NEXTWAVE YOUTH FILM COMPETITION is a high school youth engagement and education initiative that is part of the annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF). The competition provides premier regional film and media exhibition opportunities to youth pursuing an interest or career in filmmaking. It is a celebration of the up-and-coming generation of cinematic story-tellers, and an opportunity for their stories to be seen by an audience of 45,000 festival-goers and industry professionals.

MSPIFF champions artists from all backgrounds and stages of their careers. We promote the art of film as a medium for fostering cross-cultural understanding, education, entertainment, and exploration. Whether at screenings, Q&As, panel discussions, receptions, or parties, MSPIFF offers its 45,000+ attendees exciting opportunities to experience the wealth of international cinema and to engage with 150+ visiting filmmakers and talent from around the world.

Our plans for the 2022 MSPIFF and the Nextwave Youth Film Competition include a return to traditional in-person theater screenings as well as presenting virtual events that allow for greater audience participation and accessibility. We will closely monitor conditions and adhere to local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines.

Youth Jury Favorite Film Award
Excellence in Youth Filmmaking Award


I. Submissions must be shot, directed, and made by high school youth, ages 14-18, not in a college or university at the time of the production.
II. Submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2021.
III. Submissions must be 10 minutes or less.
IV. Submissions can be fiction, documentary, animation, experimental or VR.
V. Submissions can be shot on any type of video camera.
VI. Submissions can be produced in any language but need to have English subtitles for review and festival presentation.
VII. Submissions to Nextwave must be original and not copied from others. media that use unlicensed music may be disqualified from participation.
VIII. All minors that appear in submissions must have the consent of their parent or guardian to participate and appear. For more information about release forms:


Upon selection, submitters must provide festival staff with a high resolution video file for theater exhibition (.mov preferred), a high resolution still and a brief description of the film.