The theme for the 12th Annual Youth Free Expression Film Contest is "THAT'S NOT FUNNY! CAN COMEDY CROSS A LINE?"
The National Coalition Against Censorship asks teens to create a short film (no longer than four minutes in length) addressing the notions of sanitized satire and offensive humor. Can any topic be made the subject of a joke, or should society police humor that some find distasteful or offensive? How does uncensored comedy survive when faced with claims of offense or even threats of violence?
In January, the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris brought global attention to issues of free speech and expression. While many people declared “Je Suis Charlie” immediately following the massacre, there has been a lively debate in and out of the free speech community over the defense and celebration of a satirical magazine that many believe to be controversial at best– and hate speech at worst.
The incident inspired heated debate over the role of comedy and satire, and has led many to ask if limits can or should be placed on comic speech if someone, somewhere, could interpret a joke as politically incorrect, offensive or hateful.
NCAC asks young filmmakers to be creative and thoughtful, and to read the contest rules and FAQ before beginning your project. You can also check out previous years' winners below.
Your films will be judged by this incredible panel:
David Cross is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and voice artist, known primarily for his standup work, the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show, and his role as Tobias Fünke in the sitcom Arrested Development.
Jon Hurwitz is a screenwriter, producer, and director whose credits include Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, American Reunion, and the upcoming ABC series Fair and Balanced.
Haley Mancini is a performer, writer, and voiceover actress who has performed with Boom Chicago and the Upright Citizens Brigade. She is a staff writer and the voice of Princess Morbucks on The Powerpuff Girls, and has appeared on Mad Men, 24, Weeds, and The Morning After.
Jill Morris is a performer and contributing writer for The Onion, and is a co-author of Please Fire Me: Tales from the Revolting Workplace. She was a sketch writer for the Upright Citizens Brigade, and her writings have appeared in McSweeney’s.
Nico Perrino is the associate director for communications at FIRE, a free speech organization focused on college campuses.
Submit your video no later than Monday, December 14, 2015. Winners will be announced in February 2016. Cash prizes up to $1,000!
NCAC's Youth Free Expression Program Film Contest is made possible by generous support from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and the New York Film Academy.
Film Contest Archives
2014: Free Speech Forever: Censorship Past, Present and Future
2013 Video Games in the Crosshairs
2012 You're Reading WHAT?!?!
2011 Censorship BYTES! Speech in Cyberspace
2010 I'm All For Free Speech, BUT…
2009 Free Speech in School (Does it Exist?)
2008 My Vote for Free Speech!
2007 How Does Censorship Affect Me?
2006 War and (Free) Speech: Can They Co-Exist?
2005 Does Free Speech Matter?
2004 What do you think of the state of free speech and democracy in the United States?