About the Challenge Sub-menu – DL Edits

Democracy 2020 Film Challenge

A national film competition for students to generate civics-oriented videos that ultimately create a groundbreaking movement for young Americans.

Documentaries (up to 8 minutes in length)

We are looking for powerful films that will address issues that you as young Americans are concerned about. Your submissions should outline a path forward that will encourage others to become involved. The foundation of your work is to strengthen our democracy through greater voter participation.

We invite you to view some of the films produced by past Civic Life Youth Film Challenge participants https://www.youtube.com/user/CivicLifeProject1/playlists

Social Media Works (up to 2 minutes in length)

We challenge you to create an up to 2-minute video that will measurably increase youth registration and vote in 2020. You are free to use animation, documentary, interviews, testimonials or drama.  Create your video for your favorite social media platform, include the link we provide for your viewers to be counted, get as many vote pledges you can, and win the award for best social media clip. Make it funny or make it poignant, make it sad or hopeful, but make it count!

Here are some suggestions for themes/issues to be explored:

  • Mass Shootings and Guns
  • The Environment
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Voting Rights
  • Women’s Rights
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Student Loans

These may not be your issues. Let us know what you care about.

Official Rules and Guidelines:

Deadlines & Fees

Entry Fee: $20

Please email us to request a fee waiver: dlasseur@civiclifeproject.org

Online submission portal will be open on September 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM.

Final online Application: must be completed no later than June 29, 2020 at 8:00 PM.


After each deadline January 31st, April17thand June 30th 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 online screening and awards 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 various 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 online 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 submissions by all youth regardless of gender, race, ethnic background.

Past Challenge Submissions


Sponsor support will go directly toward funding the challenge scholarships for students who submit winning films and to underwrite the costs of producing and promoting the event. There is a robust promotion plan in place and our gratitude to Sponsors will be prominent.

Please take a moment to look over our Sponsorship Levels and join the growing groundswell of support for these young citizens who are using their voices and time to transform civic life for us all. Please contact dlasseur@civiclifeproject.org to get more information on how to become a sponsor.

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