Rules & Regulations

Filmmakers’ Eligibility

The contest is open to ALL Vermont residents ages 10 to 30 years old. This includes the Dresden School District and the Rivendell Interstate School District. Submit your film by May 1, 2019.

Submission Criteria

  1. Films must be entered in one of three age groups. Filmmaking teams may also apply. One person from each team should submit an application that provides information for everyone on the team. (see below);
  2. Films must include a Vermont focus and address one of the three contest categories (see below);
  3. Maximum film length: 12 minutes (note: points will be taken off your film if the length exceeds 12 minutes).

Age groups:

  • 10-14
  • 15-18
  • 19-30

Contest categories:

See “Tips from the Judges” for information about judging criteria (located at bottom of
“Resources and Tips” page)

Guidelines For Using Music

Interested in having your film aired on VT PBS?

Each year, VT PBS selects Freedom & Unity Contest films to air on their channel. In order to be considered for public broadcast, your film must only include royalty-free music or music for which you have received written permission to use from the composer. If applicable to your film, Freedom & Unity requires that you send proof of permission granted by the composer to:

Do you have friends who play music? Are you musical? Sometimes all you need to bring your film alive are a few guitar strums, or a couple of bells. Plus, judges will add extra points to entries containing original music composed specifically for your film. 

If you don’t use original music, check out these music resources:


Early deadline for a unique work-in-progress feedback opportunity!

Freedom & Unity recognizes constructive feedback to be a vital part of any creative process. This year, we are offering an early deadline (March 22, 2019) to filmmakers who wish to receive work-in-progress feedback from selected mentors. After receiving feedback (by March 29, 2019) you will have time to edit any changes you might like to make before the final submission deadline on May 1, 2019.

Important dates:

  • 11:59 PM on March 22, 2019 – Work-in-progress early deadline 
    • Receive feedback – by March 29, 2019
  • 11:59 PM on May 1, 2018 – Final submission deadline 

To be considered for the contest, a film MUST be sent to Freedom & Unity by the deadline.

Please note: submitting early for work-in-progress feedback is encouraged and not required.





Vermont Arts and Culture

Vermont is home to a thriving artistic community, from writers and musicians to painters and digital artists. Abenaki and European cultures have long influenced life in Vermont, but new cultures, from Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East are adding their own traditions to the mix. Tell us about how an artistic achiever or a cultural tradition is making life in Vermont richer for all of us.


Personal Stories

VT is home to over 600,000 people, and all of them have a story to tell! Find a person, pick up a camera, and push “record.” Focus on yourself, or on a friend, family, or community member who is doing something amazing, like writing music, exploring new technology, or using his or her skills for the benefit of others. Or find someone who has faced a difficult struggle, show what it means to have courage and persistence in the face of hard times. Tell a story that focuses on one person, but can teach us all something about living.


Vermont History & Contemporary Issues

The human history of Vermont includes farmers and foresters, inventors and artists, businesspeople and community leaders. Pick a piece of Vermont’s history and tell us a story about it. Focus on your own family, people who lived in your community, someone you read about, or maybe the Abenaki, who came to Vermont thousands of years ago. How did these people come to Vermont? What did they do to survive? How did they change life in the place we all call home? Take a look back, and share what you learned with today’s Vermonters. Or perhaps you’re more intrigued by present day Vermont? As a young person, you have a unique perspective. People want to hear your opinion, because you are the Vermonters not only of today, but of the future. So let us know what matters to you. What contemporary issues should we be paying more attention to? Addiction and recovery? Climate change? Jobs in Vermont? Dating violence? Discrimination? The high cost of college? Tell us a story about an issue. Or better yet—show us how Vermonters are working toward creative solution to our biggest problems.