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How It Works

The purpose of the Public Domain Film Festival is to celebrate works that have recently lost their copyright protection by challenging student filmmaking teams to create five-minute films in ten days.
Here’s a rundown of how the film festival experience plays out:

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7

Step 1: Register

Each team is required to fill four roles at registration: producer, director, writer, composer. It is likely that more people will be involved in creating your film entry, such as editors, gaffers, actors, musicians, etc, but we need these four roles identified at the beginning for logistical purposes and to ensure teams are given proper thought to each of these four crucial aspects of their film entry

Click here to Register

Step 2: Get Familiar with the Public Domain Works

Hundreds, if not thousands, of creative works enter the public domain every January. For the purposes of the festival, the Copyright Licensing Office has curated three lists of works entering the public domain: a literary works list, a musical composition list, and a film list. Teams will need to incorporate aspects from works on these lists as part of their film entries.

View Public Domain Works

Step 3: The Launch Event

On Friday, January 26th, we will hold the festival’s Launch Event. At the Launch Event, our team will explain the rules, answer questions, and conduct a draft of the public domain works. Each registered team will leave with one literary work, one musical work, and one film assigned to it. As is the case in any draft, it is likely your team will not get its first choice in all three or any of the categories. This is why we encourage everyone to get familiar with the public domain works lists. You will want to identify a second, third, and fourth choice in each category

Step 4: Produce Your Films

Immediately following the Launch Event, the production window begins. Only media produced during the production window or media from your public domain works may be used in your film entry. The production window is ten days long. Your films will be due on Monday, February 5th, at 5 PM Mountain Time. You will upload your entries to a unique link for your team. Your upload will automatically expire at the deadline, preventing you from entering your film if you are late

Step 5: Judging

We have an international pool of judges that will screen all films and score them according to our judging rubric for each award category. Our office uses the scores and feedback from the judges to select our ten finalists for the public screening and awards ceremony.

Step 6: Attend the Awards Ceremony and Vote for the Audience Choice Award

All teams in the festival will receive priority registration for the Public Screening and Awards show held on February 16th, at 7 PM Mountain Time in the Varsity Theater on BYU Campus. Finalist teams will receive seven reserved seating in the finalists’ section of the audience. At that screening, we will announce the winners and hand out prizes. We will also conduct the LIVE Audience Choice voting and crown an Audience Choice Award Winner.

Step 7: Attend the After Party

All participants are invited to attend the after party that occurs immediately following the awards ceremony. Come network with other teams and industry professionals while you enjoy free food and drinks, live music, a 1920s costume contest, a raffle, photo ops, and dancing.