Democracy 2020

Youth Film Challenge

Vote has ended for the People’s Choice Award. Winners will receive $1,000 for the Documentary Film category and $500 for Social Media and will be announced at the Awards Screening on September 10th.


Contest Ended

Deadlines & Fees

Entry Fee: $20 (Waived until February 28, 2020!)

Please email us if you would like to request a fee waiver: dlasseur@civiclifeproject.org


The Challenge will accept submissions and award cash on a rolling basis.  The winning videos will be featured in an online livecast in the Fall of 2020.

Online submission portal is open now.

First Deadline: January 31, 2020

Second Deadline: April 17, 2020

Final Deadline: June 29, 2020

Your submissions will be available on our website for all participants as well as any visitors. As part of our effort to broaden the impact of your submission, we will post the films on other websites such as You Tube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to get your message out.

The sooner you submit, the sooner you will be encouraging civic discussion and engagement on the issue that is of significant concern to you!

All submissions must:

  1. Be made by people ages 15 to 25 years of age.
  2. Be under 8 minutes in length (including titles and credits) for the documentaries
  3. Be under 2 minutes for social media videos.
  4. Be original video shot by you and/or your group. If visual materials are used that have not been created by you, you need to obtain written permission and credit the author.
  5. Include a call to action promoting youth voting.
  6. Use original music or graphic material; or properly license copyrighted materials.
  7. Be in English or subtitled in English.
  8. Provide a three-line synopsis that will be used in the Challenge program
  9. Provide a still from your film that will draw viewers.
  10. Finalists will be asked to provide a three-minute bio on themselves and why they selected their specific issue.

Media submission:

Please use YouTube or Vimeo link to your video.


After each deadline January 31, April 17, and June 29, a jury of young filmmakers will select the 5 best documentaries and 5 best social media works to go on to the final selection for the September screening and award ceremony.

The top film in each category will receive a $1,000 award for documentary and $500 for the social media work.

The final Democracy 2020 Youth Film Challenge competition will gather all the films selected from the three deadlines and will be judged by a jury of young men and women together with distinguished media professionals. Selected films will be presented in an Awards Ceremony in September 2020.

Documentary Category

  • First Prize: $5,000
  • Second Prize: $2,000
  • People’s Choice Award: $1,000

Social Media Category

  • First Prize: $2,500
  • Second Prize: $1,000
  • People’s Choice Award: $500

All films submitted will be judged for creativity, originality, production value, quality of interviews and whether they promote empathy and civil dialogue.  The Challenge welcomes all submissions regardless of gender, race, ethnic background and multi-abled.

By submitting your film you agree to the full rules and guidelines.

JusticeAid Prize & Judging

The JusticeAid Prizes are $2000 Gold, $1,000 Silver and $500 Bronze cash prizes in the categories of both films and Social Media. Each submission must include a call to action to vote to qualify. All entries will be judged by a panel from the JusticeAid Board of Directors and social justice filmmakers and digital producers.

Selected submissions will be promoted on all JusticeAid social media platforms, as well as those of Civic Life Project. Winners will be screened as part of the JusticeAid Public Forum in Washington, D.C. in September 2020.

All films submitted in qualifying JusticeAid issue categories are also eligible for the Civic Life Project awards – your film could potentially win up to a total of $7,000!

Civic Life Project and Youth Film Challenge