Young Filmmakers Contest Guidelines

Presented by One Earth Film Festival and Green Community ConnectionsOne-Earth-Our-Earth-Contest-Logo2013 The 2nd annual One Earth Film Festival -- taking place Fri-Sun March 1-3, 2013 – is proud to announce the “One Earth . . . Our Earth!” Young Filmmakers Contest for students from upper elementary school through college.


Students are invited to submit environmental film entries that meet the following guidelines and criteria (see Contest Details below). The contest runs from Thursday, November 1, 2012 through Friday, January 25, 2013. Winners will be announced by mid-February, and winning films will be screened at the One Earth Film Festival 2013 in early March. Winners in each grade level category will also receive cash prizes and matching grants for a non-profit organization or community sustainability project of their choice.


All students in an eligible age category are invited to enter! Some suggestions for generating good film ideas:

  • Pick a topic (water, waste, food, transportation, energy) that you are passionate about.
  • Use your own imagination to create a story about your chosen topic.
  • Consider ways in which the contest title, “One Earth . . . Our Earth!” inspires you to tell an important environmental story through film.
  • Think about something you’ve done – or would like to do -- at your school or in your community (for example -- build a school garden, host a harvest dinner, tell about students composting, start a bike to school program).
  • Use real people as actors in a story, or in filming documentary-style interviews.
  • Create an animated film using legos or toys; film your own illustrations; create “moving” photo collages or slideshows.
  • Demonstrate a “how to” video about an environmental issue.
  • Be creative about how you recommend a solution to an environmental issue.
  • Come up with your own creative, clever, unique ideas! . . .



Download a printable version of the full contest details

Download the Entrant Oath and Permission Form

Download the One Earth Our Earth Contest Single Page Flyer


  • To engage and educate children and adults in Oak Park, River Forest, and surrounding communities about sustainability issues in the areas of water, waste, food, transportation, and energy.
  • To help viewers understand the urgency of sustainability issues in the above-mentioned topics, and share potential solutions.

ELIGIBILITY:  To enter, contestants must be in one of the following eligible grade level categories at the time of the submission.

GRADE LEVEL CATEGORIES: There will be one winner per each of the following four grade level categories.

  • Upper 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 officials reserve the right not to name a winner in any given category, pending volume and quality of entries.


Each film submission should choose one (or a couple) of the following areas on which to clearly focus its theme

  • Water
  • Waste
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Energy

Filmmakers will be judged on their ability to address their chosen topic/s by being engaging, informative, inspiring, and creative in the execution of their film. Submissions must show a strong (research-supported) understanding of the topic/s and related, key issues. Submissions must share/highlight solutions to issues within the entrants’ chosen sustainability topic/s.

PRIZES: Winners (one in each grade level category) will receive the following --

  • Screening of their film at the One Earth Film Festival, and possibly at (a) related, subsequent event(s).
  • Posting of their film (for an unspecified amount of time) at the One Earth Film Festival and Green Community Connections website, as well as potentially the websites of the Villages of Oak Park and River Forest, and possibly websites of other befitting (environmental, youth film) organizations. Required entry forms will grant the associated organizations the right to post/share your film submission in the above-described manner.  Winning films will only be shared with other organizations after the completion of the 2013 One Earth Film Festival.
  • Cash prize and matching grant in the following appropriate grade level category. Matching grants will be donated to a non-profit organization or community sustainability project that the winner chooses (pending contest officials’ approval). 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 (water, waste, food, transportation, energy) of the winning film maker’s film.
    • Upper Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5): $75 cash prize + $75 matching grant to non-profit organization/sustainability project of choice.
    • Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8): $75 cash prize + $75 matching grant to non-profit organization/sustainability project of choice.
    • High School (grades 9, 10, 11, 12): $125 cash prize + $125 matching grant to non-profit organization/sustainability project of choice.
    • College (active, enrolled college or university student): $200 cash prize + $200 matching grant to non-profit organization/sustainability project of choice.
    • Recognition on the Green Community Connections and One Earth Film Festival website.
    • Recognition in local press (specific media outlets to be determined).



Contest entries may be by an individual, or by a group of any size (for example -- a group of friends, an afterschool program, an entire class).

Film length. Films by entrants in the 3rd-8th grade level categories may submit a film of no shorter than 3 minutes, and no longer than 8 minutes. Films by entrants in 9th grade through college level may submit a film of no shorter than 5 minutes, and no longer than 8 minutes.


Film format. Please submit your film on DVDs in 2 formats.

1)      Standard DVD (2 DVD copies), playable on a standard DVD player, as well as on Mac or Windows platforms.

2)      Digital file (1 DVD copy),a high quality digital file (.Mov Apple Quicktime Movie, .WMV Windows Media Video, MPEG/MPEG-4, Flash video)

Please test the DVDs before submitting them; if they are unable to be viewed by judges, they will be ineligible for consideration in the contest.

Please label each of the 3 above DVDs with your film name, entrant name, and contact phone number number (phone number for an adult over age 18).

Additionally, the Entrant oath & permission* form must be completed, and hard copies of the pages must be placed in a sealed manila envelope and accompany the film submission.


Download the Entrant Oath and Permission Form (.pdf)


The final deadline for submissions is Friday, January 25th at 5P. Location for dropping off DVD submissions and paperwork is:  807 Forest Avenue, River Forest, IL, 60305 (NE corner of Forest and Chicago Ave.). Please drop your DVDs and required paperwork in a sealed manila envelope into the mail slot. *Note that your submission DVD copies will not be returned to you.


*In submitting a film, and signing the application form, all entrants agree to the terms and conditions of the contest and that Green Community Connections is not liable for any unauthorized or inappropriate sharing of films. Please note that violence, profanity or direct attacks on individuals or organizations will not be accepted.


Judges will check for adherence to submission rules and guidelines (including film length, film formats, etc. as described above). They will seek entries that cover the assigned sustainability topics (water, waste, food, transportation, energy) with an engaging, informative, inspiring, creative execution. Submissions must show a strong (research-supported) understanding of the topic/s and related, key issues. Submissions must share/highlight solutions to issues within the entrants’ chosen sustainability topic/s.

Adult guidance is accepted, but all submissions must be student led, and all hands-on work (e.g., creative idea generation, script writing, filming, etc.) is intended for students. No adult implementation will be allowed (adult technical guidance and some editing help are acceptable). Age-appropriate “errors” are admitted (e.g., unintentional spelling errors for younger students).



Friday, January 25, 2013 at 5P – DVD submissions (in proper file & DVD formats) and accompanying paperwork due

Monday, February 11, 2013 by 5P – Winners notified

Weekend of March 1, 2013 (exact date/time TBD) – Winning films screened during One Earth Film Festival 2013.


Questions? Please contact Katie Morris, or Sue Crothers