Teen Film Fest

The 14th Annual Teen Film Fest: Stay at Home Challenge

2020 Teen Film Fest: Stay Home Challenge!

Attention teen filmmakers! Submit your films for the 2020 Teen Film Fest: Stay Home Challenge! Selected films will be screened at our virtual Teen Film Fest on August 14 where our awesome judges will provide their insights and feedback in front of an audience.

Plus, you could win up to $300 worth of prizes in categories like Best Acting, Best Screenplay/Story, Best Special Effects, Best Overall Film, and even an Audience Favorite!

If you’re a teen ages 12 to 18-years-old, please consider submitting a film.

Submission Deadline EXTENDED: August 1 Tuesday, August 4 at 11:59 p.m. CST / ENTRY FORM

Save Your Seat for the Fest: Friday, August 14 from 7-9 p.m. on Zoom / REGISTER

See below for rules, tips, and other resources! As always, if you have any questions, email teens@ahml.info, call 847-506-2668, or chat the library!

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    Film Guidelines

    • Filmmakers must be 12 to 18 years of age and between entering 7th grade through exiting 12th grade. Adults may appear in the film, but should have no other responsibilities in the production of the film.

    • Films should be no longer than six minutes in length.

    • For the Stay at Home Challenge, all new footage should be made while obeying social distancing guidelines:

      • Film only in your own home or close neighborhood.

      • Maintain distance of at least 6 feet from people who do not live with you.

      • Limiting your actors and/or characters, creating animated films, or recording live video chats are some suggestions for filmmaking while still staying safe. Get creative!


    Submission & Prize Rules

    • A completed entry form must be submitted for each film, available beginning in June 2020. Signed and completed forms must be emailed to teens@ahml.info no later than 11:59 p.m. on August 1st, 2020.

    • Filmmakers who are under the age of 18 must have a parent’s signature on each of their entry forms.

    • Filmmakers must be present at the Film Fest to be eligible for a prize.

    • A total of $300 in prizes will be awarded across Film Fest winners.

    • Only three film submissions per person.

    • Films submitted to previous AHML Teen Film Fests are not eligible.


    In the case of a high number of submissions, we may not be able to show all of the films submitted to the fest. We will notify you if your film will be screened at the film fest.

    Any questions? Email teens@ahml.info.

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    We know that making a film can be a lot of work! Make sure that you're on track to make the best film you can by checking out some of these resources:


    Library Resources

    Check out books and videos you can access through the library to learn about writing screenplays, filmmaking techniques, and more.


    Filming & Editing Tools

    Filming with your Phone's Camera

    These videos have great tips for filming on your iPhone or Android device.


    Camera Terminology

    Below you'll learn about some useful camera terminology paired with useful links that go into greater depths of what they are and how to use them effectively while filming.

    ISO (Light Sensitivity): The lower the ISO the finer the grain.  The higher the ISO the grainier the picture will appear. Learn more here!

    Auto Focus: Will automatically focus on a subject in frame.  This is not recommended for interviews or non-moving subjects.

    Shutter Speed: If your shooting video you’ll want to aim around 1/48th to 1/60th.  A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera. Shutter Speed vs. FPS 

    Aperture: Allows you to control how narrow the lens is.  This will determine how much light is reaching your pictures. Learn more here!

    Video Quality and FPS: You should aim to shoot in 1080p.  This is the size of your video file which measures out to 1920X1080 which is the resolution for High Definition video. 

    FPS or Frames Per Second determines how many frames will appear per second in your video.  For shooting video you’ll want to do 29.7 fps which is the standard.  Anything higher would start creating a slow motion version of your video you're shooting. 


    Tips on Filming with a Green Screen

    Why would I need to use a Green Screen?

    • Shooting video in front of a green screen allows you to composite layers of video together.
    • Allows you to superimpose individuals on screen.


    What do I need to film a Green Screen scene/shot?

    • Solid Green background (you can use a green screen or even a green construction paper background)
    • Make sure none of your actors are wearing green
    • 3 Point lighting on your subject
    • Lights to light the green background
    • Camera + tripod

    Video: How to use Green Screen with iMovie


    Editing Software


    Want some early feedback on your film?

    Email a link to your film to teens@ahml.info by July 14 to get feedback and potential suggestions from library staff before the submission deadline of August 1!

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    Use the resources below to find video, images, music and sound effects to use in your film, beyond what you film yourself. Using your original footage or copyright-free, public domain or creative commons copyright images will ensure that there will be no copyright infringement by films in the fest.  Make sure to properly include what you use in your film's credits.




    Sound Effects

  • On August 9, 2019 we screened 12 films all created by teens at the 13th Annual Teen Film Fest. Thanks to all the teen filmmakers, our amazing judges, library staff, and our wonderful audience!

    Watch all the films from the 2019 Teen Film Fest here and see the winning films below.

    Best Acting - Homesick by Hayden Westerfield

    Best Editing - Control Freak by Geoffrey Buck

    Best Screenplay/Story - Thunderstruck by Graham Reid

    Best Special Effects - Doughnut Time by David Petratos

    Audience Favorite - Jelly Beans by Madeline Painter

    Best Overall - Kris by Edin Ramovic


    We hope you’ll join us again next year! If you’re a teen between 12 to 18-years-old, please consider submitting a film next summer!