Trinity Film Festival

Trinity Film Festival (TFF) is an international undergraduate film competition held annually on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Every year, some of the most talented student filmmakers in the country and around the globe submit short films for the chance to screen on our historic big screen. This year will be a hybrid virtual experience, and you are invited to apply. Students from Middlebury College have won awards at Trinity Film Festival in the past!

Trinity Film Festival is accepting submissions at Films of any genre are eligible as long as they are under 10 minutes in length. Each year, winning films are eligible for cash prizes. The deadline has been extended to April 20th. 

Film Festivals Available to Undergraduate Students

This past summer I had the pleasure of working for the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival here in Middlebury. In talking to my coworkers I learned about the festival industry and was quite surprised by how much there was that I did not know. I thought of festivals as these extraordinarily elite institutions that I could only ever get into if I had a film with an absurdly high budget. However the truth is that there are film festivals out there for films made on every budget and some specifically geared towards first time filmmakers as well as students. Having been in the film department for four years now, I can confidently say that I have seen dozens of festival-worthy student films that were never submitted anywhere. Winning entry into these festivals won’t win you a chance at stardom or suddenly lay out a path towards lucrative careers in production, but it will allow you to get your work out there. So with that in mind here are a few highly regarded film festivals with cheap entry fees and an eye for young talent.

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival

No this is not sponsored content. Like I said above, I did work here this past summer, but the festival is genuinely accessible for Middlebury students. The festival coordinators have a close connection with the college and appreciate the talent that the FMMC department can produce. In fact this past year, Matteo Moretti ’21, won an award for his senior thesis Just Being Here. The festival focuses exclusively on first and second time filmmakers, so you can be assured that you will feel at home. Short submissions sent in before the regular deadline cost $35. The festival also almost always takes place the weekend before move-in at the college, so your chances of being able to attend are quite high.

Trinity Film Festival

Hosted by our fellow NESCAC, Trinity College, Trinity Film Festival is a showcase made exclusively for undergraduates and graduates. The festival is going into its 11th year and has received glowing reviews from young filmmakers. The application fee is not easily available since the fest has not begun to accept its next round of applicants, but considering they exclusively accept college students, I cannot imagine it is ludicrously high.

Reality Bytes

Reality Bytes is an independent student film festival sponsored by Northern Illinois University’s Department of Communication. The festival offers cash prizes with each major reward and has an entrance fee of only $25. Your entry must be under 30 minutes in length and have been made in the past year.

Ivy Film Festival

The Ivy Film Festival is going into its 21st year, making it the oldest entirely student run film festival. The festival also uses Brown’s connections to draw star-studded speakers as well as industry professionals. Winners are provided accommodations on Brown’s campus, making attending the festival pretty feasible. Entry fees are as low as $10 if done before the early bird deadline.

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Now this one is a little more prestigious. Rhode Island International Film Festival is an Oscar Qualifying, BAFTA Qualifying, and Canadian Screen Award Qualifying Festival. You might think this is a little too extravagant for your, but the festival actually has a student submission process and student pricing ($40). That’s not to say that this is an easy festival to get into, but they are actively on the hunt for student talent. As someone who grew up in the Rhode Island area, I can also tell you that the event is extremely well attended. Even if you open in an early morning slot you will likely still have a sizable crowd.

There are dozens of other festivals I debated putting on this list, but I believe this is a good starting place. I tried my best to limit the range geographically to what is close to Middlebury, but there are tons of other festivals closer to where you may live. All of the festivals listed above and the vast majority of professional festivals use FilmFreeway, a free submission that allows you to search for and submit to a variety of festivals. Have a look and use the advanced search preference to see what festivals meet your criteria. Festivals provide an avenue for young filmmakers to gain recognition for the hard work they’ve put in, earn money towards their next films, and make meaningful connections in the industry that can help their careers later. It’s not a path often talked about amongst film majors here, but it is absolutely one worth exploring.

Bluecat Screenplay Competition

The BlueCat Screenplay Competition, now in its 23rd year, is accepting submissions for its 2021 competition. BlueCat remains committed to the undiscovered writer and continues its tradition of providing written analysis on every script submitted. The Late Deadline is Sunday, December 13, 2020. All feature, pilot and short scripts submitted by December 13, 2020 will receive a written analysis and will be eligible for resubmission. All scripts submitted (Features, Pilots and Shorts) are eligible to win the Grand Prize of $5,000.

Emerging Pro Still and Motion Competition

Q: How do I enter?
A: On the competition portal nav bar, click “Enter Contest” to go to the entry page. Then click “Enter Stills” to enter still photographs or “Enter Motion” to submit a motion short. You will need to be logged in to your Digital Photo Pro account or your HD Video Pro account to enter. If you do not have an account, click here to register for your free account.

Q: How many photos or motion shorts can I enter?
A: For this contest, we allow two (2) photo submissions (each up to five photos each) and two (2) motion shorts submissions for a total of four (4) entries per person.

Q: When is the entry deadline?
A: All entries must be received by August 15, 2013.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for this competition?
A: The Emerging Pro Still And Motion Competition is open to students who are currently enrolled at an accredited college or university and enrolled in a photography or filmmaking course, or to professional photographers or filmmakers with up to five years of professional experience. See Official Rules for complete details.

Q: I am not a resident of the United States. Can I enter this competition?
A: Unfortunately, this competition is only open to U.S. residents age 18 or older.

