Call for Entries

We are happy to announce that from now through February 2, submissions are open for the second White House Student Film Festival. The theme of this year’s festival is The Impact of Giving Back, and it’s open to U.S. students, grades K-12. So tell a story about paying it forward, about community service, or what making a difference looks like in your eyes and through your lens. It can be a fictional story or a short documentary, so break out the lights, write a script, get the camera ready, and show us your passion for service and giving back. We can't wait to see what you will make this year! For inspiration, take a look at the official selections from last year's White House Student Film Festival, when the theme was the power of technology in education.

Films can be short – in fact, they must be 3 minutes tops. The official selections will be featured on the White House website, and shared across the world on White House sites and official social media accounts. If selected, you may have a chance to attend the film fest yourself at the White House.

Submission Guidelines:

  • All films must be shorter than 3 minutes.
  • All films must be made by students in grades K-12.
  • No film may use copyrighted material including music, TV shows, or movies.
  • All films must be uploaded to YouTube
  • All film submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 2, 2015.

The President Has an Assignment for You

Every day in classrooms and communities throughout our country, young people are making an impact in the lives of others through service and giving back. Volunteering takes so many different forms in our country and is one of the most important experiences that you can have. Service to others and giving back can offer purpose and perspective. You may find that making a difference in your community or in someone else’s life is an experience that can make a difference in your own life. President Obama has said that service gave him a compass, a center, and a sense of direction of how he wanted to live his own life.

We’re looking for videos that highlight the impact of service and giving back.

Here are some ideas to consider as you decide on a topic for your film:

  • Volunteering and community service
  • Mentoring or having a mentor
  • Accessing higher education
  • The future of service
  • Combating inequality
  • Citizenship
  • Access to education
  • The pursuit of happiness
  • Social justice
  • Unmet community needs

Consider showing the following in your film:

  • The power of compassion
  • How service has shaped our country
  • Stories from unexpected perspectives
  • The goals of the My Brother's Keeper Initiative
  • Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn
  • Graduating from high school ready for college and a career
  • Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances

Submit an Entry


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the White House Student Film Festival:

Q: Are groups of filmmakers allowed?
A: Yes! Groups of filmmakers of any size are allowed to submit, but please submit the film only once on behalf of the entire group.

Q: Who can submit?
A: The person submitting the film must be at least 18, so that can be a high school student of that age, a parent, teacher, or guardian.

Q: Did you receive my entry?
A: You will not receive a confirmation email when we receive your entry, but if you clicked submit and entered the YouTube link correctly – we got it!

Q: When is the event?
A: The 2015 White House Student Film Festival will be in early spring of 2015.

Q: When will I hear if my film will be a selection or an honorable mention?
A: Submissions close on February 2, 2015. We will notify official selections starting a few weeks later, in mid-February.


Need help?
Contact us with questions or comments.

Last Year's Official Selections

We chose 16 Official Selections to screen here at the White House. They're not just really impressive films – together, they tell the story of exactly why it's so important that we make sure more classrooms have the kind of cutting-edge technology they promote.


Student Film Festival Official Rules



By entering the “White House Student Film Festival” (“Competition”), entrants accept and agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Any violation of these rules may, at Sponsor’s discretion, result in disqualification. All decisions of the judges regarding this Competition are final and binding in all respects. (The White House is referred to in these rules as the “Sponsor.”)

1. COMPETITION PERIOD. Competition begins November 6, 2014 and ends 11:59 p.m. EDT February 2, 2015 (“COMPETITION PERIOD”). Online entries must be received by the end of the Competition Period.

2. ELIGIBILITY. The Competition is only open to students enrolled in grades K-12 in the United States and U.S. territories who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry and the parent or legal guardian of a student below the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence.

3. HOW TO ENTER. In order to enter this Competition, entrants must upload their video onto YouTube. Entrants must read and agree to all rules and regulations, submit the online entry form online, and submit a link to their video on the White House website.

Entries must address the following theme:
(1.) The Impact of Service and Giving Back.

The entry must:
(a.) include the title of an original video,
(b.) the filmmaker’s name,
(c.) have been created on or after October 29, 2014,
(d.) be three (3) minutes or less in length, including opening and/or closing credits,
(e.) only use authorized content, including, without limitation, music, images, film clips, and other intellectual property,
(f.) only contain images or likenesses of any individuals who have provided their authorization or whose parents or guardians have provided authorization if such individuals are under the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence,
(g.) be appropriate for viewing by the general public (appropriateness will be determined by the White House in its sole discretion),
(h.) be originally authored or the entrant must have written permission to use copyright protected material. All text, images, videos, and other content and materials submitted by entrants, including without limitation, the items described in subsections (a) – (h) above, shall be referred to hereafter as the “Submission.”

Entrant represents and warrants that Submission is the original work of entrant, it has not been copied from others, and it does not violate the rights of any other person or entity. Entrant further represents and warrants that Submission adheres to the fundamental spirit of the Competition and does not contain any defamatory, obscene, or otherwise unlawful matter.

If selected as potential finalists, entrants shall be required to complete a release confirming the consent, release, and grant of rights set forth in Section 6, and provide such information as may be required for with the White House to conduct a background check. The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entry at its sole discretion.

4. FINALIST SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION. There will be two rounds of judging. A panel of judges consisting of White House staff will conduct the preliminary and final review and select films that will be presented at the Film Festival at the White House. In the preliminary and final rounds, judges will review and score the Submissions according to the following criteria:
(1.) Creativity in expression of the theme,
(2.) Originality of the Submission, and
(3.) Technical quality of the final video product.

Second-round contestants will be notified via email. If any such entrant: (i) cannot be contacted; (ii) does not respond within five (5) days from the date the Sponsor first tries to notify her/him; (iii) fails to return all releases and other requested documents; such entrant forfeits and an alternate will be selected. The White House in its sole discretion will select finalists for exhibition at the White House Student Film Festival.

5. PRIZE DESCRIPTION. Finalists will have their short films shown at the White House. Finalists have an opportunity to be invited to attend the screening at the White House. Finalist videos may also be featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, Vimeo, and other social media pages. Finalists will be presented with a certificate celebrating their achievement.

6. OWNERSHIP AND LICENSE. Ownership in any Submission shall remain the property of the entrant, but entry into this Competition constitutes entrant’s irrevocable and perpetual permission and consent, without compensation, with or without attribution, that the Sponsor may use, reproduce, print, publish, transmit, distribute, sell, perform, adapt, enhance, or display such Submission, and the entrant’s name and/or likeness, for any purpose, including any and all media now in existence or hereinafter created, throughout the world, for the duration or the copyright in the Submission. Sponsor and/or others authorized by the Sponsor shall have the right to edit, adapt, and modify the Submission.

7. PARTICIPATING ENTITIES. This Competition is administered by The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20502.



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