The Mystery Box Film Challenge is a film challenge for all who love to make films. Participants get items/prompts that they have to use in their film. Like the television show Chopped on Food Network but for filmmakers.

Filmmakers have roughly 2 months to complete a film using the items/prompts which will be announced online and listed here. Those who submit finished films will have them premiere at the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival followed by a short Q&A and small awards presentation. So are you up for the challenge?


Check back for the 2025 Mystery Box Film Challenge Items!

Best of Show Award

Finalists are provided with a laurel which may be used for their own marketing and promotional materials.

Best of Show Winner will be given an award certificate, winner laurel, and cash prize.

1.) Submission Requirements

ITEMS/PROMPTS: Filmmakers must use ALL items/prompts in their film which are listed above to create a new short film for the challenge.

PG-13 RATING: Films should align with the PG-13 rating. R or NC-17 films will not be accepted. This is for a general audience.

5 MINUTES IN LENGTH: Total time includes your credits and titles in the film. Cannot go beyond 5 minutes. These will be short films.

2.) Technical Specifications

Films should be 1920 x 1080 (aspect ratio 16:9) full HD, 24fps. The film may be in other aspect ratios & resolutions, as long as it fits within the 16:9 1080 24P display. H.264 is the preferred codec with a MP4 or MOV wrapper/file type.

3.) Eligibility Requirements

All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English. Dialogue lists are not accepted.

Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry to the Mystery Box Film Challenge and to use all music, images, and content in the entry.

4.) Terms and Additional Information

All finished films submitted for the challenge by the deadline will be screened at the Northeast Pennsylvania Film Festival as long as they meet all submission requirements.

The challenge organizers will screen the films first to determine if they meet the requirements for the challenge. Then our selected judges will screen the selected films that meet all the requirements to determine the Best of Show Winner for the Mystery Box Film Challenge.

Refund of submission fee will not be given if your film does not meet our requirements above and is not accepted as part of the Mystery Box Film Challenge. Any film submitted that is not made for the challenge and does not use the items and requirements will automatically be disqualified.

Entry fee is used for marketing purposes and for the cash prize.

Overall Rating
  • Fun Film Festival! - Vinnie Langdon III, American Actor & Film Director

    September 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Vinnie! So glad to see your films every year!