The 5th annual Raw Science Film Festival is open for submission!

The festival honors films on science and technology worldwide. Categories include fiction and non-fiction for both students and professionals. Cash prizes are awarded. Animations and infographics are welcomed. The film screening and awards ceremony takes place in January, 2019.

Judging Panel:

Ana Brezinska | Filmmaker & Digital Media Producer | Petersdottir Media
Andi Wong | ArtsEd4All
Andrew McGregor | MindShare LA
Ann Merchant | The Science & Entertainment Exchange
Bianka Hofmann | Fraunhofer MEVIS
Carl Kurlander | Producer | Writer | St. Elmo's Fire
Christopher Stott | ManSat LLC
Christopher L Reed | Chair/ Professor, Film & Moving Image
Dennis Hall | Avere Group
Domhnaill Hernon | Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T.
Eliza Chin | American Medical Women's Association
Erik Viirre MD PhD | UCSD Dept of Neurosciences | Arthur C Clarke Center for Human Imagination
Jacquelyn Ford Morie | Founder, All These Worlds LLC | XPRIZE Sr. Advisor | VWS Board of Advisors
Janet Ivey Duensing | CEO/Janet's Planet, Inc.
Kip Thorne | California Institute of Technology
Lawrence A. Mirisch | The Mirisch Agency
Mat Kaplan | The Planetary Society
Dr. May Berenbaum | Professor/Head, Dept. Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Melissa Howland | Film Critic/Host/Podcaster/Journalist
Neville Farmer | Writer | Producer | Composer | Performer
Nora Bateson | International Bateson Institute
Pamela Winfrey | Biodesign | Arizona State University
Paul D Miller | DJ Spooky
Paul Hynek | EZ Numbers
Peter McCrea | Cavendish Impact Foundation
Peter Samuelson | Founder, Starlight, Starbright, First Star Foundations | Producer of 26 motion pictures
Sarah Koskoff | "Hello I Must Be Going"
September Williams, M.D. | Bioethics Screen Reflections
Stephen Wolfram | Wolfram Foundation
Susaye Greene | Peace Prize Foundation | Simple Reminders | XPrize
Todd Louiso | Director/Actor/Producer
M. Wade Holler | Director of Digital Content & Media Strategy, Explore Mars Inc.
Newton Campbell | Computer Scientist | AI Expert | STEM Educator
Rex Ridenoure | Director of Mission Services | Founding CEO, Ecliptic Enterprises

There are cash prizes, trophies, and sponsor award packages.


Student Dramatic < 10 minutes
Student Documentary < 10 minutes
Student Dramatic > 10 minutes
Student Documentary > 10 minutes
Student Dramatic Feature > 60 minutes
Student Documentary Feature > 60 minutes

Professional Dramatic < 10 minutes
Professional Documentary < 10 minutes
Professional Dramatic > 10 minutes
Professional Documentary > 10 minutes
Professional Dramatic Feature > 60 minutes
Professional Documentary Feature > 60 minutes

Student Dramatic < 10 minutes
Student Documentary < 10 minutes
Student Dramatic > 10 minutes
Student Documentary > 10 minutes
Student Dramatic Feature > 60 minutes
Student Documentary Feature > 60 minutes

Amateur Dramatic < 10 minutes
Amateur Documentary < 10 minutes
Amateur Dramatic > 10 minutes
Amateur Documentary > 10 minutes
Amateur Dramatic Feature > 60 minutes
Amateur Documentary Feature > 60 minutes


Best Documentary
Best Science Fiction
Best Series (Non-Fiction)
Best Series (Fiction)
Best Technical Innovation in Media
Best Visual Effects
Best Educational Media
Best Mixed Reality Media
Kip Thorne Gravity Award for Best Depiction of a Scientific Principle
Stephen Woflram Best Technical Advisor Award
Janet Ivey Permission to Dream Award
Peter Samuelson Star Catcher Award for Best Pro-Social Media
Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination Prize in Speculative Media
Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. Raw Science Alliance

The Raw Science Film Competition (“Contest”) is governed by these Official Rules, and the decisions of Raw Science and its appointed Judges (together referred to as “Raw Science”) in the interpretation and implementation of these Official Rules are final. This Contest is Sponsored by Raw Science, Inc. and Raw Science Foundation all referred to in these rules as “Raw Science.”

