Click here to download the informational packet in .pdf format.

CinéStudent Film Festival Rules 

  1. Only submissions by current high school students will be accepted (18 years of age or younger), with a teacher from the school of attendance of the filmmaker identified for contact information.  Additional information may be requested for proof of high school enrollment. Therefore, students must register themselves for the festival in their own names. Teachers should not be submitting students. Any questions, contact the festival.
  2. The films can be of any subject: documentary or narrative, animation, music video or broadcast journalism. 
  3. Films must be submitted in the English language. However, foreign language films with English subtitles will be accepted. 
  4. The festival will only accept films that are 10 minutes in length of shorter. 
  5. Only 1 submission per filmmaker will be allowed.
  6. Films cannot contain vulgar language, sexual situations, graphic violence or graphic drug and/or alcohol use. Films with any of these classifications will be disqualified and not screened at the festival.  For comparative purposes, films should be rated an equivalent to PG-13, PG or lower.  
  7. Films cannot contain any copyrighted materials, such as still photographs not taken by the filmmakers, advertisements, brand logos, moving images or music. Popular songs and music cannot be used within the production without the expressed written consent from the copyright holder. Most record labels charge exorbitant fees for use of music, even in student non-profit productions. It is best to go the royalty-free route. There are several sites where free music is available. Click here for more information.
  8. Students will have to complete an application when submitting a film to the festival and may be required to send a student I.D. as well. Also, student filmmakers may be required to provide release forms for each film. Students whose films do not have proper copyright clearance will be disqualified.  
  9. All films must have been produced and completed in the 12 months prior to the film festival.
  10. Students will submit their films via without charge. After the posted deadline, films may still be submitted until the "late deadline" and will be subjected to a small "late deadline" fee.
  11. Films will be previewed and judged by event organizers. We reserve the right to refuse any film on any grounds.
  12. Students will agree to release their films for viewing by a general audience. As this year the CSFF will be streaming live, selected films will be broadcast on the internet and also made available on the Festival website after the conclusion of the festival. 
  13. Selected films will be listed on the website and filmmakers will be notified via email within two weeks prior to the festival. Filmmakers are encouraged to attend the festival. Filmmakers do not need to be present to win some of the awards. However, the Best Film and other specific categories with monetary awards may be subjected to regional constraints and attendance requirements (see #15).
  14. Prizes will be awarded by the festival after being judged by an impartial panel whose decisions will be final. Awards will be given for Best in Film, Audience Choice, Best Foreign Film and Best National Film. Additional prizes may be awarded for Best Documentary. In addition, there may be awards given for Best Cinematography, Best Directing, Best Editing and Best Performance. Entries will be judged on technical, creative and content elements. 
  15. Rules are subject to change.  Competition and awards may be subjected to regional constraints and availability of funds. The CinéStudent Film Festival is run entirely on donations and sponsorships, so the level of funding can vary from year to year. 
  16. Preference will be given to local films for inclusion for public screening in the festival at Elk Grove High School. Unfortunately, we will not be able to show all selected films at the festival due to time constraints. 




The film is unique; original.  The approach made by the filmmakers to the subject is not typical nor does it contain clichés or tropes. It is fresh and leaves the audience wanting more.


 Direction is clearly evident in the piece. It is thoughtful, well-organized. The tone of the film is maintained. Scores in this category take in the film as a whole based on the following: Understanding of and commitment to the script, conceptual design and style, thematic development, overall effectiveness of the film as a whole

Dialogue is natural. The characters are clearly defined, with personalities that are clearly defined, compelling and multi-layered. High overall quality to the writing. The story flows appropriately and is well-paced. Original.  In a documentary or broadcast journalist piece, the research and factual attention is exemplary.

Interesting shot compositions; shot compositions are thoughtful and interesting; use of angles enhances story/message; “look” of the film fits style and message; camera work is deliberate and appropriate; shots are effective; complexity in visual elements is apparent; camera movement is smooth and purposeful; lighting is appropriate; Interviews and “talking heads” are appropriately shot and spaced. Lighting is appropriate and enhances the storytelling

Acting is natural and believable; Performances are well-rehearsed and planned/blocked. For documentaries, the narration/on-screen host is natural and appropriate for the piece. Voice characters in animation are appropriate and believable


There is distinct thoughtfulness to the style and mood of the film. Strong aesthetic appeal throughout. Locations, lighting, sound, costumes—everything comes together to elevate the film to a higher level. The look and feel of the film is professional throughout.
Editing is crisp; provides continuity; editing sets appropriate pacing; well-planned and executed; transitions enhance story/message; thought and preparation is apparent in editing process; opening and closing credits are appropriate and sets the tone for the film
Message is clearly conveyed in the medium;  message isn’t “forced” but is naturally conveyed through the medium and its elements. The message is appropriate for the approach.
Sound is clear and moves the story/message; dialogue/narration is natural; sound is clean; additional recording has been done to make up for sound deficits; background noise does not take away from the story/message. Music is appropriate; enhances story/message; provides needed emotional quality to enhance film; not too overpowering nor does it take away from the visual elements