NFFTY 2019 Official Rules & Guidelines

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Please read everything below! 

Submission Deadlines + Entry Fees:

Online Application and Film Received By:

  • Early Deadline: April 12 – $30

  • Mid Deadline: May 17 – $35

  • Regular Deadline: June 14 – $45

  • Final Deadline: July 12 – $55

  • NOTE: 10% Discount available for FilmFreeway Gold members.


  • The film’s director(s) must have been 24 years of age or younger at time of filming.

  • All music and other copyrighted material used in films must be properly licensed. See our Resource Guide.

  • All films must be in English or subtitled in English.


All films (national and international) may be submitted into only one category:

Feature – any narrative film over 30 minutes in length.

Short – any narrative film under 30 minutes in length.

Documentary – documentary of any length.

Music Video – music video of any length.

Animation – any form of animation, any length.

Experimental – any length film that does not fit the mold of typical filmmaking.

Note: public service announcements, commercials, and film trailers are not eligible for consideration in any category.

Awards & Opportunities

Festival Awards – We’ll be announcing specific Jury and Audience Awards closer to the festival. In 2018, we gave out $1,500 in cash awards, over $5,000 in software and gear, and $40,000 in additional scholarships.

Original Content Projects – In the past few years, we’ve given out over $50,000 in cash to NFFTY Alumni to produce special branded projects. Once you’ve had a film accepted into NFFTY, you will be eligible for these opportunities.

At The Festival – When you attend NFFTY as a Filmmaker, you get to meet fellow young filmmakers from around the world, network with industry leaders and grow as a filmmaker. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Submission Process

Online Application: Must be completed online no later than midnight PST July 12, 2019

Film Submission:

Preferred Methods:

  • Digital Upload: You will have the option of uploading your film to a secure website as part of the application process. All films will be watched by our judges via this secure screening process.

  • Online Link: FilmFreeway, our submission site, will accept links to Vimeo and or YouTube videos for your submission.

Payment. We encourage you to pay entry fees online during the online application process.

International Submissions. International entrants who do not pay online must use an international money order payable to NFFTY.

Film Stills. If your film is accepted, you must be able to provide a film still that is a minimum 300dpi and high quality. A film still should be from the film itself and draw viewers in and make your film look appealing.

Synopsis. The 3-line synopsis you submit when filling out your online application will be used in the festival guide, on the NFFTY website and for other promotions, so write an interesting, compelling description of your film. NFFTY reserves the right to edit the synopsis for length and grammar.

Notification. If your film is selected to be part of NFFTY 2019, you will be notified via email on August 21, 2019 You will also be notified by email if your film is not selected. Please make sure that you notify us if your email changes, and add to your safe sender email list. We often have problems getting emails through to school email addresses (e.g. .edu, .gov.), so if you have a personal email address, that is preferable for your entry.

Feedback. If your films isn’t selected into NFFTY, the programmers are happy to provide feedback if inquired. Please note, due to festival preparations, response time in the month before the festival may be delayed. The need for additional editing is the most common factor making the difference between a film that is selected and a film that is not. But we also receive many more worthy films than we have programming space to screen, so don’t be discouraged if your film does is not accepted.

Film Distribution. Films selected for NFFTY 2019 may have the opportunity to take part in distribution opportunities through NFFTY. Distribution may include Internet, TV, in-flight, and more. See filmmaker release below for further information regarding distribution.

Exhibition Requirements. Films selected for NFFTY 2019 must send in an exhibition copy of your film as a Full resolution QuickTime file (pro-res 422 is best). The exhibition copy of film must be received no later than September 13, 2019. Exhibition copies will NOT be returned. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Filmmaker/Guardian/Representative Release

I acknowledge and agree that to the best of my knowledge, I am duly authorized to submit this film to NFFTY and to grant permissions related to its use and distribution.

I grant permission to NFFTY to use film clips/stills for promotional use. I allow NFFTY and any third parties at NFFTY the right to film, videotape and photograph my appearance and voice for any and all marketing and promotion of the festival and The Talented Youth.

I understand I will be added to the NFFTY email newsletter lists and receive email updates from NFFTY. My name and email may also be shared with 3rd party partners. In both cases, I can always unsubscribe via the email footer.

If this film is accepted into NFFTY 2019, I grant NFFTY the non-exclusive right to right to show, distribute and market my film in its entirety as NFFTY sees fit, including but not limited to packaging and inclusion in sponsorship deals and other business related activities related to NFFTY. This also includes but is not limited to presenting films as part of the NFFTY online festival component, Best of NFFTY at other film festivals and other screenings, showcases or distribution with 3rd party partners. Exceptions and requests to opt out will be granted only by written request and must be made prior to acceptance into festival or when film obtains other distribution that would prohibit any aspect of this.

NFFTY may actively pursue other distribution opportunities for the film. I acknowledge that I may be asked to complete and sign additional distribution agreements. It is always my choice to accept or reject these offers. NFFTY does not take any copyright or ownership of my film.

Submitting a film to NFFTY constitutes an agreement by and between the filmmaker/representative, and/or applicable Parent/Guardian of a minor aged Filmmaker, and NFFTY. By submitting, I agree to all of these rules, terms and conditions. I acknowledge that no submission fee refunds are given once this application has been submitted. I also acknowledge that I will not receive any compensation for the use of my film by NFFTY in accordance with the rules, terms and conditions.

I understand and acknowledge that, if I am under 18 years of age, my parent or guardian must agree to the terms of this Filmmaker/Guardian/Representative Release on my behalf. As a Parent or Guardian of a minor filmmaker if applicable, I understand and acknowledge that I am agreeing to the terms of this Filmmaker/Guardian/Representative Release on behalf of my child or a child for whom I am a legally designated Guardian.