WHO CAN ENTER. You must be 18 or over as of July 13, 2018 to enter. For junior high and high school students entering the Youth Awards, the film must be submitted by a representative 18 and older.

STUDENT FILMS: To be eligible, the filmmaker must be a full-time student in a degree-granting program at an accredited** U.S. college or university. The film must have been made in a teacher-student relationship within the curricular structure of that institution. If the filmmaker has graduated or left such a program, the film may be submitted no later than one year from the filmmaker’s date of departure. International Students enrolled in schools that are members of CILECT may submit their works. All films not submitted in the English language should be subtitled in English.

PROFESSIONAL FILMS: May be submitted by any filmmaker anywhere in the world. . All films not submitted in the English language must be subtitled in English.
Raw Science employees, Board Members, Advisors and agents and their family members are not eligible to enter.

AMATEUR FILMS: May be submitted by any filmmaker anywhere in the world. All films not submitted in the English language must be subtitled in English. Raw Science employees, Board Members, Advisors and agents and their family members are not eligible to enter.

YOUTH FILMS: May be submitted for any filmmaker anywhere in the world under the age of 18. All films not submitted in the English language must be subtitled in English. Raw Science employees, Board Members, Advisors and agents and their family members are not eligible to enter.

INDUSTRY AWARDS: May be submitted for nomination by any filmmaker anywhere in the world. All films not submitted in the English language must be subtitled in English. Raw Science employees, Board Members, Advisors and agents and their family members are not eligible to enter. Feature-length theatrical films (> 40 min) must be released between January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019. A signed Official Screen Credits (OSC) form and a PDF or Word document of the film’s complete screen credits must be received by the date of the film festival. Entries are also accepted if released via broadcast, cable television, or internet transmission.

NO PROFESSIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO STUDENT ENTRIES. The purpose of the Raw Science Student Film competition is to support and encourage filmmakers with no previous professional experience who are enrolled in degree-granting programs and accredited colleges and universities as full-time students who are making fiction and non-fiction works that deal with “Science” issues and ideas about innovation and invention that impact the planet, socially, politically, environmentally or otherwise. Raw Science wants to encourage student filmmakers and while professional advice may be requested and given during the making of student films, Raw Science does not allow for any hands-on involvement by film industry professionals in key positions, including but not limited to, directors, producers, camera persons, editors, writers or production sound mixers. Professional actors, however, may participate and be included in the film entries. Raw Science reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify from competition (or reclassify) any entry in which Raw Science determines that industry professionals have had undue influence.

HOW TO ENTER. Entrants must complete the Entry Form available at Entry forms must list the director (but no more than two) most responsible for the creative production of the picture. If there are any credit discrepancies or controversies, Raw Science will insist that credits be settled before the film may be considered for an award.

CRITERIA FOR ENTRY: Film entries must be those completed after January 1, 2018 and before January 1, 2019 (works-in-progress should not be entered as they may not be altered during the competition once initial judging has occurred and will be disqualified from submission into subsequent Raw Science Awards competitions.) Advertising films and promotional films, will not be eligible for entry. By entering the Contest Entrants represent and warrant to Raw Science that they have all of the rights and consents necessary to enter the Contest and to grant Raw Science the rights granted in these Official Rules; that the film Entry does not violate any contractual obligation that Entrant has and that the very best of Entrant’s knowledge or belief does not violate the rights of any third party, including without limitation the right of privacy, publicity, or the copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights of any third party, and that it does not violate any law or regulation.

STYLE CATEGORIES: Entries may be in any of the following styles of filmmaking:
ANIMATION -Animated films may present an original narrative story, an existing story or fable, or an exploration of a mood or thought. Either comical or serious, they usually fall into one of two general fields — character animation or abstract animation. Various techniques include cel animation, computer animation, clay animation, pixilation, cut-out pins, camera multiple-pass imagery, kaleidoscope effects, and the film frame itself. Winning animation films are chosen by judging the product as a whole, as well as the artistic and technical skill of the animator in whatever motif or animation technique the student has chosen.

