One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest

One Earth Film Festival is a Chicago area film festival that creates opportunities for understanding climate change, sustainability and the power of human involvement through sustainability-themed films and facilitated discussion.  We engage private, public and non-profit sector community partners in the sponsorship and production of the film festival.  

Our last festival ran from March 2-11, 2018.  More than 5,400 attendees viewed 60 screenings/events of 33 films in 50 locations throughout Chicagoland, and in locations in the adjacent counties of Lake, DuPage, Kane, as well as Whiting, Indiana. This year’s festival promises to expand its reach, attendance and impact region-wide.

Annual Amount

Winners of each category will receive the following prizes:

1. Screening of their film at the One Earth Film Festival and at other related and subsequent educational and non-profit events hosted by Sponsor.

2. Posting of their film at the One Earth Film Festival website. (Note: Entrants grant Sponsor the exclusive rights to the film and release ownership to Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to utilize submitted films for any promotional materials and online media, at its sole discretion.)

3. Cash prize or scholarship: Each winner will receive a cash prize pertaining to the grade level category:

– Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5): $100 cash prize + $100 matching grant
– Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8): $200 cash prize + $200 matching grant
– High School (grades 9, 10, 11) $350 cash prize + $350 matching grant
– Senior Year + College (grade 12 or active, enrolled college or university students through age 25):
$1,000 college scholarship + $1,000 matching grant

Note: students who have completed grade 11 and submit an entry during the summer before grade 12 will be considered entrants for grade 12.

4. Matching Grant: In addition to the cash prize or scholarship, each winner will receive a matching grant. The grant will be donated to a non-profit organization or community sustainability project that the winner chooses, subject to Sponsor’s approval. Upon being notified of winning, the winner or winning group will submit a short proposal (up to one page long) explaining the organization they are choosing for the grant. The selected organization will have proven its ability to raise sustainability awareness, and will have demonstrated a commitment to creating solutions in the subject matter area of the winning film. It is the sole discretion of Sponsor to accept or reject the winner’s organization of choice.

Additional Selection Criteria

1. Eligibility

One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest (hereafter referred to as the “Contest”) is open to students from grade 3 through college (ages 8 through 25), as per the appropriate entrant category. College students must be enrolled at least half-time in an accredited, degree-seeking program. USA submissions only.

No purchase is necessary to enter the contest, but entrants are liable for any taxes or costs incurred for entering.

Employees and family members of Green Community Connections (the Non-Profit hereafter referred to as “Sponsor” or “GCC”) are not eligible.

All entrants must complete the “Entrant Oath and Permission Form.” Either print the linked form and mail it back to us, or scan/photograph it and return electronically. The form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian for an entrant under the age of 18 where the legal guardian accepts responsibility and has read these official rules on behalf of the entrant.

Eligible Grade Level Categories

To enter the contest, entrants must be in one of the following grade level categories at the time of submission. There will be one winner in each of the following four (4) grade level categories:

– Elementary (grades 3, 4, 5)
– Middle School (grades 6, 7, 8)
– High School (grades 9, 10, 11)
– Senior Year + College (grade 12 or active, enrolled college or university students through age 25)

Note: students who have completed grade 11 and submit an entry during the summer before grade 12 will be considered entrants for grade 12.

Contest officials reserve the right to not name a winner in any given category, pending the volume and quality of entries.

Contest entries may be submitted by an individual, or by a group of any size (ex: a group of friends, an after school program, or an entire class). In the case of group submission, one prize will be awarded to the entire group as a whole.

b. Topic Categories

Each film submission should choose one or several of the following topics on which to focus the theme of the film:

– Water
– Waste
– Food
– Transportation
– Energy
– Open Space and Ecosystems

Entrants will then be judged on their ability to address the topic(s) of choice by being engaging, informative, inspiring, and creative through their film. All submissions must show a strong (research-supported) understanding of the topics and related issues. Submissions must share and highlight solutions to the issues discussed in the chosen sustainability topic(s). The film entry’s theme must be solution-based. The film should talk about an environmental/sustainability problem and then discuss what could be a potential solution to this problem. For example, consider a film that discusses over-logging and deforestation and then elaborates on how paper-based product industries can change their methods to harvest sustainably. We look forward to viewing your entries that talk about a current problem and how you propose we solve this problem as a community with the goal of sustainability.

As a reminder, while a group of people (ex: a class or a group of friends) may submit an entry together, only one prize will be awarded to the group as a whole.

Application Process

Film Length

Entrants may submit a film of no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 8 minutes.

Sponsor will accept and consider short animated films. The minimum length for animated submissions is 45 seconds. Animations can present a solution or motivate viewers towards awareness or behavior change for one of the six topics.

Judging Criteria

Judges will check to adherence to these submission rules, including compliance with all terms (legality, conduct, etc.), film length, format, etc. Films will be judged by GCC volunteers based upon quality and content of the film and its ability to educate, inspire, and raise awareness of the film’s chosen topic. They also stress that films will be judged on their ability to address a problem and propose a solution to that problem. Films should state a current environmental /sustainability problem regarding one or more of the topics listed in Section 3b and propose a solution that can help solve/lessen that problem.

Entrants who do not conform to policies and rules may be disqualified at the discretion of Sponsor. Any disqualification's are the decision of GCC and are final.

Contest Submission Period

The Contest Submission Period is on a rolling basis. All submissions for the 2019 film festival must be submitted and received by January 13, 2019. Entries submitted after this time will be considered for the following OEFF contest submission period.

How to Enter – Submission Rules/Guidelines

There is a limit of one (1) entry per person or per group, regardless of method of entry. Any additional entries will be void. All film submissions must be made electronically. If you have a special circumstance and need to submit a hard copy DVD, contact Lisa Files at

All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned and entrants agree that winning entries can be used for future events held by Sponsor and hosted on Sponsor’s website.

5a. Steps to submit an electronic file:

  1. Create and save your film in a high quality digital file. Acceptable formats include .mov Apple Quicktime Movie, .wmv Windows Media Video, MPEG/MPEG-4, and Flash Video. Sponsor will not accept YouTube submissions. Submissions must be via these listed methods only.

  2. Upload your film to your own Vimeo account. If you do not have an account, please refer to the Vimeo website on how to create one at

  3. Verify that your link works.

  4. Send an e-mail to, informing her of your film submission. In the e-mail include the link to your film, your film title, and the completed oath and permission form. For group entries, each entrant must submit a completed permission form. Films submitted without the “Entrant Oath and Permission Form” will not be considered for the contest. Print the linked form, fill it out, then scan or photograph it and e-mail it back to us. Furthermore, should your film win, you may be asked to provide a hard copy DVD format of your film that Sponsor can use for screenings. Any costs incurred are the responsibility of the entrant.

  5. Another option for film submission is Film Freeway.

Please visit the website below for the application and full description of the rules and regulations.


January 13, 2019

For the application or more information go to: