How to enter
Film By festivals are open to all Kindergarten to Year 12 students.
They are an opportunity for students to showcase their talents in filmmaking. Schools can participate in the festival as a class entry or submit films created by individual students or groups of students. There are no fees to participate in any Film By festival or competition. Schools are eligible to submit multiple films and must adhere to the guidelines listed on this page.
Please check your local area to see if a Film By festival is established and submit to that festival in the first instance.
For any school that does not have a 'local' Film By in their area they are encouraged to submit to Film By Online. The festival runs under the same guidelines as the local festivals, except it will be an online showing rather than in a cinema.
At the end of the year, the NSW Department of Education will host a Film By Invitation VIP event. This festival will showcase the best of the best films from all of the local festivals and Film By Online.
Film submitting protocols
All films should be in .mp4 format, 1920 x 1080 (landscape), 25fps and submitted via the Film festivals application form 2023.
Sound levels in films need to maintain a consistent level. Films with sound levels that are distorted or disturbing to an audience cannot be accepted. This includes children screaming and poorly recorded speech that is difficult to understand.
Selection of films
Films may be selected to reflect the greater participation of submitting schools. Judges’ selections will include variety and originality, among other considerations and all decisions are final.
The following will be considered when viewing films:
- costume design
- student performances.
Films may include action, comedy, drama, fantasy, mystery, romance, thriller, documentaries, mockumentaries, stop motion and claymation.
- are entertaining to a broad audience
- are clear in their purpose, narrative and structure
- use effective editing techniques
- have a quality sound recording where levels are consistent, there is no feedback, distortion, or wind interference and all dialogue is clear and audible
- are creative and collaborative.
The department works closely with the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner to ensure student online safety. As part of the Digital Citizenship program, students learn how to stay safe and healthy while using digital technologies, appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour, and how to contribute online positively. All submitted films must adhere to the G rating.
Literature Classification. Information about classification is available at What do the ratings mean?
All films require a talent release form for every student participating. Any adults that may appear in the film as 'actors' or 'supporters' must also have a signed talent request form too. All forms are to be signed and provided to the school upon application.Authority to film and record form – film festivals (PDF 204.52 KB)
All films submitted should:
- be 3.5 minutes in duration or less, including credits
- be age appropriate and conform to a G rating
- be appropriate to the skill level of the participating students
- only include students’ first names in the credits
- be original works created in accordance with copyright laws
- represent the department's values and beliefs
- be created by NSW Department of Education teachers and/or students.
- have a script submitted
- include a poster to advertise the film that has been made
All films will be assessed by a panel and marked against a marking criteria against a variety of elements including:
- Story development
- Audience engagement
- Technical aspects
- Originality and authenticity
Please see the rubric for further details of each success criteria.Film submission rubric (DOCX 24.3 KB)
Copyright pertains to all print and online media as well as music – this includes books and illustrations, online sources and digital images. If you haven’t created it, you probably don’t own the rights to it.
Many online sites offer Royalty and Copyright free music and images. Please check the licence agreement carefully before using these sources.
Many sites, such as Bensound, have royalty and copyright-free music but also offer licences to use their artistic creations for a nominal fee. It is always preferable to pay for a licence as this not only allows the use of the content but also provides compensation for the creators, allowing for the creation of more resources for everyone to use. See Smartcopying Creative Commons for a list of providers and further explanation of copyright.
All sourced materials must be acknowledged in credits. Copyright owners will usually specify how they want their intellectual property acknowledged. If there are no set instructions, always:
- credit the creator
- provide the title of the work
- provide the URL where the work is hosted.
More information on How to attribute Creative Commons licensed materials.
If commercial material (images, books, music, etc.) has been used, then permission must be obtained. This also pertains to story books and illustrations.
- Care should be taken to ensure the music and lyrics are appropriate to the work's concept/intent or theme.
- Songs with inappropriate lyrics or intent will not be accepted.