DOCUMENTARY – Documentary films are visual essays that seek to present historical subjects, current social or political issues, or specific human experiences in such a way as to have a dramatic impact upon the viewing audience. Documentaries may be filmed in the cinema vérité style where camera and microphone merely record the event without injecting the comments or subjective conclusions of the filmmaker, or may be a reenactment. In the latter case, the distinction between dramatic and documentary film lies in the fact that while dramatic film is fictional, documentary film deals with real, factual situations and circumstances.

NARRATIVE – Narrative films strive to portray life, a character or a narrative story much the same way a novel does, but within the context of an audiovisual medium. Past narrative films by students have ranged from those that are serious in tone to films that are comic, as well as the familiar and uniquely American “movie musical.” Winning entries in this and all other categories reflect the merit of the film when viewed as a whole, as well as the professional execution of its component parts, such as script, dialogue, direction, cinematography, lighting, acting, editing and scoring. Narrative category films may be adaptations of existing pieces of literature, or, as has often been the case, original stories written by the student filmmaker.

Preliminary eligibility and classification shall be determined in accordance with procedures and judging determined by Raw Science in its sole discretion. If the eligibility and final classification of any entry is questioned Raw Science shall be authorized to to designate the classification of the applicable entry. The decision of the Judges in this matter is final.
CRITERIA FOR JUDGING/ JUDGES . The entries shall be judged on the basis of resourcefulness, originality, entertainment, and production quality, without regard to cost of production or subject matter. Final judging by the Raw Science shall be completed by January 15, 2019. Finalists in each category shall be notified promptly. Announcement of winners in each category will be made at the Awards Ceremony in January, 2019. The decisions of the Judges are final.

NOTIFICATION. Winners will be notified by January 15, 2019. Failure to respond within 24 hours to notice of winning will result in disqualification.

GRANT OF RIGHTS. By entering the Contest, Entrants agree that Raw Science may possess their Entry, screen entries for individuals and groups, copy and edit as necessary solely for the purpose of such screenings, use stills, screen shots and clips from the Entries for purposes of judging the Contest, promotion of the Contest, archival purposes and Raw Science promotional purposes. Clips of under 15 seconds will not require screen credit to Entrants. Raw Science will make good faith effort to include credit to Entrants for any use of Entries that is longer than 15 seconds, but no inadvertent failure to do so will be considered a violation of Entrant’s intellectual property rights in the Entry. All Finalists and winners grant Raw Science the right to air their “Winning Entries” on Raw Science NETWORKS for 12 months. Finalists and Winners agree to negotiate in good faith the terms and conditions of any renewal terms for the exhibition and/or distribution of the Winning Entries.

RELEASES: By participating, each Entrant agrees: (a) to abide by these Official Rules and decisions of Raw Science and judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects relating to this Contest; (b) to release, discharge and hold harmless Raw Science, and their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies, and the respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents and representatives of the forgoing (collectively, “Raw Science ”) from any and all injuries, liability, losses and damages of any kind to persons, including death, or property (including to the film entries, resulting, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from Entrant’s participation in the Contest or any Contest-related activity or the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any awarded prize; and (c) to the use of his/her Entry, name, photograph/video, image and/or likeness for programming, advertising, publicity and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter known, worldwide and on the Internet, and in perpetuity by Raw Science and its designees, without compensation (unless prohibited by law) or additional consents from Entrant or any third party and without prior notice, approval or inspection, and to execute specific consent to such use if asked to do so. By participating, Entrant also agrees not to release any publicity or other materials on their own or through someone else regarding their participation in the Contest without the prior consent of the Raw Science, which it may withhold in its sole discretion.

THE THINGS OUR LAWYERS WANT TO TELL YOU / GENERAL CONDITIONS: Raw Science is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, damaged, inaccurate, stolen, delayed, misdirected, undelivered, or garbled Entries; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing, postal, third party courier, or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of Entries, the announcement of the prizes, or in any Contest-related materials. Raw Science are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Entrants, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Raw Science are not responsible for injury or damage to any person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading materials from or use of the website. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the Contest, who act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Raw Science, will be disqualified and all associated Entries will be void. Should any portion of the Contest be, in Raw Science’s sole opinion, compromised including without limitation by electronic/digital virus, worms, bugs,non-authorized human intervention or other causes which, in the sole opinion of the Raw Science, corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or submission of Entries, Raw Science reserves the right at its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the Contest (or portion thereof) for these reasons or any other reason, and, if terminated, select the potential winner(s) at issue from all eligible, non-suspect Entries received prior to action taken using the judging procedure outlined above. Caution: any attempt to deliberately damage raw science’s website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be in violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Raw Science reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys’ fees) from any such individual to the fullest extent of the law, including criminal prosecution.

