yfc-2017-web-graphic Young Filmmakers Contest submissions, from college age to 3rd grade, are due January 15, 2017. Questions? Please contact Lisa Files at lisa.b.files@gmail.com. Click here for full contest rules.

Share the Young Filmmakers Contest with Students, Teachers and Parents! Give a voice to the next generation. Introduce the Young Filmmakers Contest to creative students in your community. Click here for a contest PDF to share or print.

To request paper versions of the above PDF, click here.

Or, view, print, or send a COMPLETE  CONTEST KIT with all the details, links and shareable images.

2016 Winners (click here to see winning films)


Luis Molinero/Shutterstock

Create your own film! Explore your talents by attending our filmmaking or animation workshops! Attend just for fun or to create a great entry for the Young Filmmakers Contest!

Filmmaking workshop for Grades 6 to 8

Sundays, December 4 and 11 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. (code #2216.220 with rfparks.com) REGISTER HERE.

Filmmaking Workshop for Grades 3 to 5 Sundays, December 4 and 11 from 12 to  2:30 p.m. (code #2216.221 with rfparks.com) REGISTER HERE.

Location The Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave., in River Forest. In collaboration with the River Forest Park District.

Workshop Cost $30 for residents and $35 for non-residents. Water and nut-free snack provided.

Important Bring an iPad or tablet, if possible.

Learn how to make a movie from Jeff Lassahn, Lucy Coria, David Arthur Wall, and Lauren Travers. The first week, topics covered will be story, lighting, audio, and editing, with plenty of time for hands on learning. The second week students will dive into video editing and production.

New Animation Workshop!


Animation workshop for Grades 3 to 8 Saturday, December 3 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. REGISTER HERE. All equipment provided.

Location St. Vincent Ferrer School Gymnasium 1515 Lathrop Ave., River Forest In collaboration with Steve and Kate's Camp.

Workshop Cost $30 for residents and non-residents. Water and nut-free snack provided.

Teachers are David Arthur Wall and Lauren Travers. 

Filmmaking Help for High Schoolers


Jeff Lassahn teaches Video and Photo. Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. No registration necessary. Free. Call 312-747-5260 to confirm his availability first.

Location Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center YouMedia, 400 S. State St., Chicago


Young Filmmakers Contest Overview

Eligible Grade Level Categories

There will be one winner in each of the following four grade level categories:

- Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5) - Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8) - High School (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) - College (active, enrolled college or university student)

Contest entries may be submitted by an individual, or by a group of any size (ex: a group of friends, an afterschool program, or an entire class). In the case of group submission, one prize will be awarded to the entire group as a whole.

Topic Categories

Each film submission should choose one or several of the following topics on which to focus the theme of the film:

- Water - Waste - Food - Transportation - Energy - Open Space and Ecosystems

Entrants will then be judged on their ability to address the topic(s) of choice by being engaging, informative, inspiring, and creative through their film. All submissions must show a strong (research-supported) understanding of the topics and related issues. Submissions must share and highlight solutions to the issues discussed in the chosen sustainability topic(s). The film entry’s theme must be solution-based. The film should talk about an environmental/sustainability problem and then discuss what could be a potential solution to this problem. For example, consider a film that discusses over-logging and deforestation and then elaborates on how paper-based product industries can change their methods to harvest sustainably. We look forward to viewing your entries that talk about a current problem and how you propose we solve this problem as a community with the goal of sustainability.

Animations can present a solution or motivate viewers towards awareness or behavior change for one of the six topics.

Film Length

Entrants may submit a film of no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes.

Sponsor will accept and consider short animated films. The minimum length for animated submissions is 45 seconds. Animations can present a solution or motivate viewers towards awareness or behavior change for one of the six topics.


Winners of each category will receive the following prizes:

Screening of their film at the One Earth Film Festival and at other related and subsequent educational and non-profit events hosted by Sponsor.

Posting of their film at the One Earth Film Festival and Green Community Connections website. (Note: Entrants grant Sponsor the exclusive rights to the film and release ownership to Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to utilize submitted films for any promotional materials and online media, at its sole discretion.)

Cash prize: Each winner will receive a cash prize pertaining to the grade level category:

- Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5): $75 cash prize - Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8): $100 cash prize - High School (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12) $250 cash prize - College (active, enrolled college or university student): $500 cash prize

Matching Grant: In addition to the cash prize, each winner will receive a matching grant. The grant will be donated to a non-profit organization or community sustainability project that the winner chooses, subject to Sponsor’s approval. Upon being notified of winning, the winner or winning group will submit a short proposal (up to one page long) explaining the organization they are choosing for the grant. The selected organization will have proven its ability to raise sustainability awareness, and will have demonstrated a commitment to creating solutions in the subject matter area of the winning film. It is the sole discretion of Sponsor to accept or reject the winner’s organization of choice.

As a reminder, while a group of people (ex: a class or a group of friends) may submit an entry together, only one prize will be awarded to the group as a whole.

Click here for more specific details.