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AWARDS &
COMPETITIONS

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS (FWB) supports emerging storytellers from around the world via filmmaking competitions, contests, and other funding initiatives. Prizes and honors are awarded to a variety of narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and new media projects each year.

Overview

Description

  • FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS (FWB) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to empowering the next generation of digital storytellers. FWB filmmaking competitions and contests award prizes to emerging filmmakers from around the world. Completed narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and new media projects are eligible for consideration.

Submission Categories

  • FWB accepts submissions to three distinct categories:
    • Emerging Filmmakers
    • University Students
    • K-12 Students

Goals & Objectives

  • to empower the next generation of digital storytellers
  • to promote diverse communities and cultures
  • to share unique perspectives and stories
  • to support independent voices from around the world

FWB is committed to diversity and equality.

  • FWB provides equal consideration for all qualified applicants. FWB does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, genetic information, military service, or other protected status.

Guidelines

Eligibility:

  • Emerging Filmmakers: Applicants must have been 30 years old or younger at the time of the film’s production.
  • University Students: Applicants must have been enrolled at an accredited university at the time of the film’s production.
  • K-12 Students: Applicants must have been enrolled at a K-12 educational institution at the time of the film’s production.
  • Applicants from any country are encouraged to submit their projects.

Projects should be aligned with the following principles:

Project Requirements

  • Projects must have been initiated a maximum of 24 months prior to the application deadline.
  • Projects must be fully completed by the application deadline.
  • Completed films may be in any language. However, accompanying English subtitles are required.
  • Applications and supporting materials must be produced in English.

Project Categories

Emerging Filmmakers Category

  • Description:
    • Everyone has a story to tell. From Africa to Asia, Europe to the Americas, the digital revolution has democratized the ability to share ideas and ideals. FWB is dedicated to supporting young up-and-coming artists from around the world via the Emerging Filmmakers competition. This category celebrates the work of artists under 30 years of age and emphasizes new approaches to digital storytelling, diversity, and cultural representation.
  • Eligible Projects:
    • Short Films (6-40 minutes): Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Experimental
    • Feature Films (90+ minutes): Narrative, Documentary
    • New Media Projects (Various): Fiction, Non-fiction

University Students Category

  • Description:
    • FWB is committed to honoring the innovative films and new media projects being produced across university campuses around the globe. Whether pursuing a degree in film studies, media production, or an entirely unrelated field, students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to submit their work to the University Students competition. This category showcases unique storytellers operating at the intersection of community, identity, and social justice.
  • Eligible Projects:
    • Short Films (6-40 minutes): Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Experimental
    • Feature Films (90+ minutes): Narrative, Documentary
    • New Media Projects (Various): Fiction, Non-fiction

K-12 Students Category

  • Description:
    • From bustling cities to small rural towns, K-12 schools are embracing media production as a tool for reimagining 21st century education. Educators are integrating cameras and computers into a variety of classrooms and contexts and students are using digital technologies to communicate, collaborate, and develop critical thinking skills. The K-12 Students competition celebrates short film projects addressing themes of science, technology, and global citizenship.
  • Eligible Projects:
    • Short Films (6-40 minutes): Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Experimental
    • New Media Projects (Various): Fiction, Non-fiction

Honors & Awards

FWB awards projects that explore the following themes:

  • community
  • identity
  • social justice
  • women’s voices
  • indigenous voices
  • science & technology

Relevant projects in each category are considered for the following honors:

  • Feature Films:
    • Best Film (Narrative)
    • Best Film (Documentary)
    • Achievement in Directing
    • Achievement in Screenwriting
    • Achievement in Acting
    • Achievement in Editing

  • Short Films:
    • Best Short Film (Drama)
    • Best Short Film (Comedy)
    • Best Short Film (Animation)
    • Best Short Film (Documentary)
    • Best Short Film (Experimental)
    • Achievement in Directing
    • Achievement in Screenwriting

  • New Media Projects:
    • Best Project (Fiction)
    • Best Project (Non-fiction)

Want to teach film in Africa, Asia, or Latin America? Learn More

HOW TO SUBMIT

FWB encourages young, emerging filmmakers from around the world to submit their film projects. The submission process is designed to showcase each respective project’s alignment with FWB’s mission as well as to outline the filmmaker’s goals and motivations. All applicants complete an online application and submit a variety of supporting materials including a video essay. The video essay is an opportunity for applicants to introduce themselves, describe the project, and explain what it means to them.

