and other project enhancements are permitted as a part of the project, but the project should be something totally new. 

3. Work that may commence prior to Project Twenty1 is, fundraising, project participation promotion, securing crew, cast & equipment, character and location design, if animating, securing locations, and securing pre-recorded music & SFX rights.

4. The Secret Element (which may be one or more of the following: a theme or concept, a genre, a character, a prop, a type of location, a line of dialog, an action performed by a character) must appear in the project.

5. The finished project may be as short as you wish, but must be a maximum of 7:00 minutes in duration, including opening and closing credits. This is to ensure quality over quantity.

6. Projects do NOT have to be in English, although if you choose to make a short in another language, it must contain English subtitles.

7. Projects may be live-action film, animation, CGI, mixed-media, stop-motion, immersive or VR projects, podcasts (rendered as video files), trailers, teasers or any other sort of media so long as they can be submitted via FilmFreeway in some form or another.

8. Cast and crew, as well as musicians, locations, and any other involved parties may be paid or volunteer at the team’s discretion, and as permissible by law. Project Twenty1 is not responsible for reimbursing any fiscal outlay by any of the teams during the filming or editing of their projects, nor will Team be reimbursed for any expenses at any point in the future. Live-action Teams using SAG-AFTRA talent must adhere to SAG-AFTRA Short Project Agreement and fill out the Preliminary Information Form with SAG-AFTRA with an intent to use SAG-AFTRA performers:
Animation Teams using SAG-AFTRA performers must use the Standard Agreement and pay SAG-standard rates. We understand that this means that many animation Teams without full budgets will be unable to use SAG-AFTRA performers. We were unable to find a workaround for this, unfortunately.

9. Each participating team must secure talent, crew, music releases and location releases, and must be authorized to use everything that appears in his or her project. Project Twenty1 will not require releases to be submitted as a part of the project (beyond the certifications required by FilmFreeway), unless a problem arises. By participating, you certify that you have releases in your possession. 

10. Project Twenty1 reserves the right to not screen any project that can be considered racist, bigoted, pornographic, or that depicts hard core or graphic sex. Anything that would be above an "R" rating in general is not recommended.

11. Shorts must include the following credit:

"Made as a part of Project Twenty1."

They may also include Project Twenty1 logos (emailed to Team during Registration) if desired.

12. To be certified as an "Official Project Twenty1 Short," each participating group's project must follow all rules herein. Project Twenty1 reserves the right to screen only certified "Official Project Twenty1 Shorts." All such projects are eligible to compete for awards in its selected category. A panel of independent judges will determine the winners. Student shorts will be judged in the regular categories, as well as a student category reserved ONLY for shorts lead by students.

13. Definition of Student Short: A student short, which qualifies for a discount, is any short collaboration made primarily by people who are enrolled in an educational institution, such as a middle school, high school, college, or graduate program. FilmFreeway requires students to have a current and valid student ID.

Typically, student shorts tend by students, but from time to time, professors and mediators will help guide the experience. Student Shorts do not have to have student actors - in fact, we encourage students to ask for help from the swath of talented actors within their local communities. Students are welcomed to also enlist help from crew and volunteers within their community. Shorts created entirely by adults with student support (P/As, interns, etc.) do not qualify as Student Shorts. The intent of this category is to provide students with special opportunities that could level the playing field, as some Participants in this program are professionals with reasonable resources.

14. This isn't so much of a rule but a guideline and promotional tip - creators are encouraged to wait to upload their completed shorts until after the #ProjectTwenty1 Live Stream.

15. The Project Twenty1 Producers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the 21-day time period.

Additional Rules/Legal Disclaimers: