The NYS Drone Films Fest will again be one of the many exciting events at the NYS Fair. This competition is open to filmmakers around the world. You don't have to live in NYS to enter.

The NYS Drone Films Fest is dedicated to educating audiences and empowering filmmakers and companies around the world to tell their stories with the use of drones. Amateur, professional, students and companies worldwide are invited to enter their films or photographs. Our mission is to help 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. There are nine (8) submissions categories. Winning films in each category will be showcased during a special presentation and screened during the State Fair. 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 which includes a cash prize.

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.

Films submissions must adhere to the run time 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). It is the responsibility of filmmakers to ensure that drone-captured video submitted for consideration was captured in a manner consistent with the laws and rules covering drone use and camera access. The NARRATIVE category only requires 30 seconds of drone footage and has a 10 minute maximum limit.. The CORPORATE/INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS category has a 20 minute maximum limit. No actual drone footage is required.

All entries must be submitted through via the NYS Drone Films Fest site. All films submitted will be downloaded from the FilmFreeway site. You need to grant the festival permission to download your film if you wish to enter this contest. Your film submission should also be in a format that will transfer to the big screen. FilmFreeway 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 Drone Films Fest, 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 during the Drone Films Fest event which takes place the night of August 24, 2019. 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 Drone Films Fest does not pay rental fees for submitted work. If selected, exhibition format digital files must be able to be downloaded from the FilmFreeway site prior to the start of the NYS Fair.

NYS Fair reserves the right to use segments of any submitted film for promotional purposes, 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, business or corporate entity are eligible for competition in the 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 for the Best of Show award which includes a cash prize and plaque.


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

NARRATIVE (10 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, activities, events 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.

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

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 (20 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 20 minutes in length and don’t have to be shot using drones although including partial drone footage is desirable. Tell the world what amazing work you are doing.

DRONE PHOTOS - Aerial photos taken with your drone. Show the world your amazing views. We have five(5) categories to enter Photos in; Scenic/Artistic Horizontal, Scenic/Artistic Vertical (Top down view), Industrial/Corporate Horizontal, Industrial/Corporate Vertical (Top down view), and NYS Photo which must be taken somewhere in NYS. Submit up to five(5) of your photos for $25 in any single category. Only one category per submission but you can submit more than once to the festival in as many other categories as you want.

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/Photographers - $25.00
• Corporate/Industrial/Business - $50.00.

Is there a fee waiver process?
We don’t waive entry fees. Sorry. 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 July 15, 2019. Selections will be announced on August 10, 2018.

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

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. We must be able to download your film if it is selected for the State Fair.

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 about your submission if it is accepted or not.

If my film is selected can I attend the ceremony?
Yes! Please come join us at the Great New York State Fair. Admission tickets will be provided to filmmakers who win awards.

Overall Rating
  • Jesse Gamar

    I had a good time and the fair was a lot of fun to make a weekend out of it.

    October 2018
  • Highpoint Aerial

    This was my first-filmmaker experience and couldn't be any happier. The screening at the NYS Fair Drone Festivalwas a great experience and look forward to the 2018 contest. Thank you New York State Fair!

    June 2018
  • Gavin Snyder

    The NYS Fair Drone Film Festival helped me receive widespread recognition for my drone photography and film work. After receiving Honorable Mention in the inaugural 2017 festival, the team reached out to me to help me network and be involved in the film community. Great overall experience.

    June 2018
  • Matthew Johnson

    Really wonderful festival! Loved being a part of it!

    February 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Matthew. We look forward to having you join us again this year.