Submission Process

How to Submit

  1. Register your project with Film Freeway
  2. Submit your project: filmfreeway.com/festival/FWB2017
  3. After initial review, shortlisted projects will then be required to submit supporting materials directly to FWB. Related procedures will be provided to all shortlisted candidates.

Required Information

  • Project Information: Title, Synopsis
  • Submitter Information: Name, Email, Phone, Address, Birthdate, Gender
  • Digital Press Kit: Trailer, Production Photos, Director/Writer Bios
  • Specifications: Credits, Genre, Run Time, Completion Date, Budget, Country, Language, Format, Aspect Ratio

Submission Details

  • Submissions of films/projects and all supporting materials should be submitted entirely online. FWB does not accept dvd discs, blu ray discs, or any other physical media.
  • All submissions must be submitted via Film Freeway. FWB is unable to consider emailed submissions.

Supporting Materials

Supporting Materials

  • Submit a 500-word description of your project
  • Submit an itemized breakdown of participants’ roles and job titles
  • Submit a reference letter from a mentor, community leader, employer, or teacher in support of your specific film project
  • Submit x5 behind-the-scenes photos
  • Submit a 3-5 minute video essay that includes all of the following:
    1. the development/production of your project
    2. why this specific story needed to be told
    3. why you were the best person to tell this story
    4. how your project addresses the theme
    5. explain what you hope your project will mean to others

Dates & Deadlines

Submission Deadlines

  • All online submissions must be received before 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on the date of the submission deadline. Late entries are not accepted.
  • Each category has its own unique submission deadline:
    • Emerging Filmmakers: January 15th
    • University Students: May 15th
    • K-12 Students: May 15th

Timeline

  • Initial submission of film for consideration.
  • Projects reviewed.
  • Shortlist projects selected.
  • Shortlisted candidates notified.
  • Shortlisted projects reviewed.
  • Semi-finalists selected.
  • Semi-finalist candidates notified.
  • Submission of additional supporting materials.
  • Semi-finalist projects and supporting materials forwarded to the relevant jury/committee.
  • Semi-finalist projects reviewed.
  • Finalists selected.
  • Finalist candidates notified.
  • Finalist projects reviewed.
  • Winners selected and announced on the following dates:
    • Emerging Filmmakers: March 15th
    • University Students: July 15th
    • K-12 Students: July 15th

Fund your next project with an FWB filmmaking grant Learn more

FAQs

General Questions

What are FWB Awards?
  • FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS (FWB) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to empowering the next generation of digital storytellers. FWB filmmaking competitions and contests award prizes to emerging filmmakers from around the world. Completed narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and new media projects are eligible for consideration.
What types of projects are eligible for consideration?
  • Short Film Projects (6-40 minutes)
    • Narrative
    • Documentary
    • Animation
    • Experimental
  • Feature Film Projects (90+ minutes)
    • Narrative
    • Documentary
  • New Media Projects (various)
    • Fiction
    • Non-fiction

Application Process

Who should submit?
  • FWB encourages emerging filmmakers and students from any country to apply.
When are the submission deadlines?
  • There are three submission cycles throughout each year. Applicants may find more detailed information above.
I’m not from the U.S., can I still submit?
  • Yes, FWB accepts film submissions from citizens of any country.
I missed the submission deadline, can I still submit?
  • Applicants who are unable to submit their projects and supporting materials by a particular deadline may be considered during the next awards cycle.
When will I be notified?
  • Upon successful submission of 1. the online application and 2. all supporting materials, the candidate’s application will then be forwarded to the relevant panel/jury for review. 
  • Winners are announced on the following dates:
    • Emerging Filmmakers: March 15th
    • University Students: June 15th
    • K-12 Students: June 15th
Can I submit to more than one category?
  • Yes, applicants are welcome to have their project considered for more than one category. However, you will need to submit a separate application for each each category.