ACTION! The VFF's High School Director Competition

ACTION! is part of the Virginia Film Festival's Community Outreach & Education Program.

In Brief

The VFF encourages high school students to pursue their passion for filmmaking and create an entry for ACTION! The VFF’s High School Director Competition. The competition is open to rising 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who are current residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and there is no entry fee.

Three (3) prizes are awarded to three best director or directing teams to support the winning student(s)’s continued film and filmmaker education. The ACTION! Grand Prize is a check for $1,000, and two (2) ACTION! Runner-Up Prizes are checks of $500 each.

The 2015 ACTION! High School Director Competition is presented by the Virginia Film Office.


Submit Your Film

How To Submit?
First, read the Rules and Regulations section below to make sure you and your film qualify. If you meet all of our requirements, then you are ready to complete the submission process! All applicants must complete a 2015 ACTION! Electronic Entry Form which requires a link to an online screener (such as Vimeo or Youtube) of your film. Note: We have moved to an electronic-only submission process this year and can no longer accommodate hard copy submissions.

The Deadline
A completed entry form with accompanying link to your film must be submitted electronically by Wednesday, August 19. The VFF reserves the right to disqualify applications that are incomplete or received late.

Do you need information or have any questions?
Please contact us at [email protected].

Rules & Regulations

  1. ACTION!: The VFF’s High School Director Competition is open to rising 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who are current residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  2. Students may submit only one (1) entry form per person/team. Each team may consist of no more than three (3) students who serve as the Directors of the submitted film. This rule does not limit the number of people contributing to or performing in the film; however only three (3) student collaborators will be recognized as prizewinners.
  3. All films submitted are to be the complete original work of the applying students. See copyright policy below for specific information.
  4. Films are limited to a maximum of eight (8:00) minutes in length, including credits. There is no minimum time restraint.
  5. Films may not include profanity, graphic violence, or sexual content.
  6. The Virginia Film Festival will award three (3) prizes to three best directors or directing teams to support continued film and filmmaker education. The ACTION! Grand Prize is a check for $1,000, and two (2) ACTION! Runner-Up Prizes are $500 each. Prizes will be awarded by check written to the student(s) listed as the “Student Director” on the application. If more than one name appears as “Student Director,” we will split the prize evenly between the students.
  7. Virginia Film Festival staff will notify all entrants of award status no later than Friday, October 2, 2015. The VFF does not provide critiques or notes on films.
  8. Virginia Film Festival will screen the winning films during the 2015 Virginia Film Festival (Thursday, November 5 – Sunday, November 8). Each winner will also receive one (1) Industry Badge for access to VFF screenings and the VFF Filmmakers and Sponsors Lounge.
  9. Non-winning entries may be screened during the 2015 Virginia Film Festival at the discretion of VFF staff.
  10. All entries, or portions thereof, may be used by the Virginia Film Festival in promotional materials.
  11. Films that do not qualify for ACTION! may qualify instead for the VFF’s open Call for Entries. Visit our Call for Entries page for more information on how to submit a film for consideration.

Past Winners

2014 ACTION! Winners

Grand Prize Winner: Magic Marker, dir. Jack McCaffrey

Runners-Up: Lemonade Standoff, dir. Saunder Boyle, Ryan Beard, Sam Crowell; Time Flies, dir. Jacob Chang-Rascle


2013 ACTION! Winners

Grand Prize Winner: The Picky Eater, dir. Shalemar Coloma

Runners-Up: Awakened Eyes, dir. Lainey Wood; Space Girl, dir. Daniel McCrystal, Si Affron, and Madeline Hunter


2012 ACTION! Winners

Grand Prize Winner: Production Values, dir. Tim Schauer

Runners-Up: A Dream’s End, dir. Tilden Lexa; Caffeine, dir. William Jones


Q. How do I know when my project violates copyright laws?

A. See copyright section below for more details.

Q. What if I was once a Virginia resident, my work was created in Virginia, and then I moved away?

A. Only films created by current Virginia residents are eligible for entry.

Q. The entry form only provides space for three directors; can we still submit a film with more than three directors?

A. Yes. However, only the three names provided on the entry form will be recognized as the contributors to the film. In the event that three directors win, the winning check will be split evenly between them.

Q. What sort of expectations do you have for “prize-worthy” films?

A. First and foremost, films selected as winners and runners-up adhere to ACTION! Guidelines. Beyond that, the Virginia Film Festival encourages students to pursue their creativity and imagination.

Q. I’m having trouble uploading my video. Any suggestions?

A. Yes! Check out these links for help with…




Final Cut Pro

Adobe Premiere


The links provided are starting points for students to read, explore, and consider in regard to copyright issues.

Article by BBC on Music Rights:

FAQ on amateur film copyright issues, produced by BBC:

Article from NY Times about legal battle between YouTube and Warner Music Group:

Blog post that explains music copyright issues within short films: