Youth Film Contest Prize UPDATE!

In case you missed our last newsletters, we’ve launched the 2017
Learn more at:


Contest Deadline: March 26, 2017!

CONTACT US to schedule a Filmmaking Workshop @ your School & for Mentoring Help with your Movie!

New Prizes! New Sponsors!

We’d like to thank:

We also want to thank Matt Bucy & Liora Alschuler for sponsoring other awards! Finally, we’d like to express our deep appreciation to our New Contest Sponsors!

Remember to Apply for the
$3500 VT Work-In-Progress Filmmaking Award!
Deadline: February 15, 2017.

Contest Updates!

So you want to make a movie?







We are delighted to announce that Gary Miller, a writer, filmmaker and educational consultant has written a great introductory guide to Filmmaking, which we have uploaded to the Freedom & Unity website @

Our Filmmaking 101 guide include tips for choosing ideas, planning your film, writing a script and storyboard, shooting, editing and exporting. It also has links to where you can find free and inexpensive production and editing equipment as well as other suggestions of many kinds! We hope you find it helpful.

Keep in mind that our CONTEST SUBMISSION DEADLINE is March 26, 2017!


The Freedom and Unity TV Youth Film Contest has funding to provide one-on-one mentorship to students working on film submissions as well as to send filmmakers to classrooms across the state to get kids excited about film. Please contact us to set this up at your school!

NEW $3500 VT

Vermont filmmakers working on a film (in any genre or length) that was shot in Vermont, and/or includes a Vermont theme, who are NOT currently enrolled in an educational institution, are eligible to apply. The application deadline is February 15, 2017.
To learn more, please visit:

Prizes for the contest!

What are the Prizes? 


Not this Statuette That’s to get your attention But we do offer many cash awards

Professional filmmakers judge the competition and if they select your film, you’ll win not only bragging rights but one of the prizes listed below!
We offer CASH AWARDS to 3 different age groups:
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • College and Adult

In every age group, we offer prizes for 3 different categories:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Vermont History & Contemporary Issues
  • Personal Stories

In each category, we offer a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. The amounts are listed below:

High School, College and Young Adult Prize Amounts:

  • 1st Prize: $500
  • 2nd Prize: $250
  • 3rd Prize: $100

Middle School Prize Amounts:

  • 1st Prize: $250
  • 2nd Prize: $100
  • 3rd Prize: $500

We also give special prizes, like the Jamie Kanzler Experimental Film Award and the Vermont Folklife Center Ethnography Award.

In total, we offer over 30 prizes and give away more than $5000!

In addition to cash prizes, we also love showing your movies. The Premiere Screening of all award winning films will be on MAY 6 and 7, 2017 at the BRIGG’S OPERA HOUSE in WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VERMONT.

Award winning films also screen at film festivals across the state, on public access stations and on Vermont Public Television!

But the best prize of all may be just finishing your movieIt’s an amazing feeling to tell a story on film!

WATCH last year’s WINNING FILMS @ Winners!

Filmmaking Workshops

At the Premiere Screening, we’re excited to offer Workshops! We’ve listed ideas below but
Story Creation: Writer/filmmaker Gary Lee Miller uses examples from successful films to show how to keep viewers interested with rock solid story structure, sizzling dialogue and dramatic tension.

Decoding Film Language: Director Signe Taylor shows how filmmakers use “Film Language” to create stories. Learn how dolly shots, close-ups, POVs, sound effects, background music and more are part of the secret code of telling effective stories on film.

Ethnography: Vermont Folklife Center instructors will teach participants about this research methodology, which aims to understand experience from the perspective of the person to whom that experience belongs, and will show how to use ethnography as an ethical and effective tool for documentary media making.

Interviewing: Led by a Vermont Folklife Center teacher, participants will explore basic ethnographic interviewing concepts in a conversational setting, and observe and learn from a demonstration interview.

Camera Techniques: DP/Filmmaker Nora Jacobson offers this practical workshop to help you shoot video in a way that excites and entices the viewer. She’ll cover handheld camera work, tripod use, practical lighting tips, how to get good sound. Bring your camera or phone!

Documentary Video Production: An overview of four basic phases of producing a documentary — focusing less on technical training and instead looking at the process as a whole.

Minimal Resource Filmmaking: Learn how to tell compelling stories with materials and tools at your fingertips. Get familiar with how to make a movie using your phone, tablets, iPods and free audio and video editing software.

