Every year, the Youth Free Expression Program (YFEP) invites young filmmakers to create a short film on a contemporary First Amendment issue. This year, the topic for the Youth Free Expression Film Contest is BODY LANGUAGE: Uncensored Pride.

Freedom of expression is about more than our words: how we dress, do our hair, or even dance all allow us to express who we are and what we believe. Yet, US public schools often limit students’ ability to express themselves through their appearance. All kinds of stylistic expression (hats, mini skirts, tattoos, etc.) are off-limits at one public school or another. But punishment is disproportionately targeted at students who don’t conform to traditional gender expression. In some schools, girls have been banned from wearing tuxedos in the school yearbook, in others, boys haven’t been allowed to wear earrings. And the problem appears to be growing.

Create a one-minute video using film, animation, photographs, music, or anything else to show the importance of expressing oneself and one’s gender identity through personal appearance.

Be thoughtful. Be creative. Be original. Be uncensored.

How To Submit

Upload your 1-minute film to the YFEP Film Contest page on Film Freeway and include an artist’s statement articulating your film’s message. Any genre of film is accepted, including but not limited to, documentary, music video, narrative, and animation. The contest is free to enter. 

Contestants must be either living in the U.S. or its territories (but need not be citizens) and must be age 19 or younger on the day the film is submitted. Films will be judged on content, artistic and technical merit, and creativity. Judges will be drawn from a panel of renowned filmmakers, writers, artists, and activists.

Due to the unprecedented nature of this school year, the deadline will be postponed until Fall 2021 to allow more young people the opportunity to express themselves. Stay tuned for more information! 

Awards & Prizes

The top three filmmakers (individual or team) will receive cash prizes of $1,000, $500, and $250. The first-place winner will also receive a scholarship to the New York Film Academy (terms and conditions apply).

Judges will include renowned filmmakers, activists, and young adult authors.

Special Guest Judges: Alex Gino and Julian Winters


Send us a note at ncac@ncac.org

NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program Film Contest is made possible by generous support from the New York Film Academy.