Directing Change

Submission Deadline:
March 1, 2019

Contest Rules

 

2019 Program and Contest Rules

To enter the contest you must agree to these official rules. Submission of an entry constitutes an agreement to these rules. We made some changes to the entry process this year, so if you submitted in previous years, please review them carefully! And don’t forget to read the FAQ and Entry Process sections.

Eligibility – This is a student and young adult film contest; only student and youth or young adult produced films are eligible. To participate one of the following must apply to you:

NEW: To enter as a Middle School Student you must be associated with a middle school located in California. Any middle school in California is eligible, including but not limited to: public, private, charter, alternative, and home schools. Student films must be reviewed and approved by an adult advisor at the student’s school (such as but not limited to: the principal, a teacher, or a counselor) for content that is suitable for schools and a general public viewing audience. Students can, but do not have to, produce the movie as part of a school or after school activity. Students can submit as a team from different schools, but since the school is eligible to qualify for a cash prize and to receive prevention programs, the team needs to identify one adult advisor from one of their schools. This is the school that will go on record and receive prizes and recognitions should the film win.

  • Important Note:  Students submitting as a middle school student can only submit in the Walk in Our Shoes Category.
  • If you decide to enter as a middle school student, you will compete against all other submissions in the middle school “Walk in Our Shoes” category.  There is only one round of judging.
  • If you are an organization (not a school) that works with middle-school aged youth contact us to discuss how you can participate.
  • This submission group and associated submission category (Walk in Our Shoes) and lesson plans are recommended for grades 7 and up.  However, submissions will be accepted from 6th grade students as well.  Teachers and parents, please review the submission guidelines and educational resources to determine if the subject matter is appropriate for your students.

NEW: To enter as a High School Student or Youth and Young Adult ages 14-25 you must meet one of these two requirements and you MUST NOT be a middle school student.

  1. Be associated with a high school located in California and be in grades 9-12. Any high school in California is eligible, including but not limited to: public, private, charter, alternative, and home schools  OR
  2. Be between the ages of 14 and 25 and associated with a college, university, club, community-based organization (e.g. a local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the National Alliance on Mental Illness), or other agency or program in California. If you are 14 and in middle school you have to submit as a middle school student.
  • If you decide to enter as a high school student/youth and young adult, you will compete against other film teams in your region. Regional winners then move onto a second round of judging to compete against other regional winners.
  • If you are entering in this submission group you can submit in the following film categories: Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Matters, Through the Lens of Culture, SanaMente, and Animated Short.

Films must be reviewed and approved by an adult advisor at the participant’s school or organization for content that is suitable for schools and a general public viewing audience. Youth can, but do not have to, produce the movie as part of a school or after school activity.  Youth can submit as a team from different schools, but since the school or organization is eligible to qualify for a cash prize and to receive prevention programs, the team needs to identify one adult advisor from the lead school or organization.  This is the school or organization that will go on record and receive prizes and recognitions should the film win.

Up to 10 students or youth may be listed on the entry form, however there is no limit on the number of people who can be on a film team. Only one trophy will be given per winning team.  There is no limit on the number of submissions one person can be part of and no limitation on the number of submissions from a single school or organization.

A film can only be entered into one category.

Notice of Intent to Direct – Submit the Intent to Direct Form to let us know that you are planning to submit a film and in which category. Submitting the form does not obligate you to submit an entry, just as not submitting the form does not disqualify entries, but it helps us with the planning process. In the form we will ask you to include:

  • Name of lead participant
  • Name of adult advisor
  • Name of school or organization
  • Name of county in which your school or the organization you are partnering with is located

Only one Intent to Direct Form  per team please!

Submission Categories – There are six submission categories.

  • Suicide Prevention (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that educates young people about the warning signs for suicide and how to offer support to a friend.
  • Animated Short (30-second PSA):  This category asks for a 30-second, animated film about suicide prevention.
  • Mental Health Matters (60-second PSA):  This category asks for a 60-second film that encourages young people to get help and support friends with mental health challenges.
  • SanaMente (30-second PSA):  This category asks for a 30-second film in Spanish (with English captioning) that promotes mental health and encourages people to visit the www.SanaMente.org website.
  • Walk In Our Shoes (60-second PSA): This category is new for 2019 and asks for a 60-second film that encourages the viewer to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and learn more about mental health or suicide prevention. This category is only open to middle school students.
  • Through the Lens of Culture (60-second PSA): This category still requires participants to choose mental health or suicide prevention as a focus, with additional requirements including adding captioning and exploring these topics through the lens of different cultures.

