The National Coalition Against Censorship and the New York Film Academy are excited to present the 20th annual Youth Free Expression Film Contest.

This year NCAC is calling on young filmmakers to create short films that explore the theme of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Free Expression.

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence presents new opportunities and challenges, raising questions about free expression protections under the First Amendment. Consider the following ideas when thinking about the social, political, and economic implications of AI as it relates to free speech:

  • Student cheating
  • Copyright and AI generated content
  • Disinformation, including the creation of fake images such as deepfakes
  • Free speech, and whether AI generated content is protected expression
  • Government regulations and AI
  • Ethics, Art, and Artistic Expression
  • AI censoring content

Create a video (up to 3 minutes) using film, animation, photographs, music, or anything else to explore what AI and free speech means to you–a student, a citizen and a human.

*Warning: your video should NOT be created using A.I. You may use examples of A.I. within the film to illustrate a point.

Need advice or inspiration?

Here are some questions to inspire your film (although these are by no means exhaustive!):

  • How do young people use A.I. to express themselves?
  • Is art created by artificial intelligence a form of free expression?
  • How does AI impact online misinformation, democracy, and free speech?

You can also check out our workshop on filmmaking at home, past winners, Resources for First-Time Filmmakers, and a Filmmaker’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use.

Awards & Prizes

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

How To Submit

Upload your 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.

Submission Deadline: September 9, 2024


Watch Last Years Winners

FIRST PLACE: “Listen to Me” by Adyson Vega

SECOND PLACE: “Copycat” by Kevin Gruen

THIRD PLACE: “The Suggestion Box” by Jamie Lu


Please send a note to [email protected]

The National Coalition Against Censorship’s annual Youth Free Expression Film Contest invites young filmmakers to create a short film on a contemporary First Amendment issue. Over the past 15 years, the contest has showcased the talents and ideas of dozens of student filmmakers. NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program Film Contest is made possible by generous support from the New York Film Academy.