Q: What if I do not meet the eligibility requirements for this competition or do not otherwise qualify to enter?
A: We have various other photo contests across our sites that are open to all U.S. residents. Sign up for the DPP eNewsletter and the HDVP eNewsletter to stay updated on all the latest photo contests.

Q: I have lots of really good photos and motion shorts. Can I enter more than 2 photo submissions and more than 2 motion shorts?
A: No. Please limit submissions to 2 photo submissions and/or 2 motion shorts. Failure to follow the rules will disqualify you from the contest.

Q: Do I have to print or mail in my submissions on disc?
A: No. Please upload entries using the online entry form. Mailed submissions will not be accepted.

Q: Can I process my photos and motions shorts using Photoshop, Premiere or other software?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the prizes?
A: The First Prize Package includes:

Four Zeiss CP.2 lenses and transport case
Publication in the December 2013 issues of Digital Photo Pro and HD Video Pro magazines
Publication in the Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro and HD Video Pro online galleries

Ten (10) Finalists will receive:

A one (1) year membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud
Publication in the December 2013 issues of Digital Photo Pro and HD Video Pro magazines
Publication in the Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro and HD Video Pro online galleries

One People’s Choice Winner from each category will receive

Online publication of the winning photo or motion short in the Winners Gallery

Q: When will the finalists/winners be notified?
A: Potential finalists will be notified on or about August 22, 2013.

Q: When will the winners be announced?
A: The First Prize winner and finalists will be announced in late September 2013 and published in the December 2013 issues of Digital Photo Pro and HD Video Pro magazines.

Q: Can I pass the word on this competition to my friends, classmates, Facebook/Twitter followers, etc.?
A: Yes, please! The link to the competition portal is and

Q: I am an educational professional and would like promotional materials to distribute to my students. From whom can I request more information?
A: Please send an e-mail to and one of our marketing staff will get in touch with you right away.

Q: Not all of the photos and/or motion shorts I submitted are appearing in the gallery. Is there a reason why?
A: To avoid upload errors we recommend using alphanumeric characters to title your images. Please do not use apostrophes, ampersands or any other character symbol, as doing so may cause errors during uploading.

Additionally, each person’s submissions are subject to the approval of our editors. Photos and motion shorts may be removed due to objectionable content for other reasons at the sole discretion of our editors.

Q: When can I vote for the People’s Choice Awards?
A: The voting period for the People’s Choice Awards is August 21, 2013, through September 21, 2013.

Q: How do I vote during the People’s Choice Award Voting Period?
Step 1: Log in to your DPP or HDVP account or, if you don’t yet have an account, register for free.
Step 2: Check out the Finalists Gallery to see which images and/or motion shorts are eligible for your vote. The Finalists Gallery will be available online starting August 21, 2013.
Step 3: Vote! Simply click on any photo or motion short and rate it using the 5-star scale. Vote for as many as you’d like!

Q: When I try to enter online, I get an error message. What’s going on?
A: Double-check that the sizes of your images meet our upload requirements (for photos)or that the Vimeo link or video ID is correct (for motion shorts).

Often, if your first attempt at entering online isn’t successful, our system won’t let you enter again—it’s a way to prevent duplicate submissions. Try clearing your browser’s cache, cookies and even restarting your computer, and then go to the online entry page again.

Q: I’ve tried clearing my cache and cookies, and I even bought a new computer. The online entry form just isn’t working for me.
A: If all else fails, send us an e-mail at and in your e-mail, please indicate:

The name of the contest
Your username
The image ID # (if applicable)
The exact nature of your problem

Support your peers and faculty at VTIFF

The Film and Media Culture Department is proud to announce that two of our students and one faculty member will be screening films at the Vermont International Film Festival this weekend.

How The Cold Creeps by Brad Becker-Parton will be screening on Saturday, October 22nd at 8:30pm.

3rd of Life by Daniel Houghton will also be screening on Saturday, October 22nd at 8:30pm.

The Gun Show by Andrew Ackerman will be screening on Sunday, October 23rd at 7:00pm. Continue reading

Vermont International Film Festival – Sleepless in Burlington Student Film Competition

The Middlebury Film and Media Culture Department is putting together a team of students to compete in the “Sleepless in Burlington” 24 hour filmmaking competition as part of the Vermont International Film Festival.  We are looking for students that can fill multiple roles associated with the pre-production, production, and post-production process and we would like to invite you all to seek one of the five available team positions.

I am the official team advisor, but Chris Keathley and Daniel Houghton will help me build a team that can collaborate together for a couple of days without sleep to produce a spectacular video.  We are looking for students that are interested, available, and able in that order of importance. Continue reading

Green Living Project

Are you an Environmental Studies/Film and Media Culture double major?  Do you have a lot of free time?  Now that I have ruled out 99.9% of the students here at Middlebury I’d like to present an opportunity for a student film competition anyway.

The Green Living Project is hosting a Student Film Project that you should consider submitting work to.  For more information go to their website, but I’ve outlined the most important parts below because of that free time thing.

*It is free to enter (most of these contests, like college applications, are trying to steal away your parent’s hard earned money)

*It should be sustainability-related (think community development, renewable energy, sustainable travel and tourism, sustainable food, resource conservation, etc)

*It should be less than 5 minutes long

*It needs to be submitted by November 15th, 2011

If you do decide to enter please embed your finished video in the comments of this post.  If you need help doing so don’t hesitate to ask.