Disputes. By entering you agree that issues concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of the State of California. All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved individually, and without resort to class action. Should there be a conflict between the laws of the State of California and any other laws, the conflict will be resolved in favor of the laws of the State of California. All judgments or awards shall be limited to actual incurred out-of-pocket expenses (excluding attorneys’ fees) associated with participation in this Contest and shall not include any indirect, punitive, incidental and/or consequential damages.

Sponsor. For an email copy of these Official Rules please write us at and request a copy of the Raw Science Film Contest.

For more information contact Raw Science at

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Accreditation Commission on Colleges and Universities
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Overall Rating
  • Had a blast attending the festival! From cocktail parties to science communication workshops, there were valuable opportunities to network with other filmmakers and even a few Hollywood producers. The film festival was amazing--I was blown away by the quality of the films and the friendliness of all the participants. My biggest critique is that the award ceremony ran too long, and there was little emphasis on the films and filmmakers shown at the festival. Out of a 5-hour awards ceremony, only about 15 minutes focused on the filmmakers present and the films that we spent the weekend watching and discussing. Instead of panel discussions on the future of space travel, how about panel discussions with the filmmakers on the intentions behind some of the films or the challenges of representing science in movies? There seemed to be a disconnect between the film festival and the awards ceremony, where mostly industry professionals were recognized.

    All in all, a great weekend celebrating and networking and having a grand ole time. Can't wait for next year!

    January 2018
  • Kai Staats

    This was, simply put, an outstanding experience. From the moment I arrived to the Friday evening social through the final science workshop Sunday afternoon, I was impressed by the dedication to the quality of the event. Raw Science is not just a film festival, but an opportunity to learn, network, and share in the art and form of film making and science outreach and education.

    Their formula is unique in that they combine a traditional film festival with science communication. The workshops provide an opportunity to learn from experts in a diversity of fields of research, from psychological training for optimal performance in professional sports to learning from two of Hollywood's top writer-producers about how they integrate science fact into science fiction.

    Raw Science feels far more mature than a festival just four years in. I am eager to attend the fifth.

    January 2018
  • ren chao wang

    As a 2nd place winner of Professional feature >59min, I think Raw Science Film Festival is definitely a great event and has the potential to become an important festival in the circuit. Of course, It is one of the festivals that worth the entry fee and worth submitting. I’m not saying that because I won a award, but based on my feeling during the whole communication and event. I think this festival’s programmer has the most important things in the film festival circuit: sincere and honesty.

    1. It’s not a big film festival. Not a week-long event with live screenings. But it is clearly stated in the overview. No hiding. Better than some festivals WITH screenings but to have them in some tiny projection room. (Let’s be honest, most the live screenings of micro/low budget indie film will not having enough audiences.)
    2. This festival has a clear list of judges (with their professions). This is important. A judging committee with diversity is comforting. At least not like some black-boxed festivals, if you submit your handheld action flick to a group of people who prefer classical dramas, it is only a waste of money.
    3. Nice communication and network. You will always get prompt reply with sincere words from a person, not those overly warmed festival letters or political replies. The submitters don’t need overly warmed fake praises, they just want to know if his work is considered seriously.

    I wrote these after my experience with some other festivals is complete. I thought that will be more objective. My work is also accepted to some other festivals and has some great communications. But I still think this event is a unique one. I think it’s more like a new kind of film festivals, that conforms to the trend of the internet era. More transparency, More efficiency. These will help you to build your reputation more quickly and easily.

    In the end, I still want to emphasize how important sincere and honesty is. Let me share an experience:
    I got a mail from another festival three months before the notification date. And in that letter, the words were so warm and nice, they expressed the only problem from accepting is the translation and even will to make an exception. Then we quickly made the modification and the communication so great and our film got highly praised. Then three months later, we are rejected. What a great experience!
    Low budget indie films always have flaws in storytelling、editing、acting or production value and so on. That is the fact. If you want to reject a submission you can always find a reason. But there is no need to use overly warmed words to create dreams. (most film festivals do that) Submitters only want to be treated seriously and sincerely.