Submission Deadline – (Midnight PST Friday, March 1, 2019) –An entry form for every film submission must be received by the deadline. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form. Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements.  The entry can be saved for up to 30 days at a time.

Trouble shooting tips:

  • Try a different browser (e.g. if you are using Google Chrome, try Internet Explorer)
  • Try uploading the film from a different computer (e.g. instead of your school’s computer, try your home computer.)
  • Contact us– we have never disqualified a film as a result of technical problems!

Important new requirement: You are no longer required to upload release forms to your entry form before you can submit your film. However, the advisor should keep a release form on file for every person that worked on the film (crew), is heard in the film or is acting in the film (cast). Filmmaking requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Youth filmmakers and participants are honor-bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures, including parent/guardian signatures if they are under the age of 18, and accept the liabilities for copyright violations. If Directing Change staff ask for release forms and they cannot be provided, the film may be disqualified.

Music and Copyrights – Entries must meet all copyright standards by obtaining releases for all copyrighted music and materials prior to submission. Entries that include copyrighted materials (such as images, supers or audiovisual materials) or music (such as music purchased from iTunes, on CD or other downloadable services) without the proper permission and signed release forms will be disqualified. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and to download the appropriate forms.  It is best to provide original music!  (When obtaining permission, you are not just seeking to use permission for submission into the contest, but for all mediums that the film will be used in including online and broadcast.

NEW: Please try to avoid use of brands when creating your film. This can include: logos on shirts, brands on the backs of laptops, store signs in the background of outdoor shots, etc. While it may not be possible to keep all brands out of view, there are easy ways to avoid them from being a focal point in your film. For example, dress your actors in clothing without recognizable brands, cover up laptop brands with a sticker or sticky note, or frame your shots so that recognizable stores are not highlighted. While using a brand will not disqualify your film, it may limit the use of your film in television or movie theaters, due to brand copyright laws. We recommend avoiding the hassle and making smart, brand-free choices during the creation of your film so it will not affect its accessibility at a later time!

Release Forms – As a result of all the feedback we received, we have simplified the release form requirements.  Every person involved in the creation of the film (this includes all cast and crew) must agree to the terms and conditions listed in the entry form and must sign a release form. Anyone under the age of 18 also needs to have the form signed by their parent or a legal guardian. However, the release forms no longer have to be uploaded as part of the entry form.

The release form is now available as one page, and includes release of intellectual rights, and image and voice rights. Please review the forms and copyrights page for more information and other requirements. All applicable release forms need to be kept on file by the adult advisor. The Directing Change team will request release forms from the winning film teams and any other films that we anticipate may be used to support local awareness efforts, therefore it is important to keep all forms on file. If release forms cannot be provided upon request, the film may be disqualified.

Submission Format – Entries must be either 30-seconds or 60-seconds in length, depending on the submission category. Vimeo is our video services partner and all technical specifications need to be in line with their requirements. You will be asked to upload your film as part of the entry form. By uploading your film to Vimeo you will automatically agree to their terms and conditions. Vimeo recommends that when preparing your video for upload, it’s best to maintain the video’s native frame rate when compressing your video. If your footage exceeds 60 FPS, they will automatically reduce the frame rate. Vimeo recommends a constant frame rate throughout your entire video. Always choose “constant” frame rate instead of “variable” frame rate. A codec is the format in which your video is encoded. Vimeo accept most major codecs, but for best results they recommend H.264 or Apple ProRes 422.

Submission Language – Films in languages other than English are encouraged and will be accepted as long as they have English captioning. They should be submitted in the Through the Lens of Culture category or SanaMente category.

Judging Process & Prizes (High School Students and Youth or Young Adults) – All films will be pre-screened by the Directing Change Team.  The best films from every region will move on to a panel of regional judges, who will select the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category (mental health, suicide prevention) from five regions within the state of California. (If less than 15 entries are received from any given region it might be combined with another region at the discretion of the contest organizers). To see which region your school falls into, click here.

