Presented by the Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Saul Zaentz High School Film Festival seeks to discover and honor the best in high school filmmaking! Accepted filmmakers are invited to come to Baltimore to screen their films in competition for $3,500 in cash prizes, as well as to participate in a three-day festival experience. The festival runs from June 18-20, 2020, at multiple venues in Baltimore, MD. We offer free master classes with industry professionals on the art of directing, producing, and screenwriting, and plenty of networking opportunities. A full schedule is available at

Generously sponsored by the Saul Zaentz Foundation, there are no submission fees nor attendance fees.

Filmmakers must attend the festival for their films to screen in competition. Full travel and accommodation scholarships are available for those who qualify with financial need.


We are a national festival that also wishes to support the film community here in Baltimore. There are special prizes reserved for Maryland filmmakers. 

Best of Festival: $500
Audience Choice: $300

Best Narrative Short: $300

Best Documentary Short: $300

Best Animated Short: $300

Best Experimental Short: $300

Best Film Under $250: $300

Best Narrative Short: $300

Best Documentary Short: $300

Best Animated Short: $300

Best Advocacy Film: $300

The Mix (everything else): $300

The festival is open only ONLY to CURRENT high school students in the United States and Canada who are 18 years of age or younger. Films submitted by filmmakers who do not meet these criteria will not be considered.

Films must have a running time of 12 minutes or less.

Films must not have excessive violence and cursing.

All music and images must be licensed. 

Work in process, commercials, and film trailers are not eligible for submission in any category.

Films previously submitted to the Saul Zaentz High School Film Festival are not eligible.