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 complete festival experience. The festival takes place on June 11th, 2023 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 or attendance fees.

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


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 currently attending a school in the state of Maryland. Proof of enrollment may be requested. 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.

Overall Rating
  • Aryaman Kantawala

    Amazing. Workshops were fun and professional, had cinematic cameras, staff was welcoming and very supportive, they’re great at nurturing student filmmakers.

    June 2023
  • One of my very first film festivals and it was an amazing experience! From communication down to hospitality, the festival did an incredible job! I was able to engage in various workshops that opened my mind on film making and meet some wonderful people!

    June 2023
  • Scott A. Galeski

    Our students attended June 2022 and was the absolute best student film festival experience. FIVE STARS.

    March 2023
  • Asher Anantham

    While I was unable to attend, my producer attended in my place and said that the festival was an incredible experience and the workshops were top notch. Given the very high quality of the official selections, we felt very fortunate to be included in the festival. We are extremely motivated to work hard and return in the future with another documentary.

    July 2022