Working on a Vermont movie?
Apply for the VT Work-In-Progress Filmmaking Award!

Vermont filmmakers working on a film that was shot in VT, and/or includes a VT theme, who are NOT enrolled in an educational institution,
are eligible to apply for this $3500 award.
The deadline is February 15, 2017.
To learn more, please visit: The Vermont Movie

Briggs Opera House!

Please make and submit a movie because we need to fill these seats at the Briggs Opera House!













We’re excited to share that we’ll announce and screen our WINNING FILMS and offer PROFESSIONAL FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS on MAY 6 and 7, 2017 at the BRIGG’S OPERA HOUSE in WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VERMONT!

We’re thrilled about this location because White River Junction has a special place in Vermont film history. It’s where DW Griffith and Lillian Gish lived while filming the famous silent film Way Down East. White River Junction is also one of Vermont’s art capitals and was described as “quirky and avant garde” by the Washington Post and named one of ten “coolest” towns in the United States by Budget Travel. So please save the date and join us!


Vermont filmmakers working on a film (in any genre or length) that was shot in Vermont, and/or includes a Vermont theme, who are NOT currently enrolled in an educational institution, are eligible to apply. The application deadline is February 15, 2017. To learn more, please visit: The Vermont Movie.





Freedom & Unity Youth Film Contest is BACK!


Announcing the 2017 Freedom & Unity Youth Film Contest and Media Maker Conference

  • Middle school students now welcome!
  • More than $5000 in cash and prizes
  • Two-day Youth Film Festival and Media Maker Conference May 6-7, 2017
  • Student film screening at other festivals, on Vermont PBS, and Vermont Access Network.
  • Teacher Resources: Sample PLP and tips on creating student portfolio pieces using film

Calling all filmmakers ages 10-30 who live or go to school in Vermont! The Freedom & Unity Vermont Youth Film Contest is back, offering more than $5000 in cash and prizes. You’ll also have the chance to share your work on Vermont PBS, Vermont Community Access Network and at film festivals all over the Green Mountain State, including the Vermont International Film Festival, the White River Indie Festival and Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

The Deadline: March 26, 2017
Don’t miss out! The deadline for the third annual contest, which accepts short films with a Vermont focus, is March 26, 2017. To get rules, enter the contest, and watch last year’s winning films, visit winners.

A Two-Day Festival and Media Maker Conference
This year’s contest will step things up in a big way. We’re expanding to include middle school students. And we’re holding a two-day Youth Film Festival and Media Maker conference on May 6-7, 2017You can view the best of this year’s contest, participate in workshops taught by professional filmmakers, and more.

“We’re thrilled to expand our focus,” says outreach coordinator Signe Taylor.  “With the addition of middle school students, we’re looking forward to seeing even more wonderful films. And the filmmaking workshops at this year’s festival and conference will give students an opportunity to learn more about the process of making good films.”

Teacher Resources
Our contest provides students with an opportunity to create PLP portfolio pieces showing evidence of achievement in Visual & Performing Arts, Global Citizenship, English Language Arts & Literacy, and Transferable Skills. Our Education Coordinator Gary Miller will be producing a sample PLP and tips sheet as well as other materials to support teachers as they work to implement the new guidelines around Personalized Learning Plans and proficiency-based graduation requirements.

Contest Background
The film contest is an outgrowth of Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, a 6-part film series on Vermont history and culture created by 30 seasoned Vermont filmmakers. Nora Jacobson, the Vermont Movie’s executive producer and contest co-founder says, “We wanted to hear what young Vermonters have to say about their home state: What do you they think about, what are their concerns, passions and hopes for the future?” 

The Freedom and Unity Youth Film Contest and Media Makers Conference is supported by the Bay & Paul Foundations, the Vermont Community Foundation, and private donors across Vermont.

If you’re a teacher or a parent of a young filmmaker, send them our way! If you’re a young Vermont filmmaker with something to say, get out your video gear! And be sure to enter your film! 

The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival: Freedom & Unity Collection


A selection of the 2016 Freedom & Unity films will be shown at the Middlebury New Filmmaker Festival, Freedom & Unity Collection.

Date: Sunday, August 28, 2016
Time: 10:00am
Location: Marquis Screening Room
Middlebury, Vermont
The Complete Festival Schedule


*A selection of films will also be shown at the Vermont International Film Festival! Check back later for date, time and list of films!