The WNET Group's Youth Collective is introducing its inaugural film festival, which will be held in spring 2023 in New York City. We're seeking submissions by filmmakers ages 13-25 and welcome short films of all kinds: narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, music video, under-60-second social media video -- the sky's the limit!

The 2023 film festival theme is DEMOCRACY. We are looking for short films that address democracy: from a filmed dance piece interpreting a first voting experience through movement to an animated satire about the first amendment to a short documentary about your own community’s local government, and more. Think beyond politics - we want to see creative and thoughtful interpretations of what democracy means to YOU!

Selected films will be screened at our NYC festival* and considered for distribution on public media, including broadcast and digital platforms. Films will also be judged for special awards and recognition. Filmmakers who attend the festival will have unique networking opportunities with peers, public media professionals, and more.

The festival will take place on June 7th at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center in New York City.

*Submissions for our in-person festival in NYC are now closed, but we are still welcoming entries for our digital festival.

Questions about applying or creating for public media? Check out these FAQs:

Also, watch the recording of our Info Session here:

Follow along with this presentation:

Learn more about The WNET Group, parent company to New York’s flagship PBS station, here: and Youth Collective here:

-Each film must be an original work of the filmmaker.
-Each film must be under 40 minutes.
-Each film must be in English or have English subtitles.
-Filmmakers under 18 years old will be asked to provide written consent from a parent or guardian.
-Travel reimbursement may be available for filmmakers attending the festival – additional details will be shared with selected filmmakers.
-If you must include any non-original creative elements or third-party materials (e.g., any and all music, photos, clips/footage, emojis, fonts, animation, etc. that you acquire from another person or a company), each element must be cleared for use by purchasing a license or obtaining written permission from the owner of the copyright permitting you to use it in all manner and media worldwide in perpetuity. Proof of licenses may be required.
-->Be aware that many free versions of software/platforms only permit personal use and would not be appropriate for this context.
-->Even if you record yourself singing/playing music, the underlying composition is likely subject to copyright and will need to be cleared/licensed.
-Filmmakers must have secured appearance releases for every person who appears in their film. Proof of releases may be required. Appearance release forms are available here if needed:
-Avoid featuring brand logos (e.g., Nike) and clearly copyrighted items and materials (e.g., Mickey Mouse poster, Avengers action figure, Coca Cola can with logo showing, etc.).
-Films may not contain any of the following: indecency (e.g., nudity); profanity (e.g., unbleeped swearing); obscenity (e.g., depictions or descriptions of overtly sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner); defamatory statements; or gratuitous depictions of tobacco or firearm use.

-Filmmakers must be willing to have their films edited for time constraints and to comply with public television content and funding standards.
-Filmmakers maintain ownership of their films but, by submitting, are agreeing to grant WNET a non-exclusive license to show the film at the film festival and distribute it on public media, including broadcast and digital platforms, worldwide in perpetuity. Non-exclusive means you can still submit and show your film in other places (your own channels, other festivals, etc.).

Overall Rating
  • Asher Anantham

    Thank you for providing this great opportunity for young filmmakers!

    July 2023