The Great New York State Fair will be adding a drone film competition to their many offerings in 2017. The NYS Fair runs from Wednesday, August 23 through Monday, September 4.

The NYS Fair Drone Film Festival is dedicated to educating audiences and empowering filmmakers and companies around the globe to tell their stories with the use of drones. Amateur, professional and student as well as companies from around the world are invited to enter their film submissions. The purpose of this is to educate the public about the many positive and beneficial ways drones are being used to better society and capture the panoramic beauty of our planet.

This competition is open to content filmed anywhere around the globe. Of the eight (8) submissions categories, a separate category just for drone films shot in/featuring New York State has been established. The top winning films in each category will be showcased during a special presentation and screened during the fair.

Awards & Prizes

Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the top three selections in each category. Each gold medal-winning film will be eligible for the festival's Best of Show award. A top prize of $250.00 will be awarded for the Best of Show film along with a plaque.

Rules & Terms

Films submissions must adhere to the run time of 5 minutes maximum in each category (run times includes title and credits), of which at least 50% must be shot using a Drone or Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle (UAV– a multirotor that takes aerial photography or cinematography). The NARRATIVE category only requires 30 seconds of drone footage. The DRONES AND HEALTHCARE and the CORPORATE/INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS category has a 10 minute maximum limit.

All entries must be submitted through via the NYS Fair Drone Film Festival site. This system offers an economical, eco-friendly, and secure alternative to traditional hard-copy DVD submissions. Fill out one master entry form and take advantage of quick entry and submission management tools.

By entering your film for consideration in the NYS Fair Drone Film Festival, you authorize that your film is cleared for festival exhibition and you accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. Entry into the festival constitutes permission to exhibit your work at the NYS Fair Drone Film Festival. It is the sole responsibility of the filmmaker to secure authorization and permission from the copyright owner(s) of any and all copyrighted content or materials included within their submitted film. NYS Fair Drone Film Festival does not pay rental fees for submitted work. If selected, exhibition format digital files may be requested from the filmmaker prior to the start of the NYS Fair.

NYS Fair reserves the right to use segments of any submitted film for promotional purposes only, including but not limited to broadcast on TV, websites, videos, blogs, social media, print publications, and signage or other media for educational, informational, and marketing purposes before, during and after the NYS Fair. The publicity materials and clips of films may be shared with official partners before, during and after the NYS Fair. The NYS Fair reserves the right to crop submissions as needed for print and web publications. Due to the intense nature of the publication cycle, we are not able to submit materials to filmmakers or their representatives for approval prior to publication.

Film trailers are not eligible for consideration in any category. Films produced, financed or initiated by a major film studio, television network or corporate entity are eligible for competition in the DRONES AND HEALTHCARE and CORPORATE/INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS categories.

A panel of judges will review and select all final entries into the festival. The same rules apply to all applicants. Films are selected on their merit by our panel of judges. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place selection for each category. One film will be selected as the Best of Show and awarded a $250 prize and plaque.


The festival jury will select drone films in the following categories:

NYS DRONES(5 min maximum) - Films in this category are those made only in NYS. Filmmakers are required to identify the NYS location. The use of recognized NYS landmarks is a plus.

NARRATIVE(5 min maximum) - A great film always centers on great story telling. Please tell us your amazing story with the use of your drone. This category is open to real stories as well as fiction/fantasy. A minimum of 30 seconds or drone footage is required.

LANDSCAPE/ARCHITECTURE(5 min maximum) - What amazing shots of landscapes and architecture can you capture?

SHOWREEL(5 min maximum) - Drone cinematographers often capture a lot of footage. This category is for those who wish to show off the wide variety of your work. Give us your amazing shots.

SPORTS(5 min maximum) - Sports scenes and extreme sports footage are what we are looking for. Whether it is snowboarding down a mountain or capturing the local soccer match this is the category for you.

DRONES AND HEALTHCARE(10 min maximum) Drones are increasingly being used in the healthcare arena. Films in this category need to showcase these stories. Use of drone footage is not necessary(partial drone footage is desirable). Your film must be centered around drones.

STUDENT(5 min maximum) - Students of all ages are encouraged to submit their work. This category is open ONLY to students. Students can also submit in any of the other categories. If submitting to other categories student films will be judged as would any other submission.

CORPORATE/INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS(10 min maximum) - This category is for films that feature drones. These are stories about drones, the work being done or starring people who are involved with drones. Films submitted to this category should not exceed 10 minutes in length and don’t have to be shot using drones although including partial drone footage is desirable.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can enter a film?
Participation is open to anyone in the world (students, individuals, organizations including Commercial Drone Operators, and Drone/UAV Organizations, unmanned Vehicle systems). There is a special category just for students.

Is there a Fee?
Yes. There are three levels of fees.
• Students - $5.00
• Filmmakers - $20.00
• Corporate/Industrial/Business - $50.00.

Is there a fee waiver process?
We don’t waive entry fees. The same rules and entry fees apply to all applicants thus no entry is favored over another.

What are the deadlines?
We are accepting submissions via FilmFreeway thru August 9, 2017. Selections will be announced on August 16, 2017.

What can I submit?
Submitted films must adhere to run times posted in each category. Run times include title and credits. Enter as many times in as many categories as you like.

Do you provide refunds?
Once an entry payment is made we don’t provide a refund, even if your film is rejected for consideration. Sorry.

How to Submit?
NYS Fair Drone Film Festival only accepts online entries submitted via FilmFreeway, which provides cost-saving, paperless submission to film festivals around the world.

How can I edit my submission?
You cannot alter your entries once submitted.

How do you communicate with filmmakers?
We will communicate with you via email. Please make sure you provide us with a valid email. We will notify you if your submission is accepted.

If my film is selected can I attend the ceremony?
Yes! Please come join us at the Great New York State Fair. Admission tickets and parking passes will be provided to filmmakers who win awards or whose films are chosen for screening if they did not win an award.