Regional Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools associated with the first place winning film in each category, in each region, are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place regional film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Schools and organizations associated with the first place regional film in each category will receive a trophy.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

The first place winning film from each region, in each category will move on to a a second, statewide round of judging.  A new judging panel will review and score the films and determine the first, second and third place statewide winners. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony at the end of the school year.  In addition, the Directing Change team will select up to 5 films in each category to move onto the statewide round of judging.

Judging Process & Prizes (Middle School Students) – 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be selected for the Walk In Our Shoes category by a judging panel.  There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website

Judging Process & Prizes (Through the Lens of Culture) – 1st, 2nd  and 3rd place winners will be selected in each category (mental health, suicide prevention) by a judging panel. There is only one round of judging.

Prizes in each category:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film in each category are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school or organization (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).  A short narrative outlining planned activities will be required.
  • At the discretion of the contest organizers, the two categories may be combined into one larger category; prizes will then be based on the combined category and awarded accordingly.
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

Judging Process & Prizes (SanaMente 30-second Mental Health PSA) – 1st  to 3rd place winners will be selected by a SanaMente judging panel.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $500
  • 2nd place: $250
  • 3rd place: $250
  • Schools, organizations, clubs and programs associated with the first place winning film are eligible to receive a SanaMente mini grant to support mental health and suicide prevention awareness activities. A short narrative and application will be required.
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.

Judging Process & Prizes (Animated Short – 30-second Suicide Prevention PSA) – 1st  to 5th place winners will be selected by a special judging panel.

Prizes:

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $500
  • 4th place: $250
  • 5th place: $250
  • Up to two participants from the first place film team will be provided with travel stipends to attend the award ceremony (subject to availability of funding).
  • Winning films will be featured on the Directing Change compilation DVD and the program website.
  • Films will be integrated into the statewide suicide prevention awareness social marketing campaign and possibly shown on TV, online and in movie theaters.

Submission Requirements – All films need to meet certain submission requirements. These vary by category. Please review the requirements for each category. Requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Required logos and resources (now available as one end slate that can be added at the end of the film)
  • Every film has to begin with a beginning title slide (not counted in the 60-second or 30-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, Filmmakers Name(s), School/Organization Name, County in which School or Organization is located, Adult Advisor Name, Submission Category. A title slide template is available for download but youth are welcome to create their own.

Safety – Youth and young adult producers: please avoid potentially dangerous production situations that could put crew, actors or the public at risk. Safety during the project is of highest priority. Directing Change staff and sponsors take no responsibility and assume no liability for any acts or damages that may result from preparing the materials to submit to this contest. Further, all of the submission categories are sensitive subjects that need to be addressed with respect and understanding for how they might impact those involved in the project. If at any time, you or someone working on the project experiences an emotional crisis let an adult know immediately or call the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free 24-hour hotline.

Elimination – Providing false information, not meeting the submission deadline, not obtaining the proper release forms and copyright permissions or any other violation of the contest rules can lead to the elimination of an entry. The Directing Change Team reserves the right to disqualify any entry that they believe at their sole discretion to  violate safe messaging, to violate the rights of any third party or that violates U.S. or applicable state or local law. Further, the advisor can refuse to submit an entry that is not suitable for schools and a general public viewing audience. All categories have special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided and can lead to disqualification. Entries should not be uploaded to Vimeo, YouTube or any other video service sites accessible to the public (other than the official contest website as part of the entry form) until after winners have been announced on the website. See “Submission to Other Film Festivals” below as an exception. The Directing Change Team reserves the right to suggest entries be revised if they contain disqualifying content or other content not consistent with the official contest judging form or if the entry promotes incorrect data and statistics. If the revised entry is not submitted by the deadline or deadline identified by the Directing Change Team, and the original entry contains disqualifying content, the film will be disqualified.

Submission to Other Film Festivals – Entries submitted must be original work created by the individuals listed on the entry form. Entries can be submitted to other film festivals after the submission deadline. For a list of film festivals, visit the For Youth page. Special note to students in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties. Directing Change is partnering with the SlickRock Film Festival. We strongly encourage you to also submit to this festival if your entry is in the suicide prevention category. The entry description and judging guidelines for both contests are aligned.

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
The contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California's Mental Health Movement and statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The program is implemented by Your Social Marketer, Inc.
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