    So I love this festival and it’s programmer. But if a 2nd place winner or someone couldn’t attend the ceremony can also receive a real trophy, that would be awesome.

    January 2017
  • First, I'd like to say that I'm grateful to not only have been invited to the Raw Science Film Festival, but to have been selected as a winner in my category. The mission of this festival is a much needed one as we jettison forward in, an ever evolving, technologically-immersed global community. I truly believe in the Raw Science Film Festival as a bastion of high quality, scientifically accurate, stories of both fiction and non-fiction. I felt exuberant and filled with joy, to be in the room with such incredible people who are leading (and have lead) the charge in modern frontiers of science. All that and it being held in the Zanuck Theater at 21st Century Fox Studios.

    With that said, I would be remiss not to give an honest critique of the festival for the organizers and potential submitting filmmakers. There are a few areas that I think the festival could work on as it grows.

    At this point, its not as much a festival as it is an awards ceremony. Its misleading in that I was expecting, as most festivals are, an exploration in, not just a handful, but all the festivals accepted films and winning films. Most of the films didn't screen and half the day was primarily devoted to the ceremony.
    The ceremony consisted of speeches by scientists, and awarding mostly studio films (and listening to their speeches). This would be great if it were the last night of the festival, not the only night. *Footnote - outside of the high profile invitees, much attention and anticipated excitement from the organizers went to the youth filmmaker award. This isn't as much a critique - I just don't understand why there was such emphasis on this award over many other filmmaker awards. Makes you think if you're twenty-something and up and/or haven't made a studio film nobody cares.
    The space was not really set up for networking. The only space to do so was in the small corridor of a lobby outside the theater or outdoors near the step-n-repeat. There was no formal congregation area for networking. The festival also lacked a method of networking all together. The current method is to show up. A great first step, but not cultivating.
    Hospitality was so-so. Everyone was incredibly amicable. Although, once I had my name-tag-sticker, I was on my own to figure out how things would go.

    Their communication prior to the festival was impeccable. They were incredibly responsive with emails. The festival took place in one day/evening. There was a block of screenings of some of the festival winners, yet not all, for about 4 hours. Afterward, there was pizza in an unlit area of outdoor tables and chairs. Then there was a red carpet event for an hour, and finally the awards ceremony - which took the other half of the festival.

    Being a winner of this festival is wonderful, but somehow I never got the feeling that I won anything. "All the winners stand on stage for a group photo!" - yay. (I'm not one for speeches, but this was kind of like being fed scraps). I felt more like a spectator of someone else's party. And if I'm feeling that, I'm sure other filmmakers are too.

    All said and done, I still believe that there is an insurmountable amount of potential with this festival. I would love to see it grow into an event that spans several days, and puts more emphasis on the films and filmmakers. The awards ceremony should be a celebration of the best films that played at the festival, not the festival itself. We miss the point if its the other way around. Festivals should be a smorgasbord of perspectives. An exploration of all the ways creative minds present their ideas. And if the organizers want to, they may develop ways to put them in a room, to commingle and cultivate new relationships (networking). Which may then spark new collaborations - and who knows maybe they'll return to the festival with bigger and better ideas, leading to the growth and expansion of the festival itself and its filmmakers.

    December 2016
    Response from festival:

    Lee, thank you very much for your thorough and thoughtful review. All things will be addressed for the future! We apologies if filmmakers were not given adequate time to receive their awards. The festival is operated almost entirely pro-bono and on donated time/facilities. We had to cut the event shorter to offer the special sneak screening of HIdden Figures (which was a generous gesture by Fox!). We had to weigh the opportunity for filmmakers to see it versus more time to accept individual awards. Unfortunately, the event ran over and the allotted time was taken up! We will be very aware of that in the future to ensure filmmakers are able to fully accept their awards at the event. In addition, we hope that the event grows so that it can be spread over a longer period of time. Hopefully some of the other items can be addressed when we have more volunteers and resources to run it in the future. Thanks again for your thoughts. Best Regards, Keri Kukral

  • Shutao Jiang

    great awesome festival really nice

    December 2016