New Digital Shorts Competition and Youth Award

Submissions for the DCEFF25 Digital Shorts Competition and Youth Award are now closed. Please check back in mid-February to find out the winning film and finalists.


The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) turns 25 this year and is launching a competition for digital short films via social media.

Funded by a Who’s a Washingtonian? grant from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, in partnership with DC’s Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment, the new, online film competition aims to activate and inspire the next generation of environmental innovators, impact storytellers and global leaders using the power of film.

DCEFF announces an open call for films, from Nov. 14 through Jan. 27, in partnership with other local arts and educational organizations. Films eligible for the competition must be 60 seconds or less in length and explore city life, identity and the environment. During the submission process, interested young filmmakers will have an opportunity to participate in a master class media workshop, presented by DCEFF’s Executive Director Maryanne Culpepper, formerly President of National Geographic Studios. The workshop, which will take place in mid-December, will provide participants with expert knowledge and guidance, in addition to hands-on experience with storytelling and production using smartphones, tablets and other accessible technologies. 

The winner will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize. He/she will also have a chance to present the winning film at DCEFF’s annual youth screening, which hosts approximately 1500 public and charter school students each year, as well as during the 2017 Environmental Film Festival, March 14-26, which boasts an annual attendance of over 27,000.



Deadline: Friday, Jan. 27, 11:59 pm

About the Film Award

The objective of the Environmental Film Festival’s new digital shorts competition and film award is to:

  • Provide thoughtful and practical experience for young media consumers to consider careers as storytellers and makers
  • Bridge the opportunity gap in filmmaking for prospective female filmmakers and filmmakers of color
  • Inspire interest in environmental stewardship
  • Encourage online and offline engagement around environmental issues
  • Promote cultural inclusiveness and community-driven narratives
  • Expand the Festival’s local audience and online community 

Submission Details

  • Eligibility Requirements: Must be a DC resident, between the ages of 12-18.
  • Films may be of any genre and can address environmental topics either directly or interpretively.
  • Use of original footage and/or music, photo stills, poetry, animation and other creative filmmaking techniques is permitted.
  • Submissions will only be accepted via social media. Applicants will need to like/follow @dcenvirofilm on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram and use the hashtag #DCEFF25 to have their film considered.
  • Community votes (likes) will help determine the finalists for the competition.
  • Finalists will be selected by Festival staff and a panel of judges will determine the winner.
  • Applicants are encouraged to keep these underlying questions in mind:
    • What’s it like living in DC?
    • What “environmental” factors affect your daily life?
    • How do you define your environment (natural or built; local or global)?
    • How does your environment influence/affect you?



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