How It Works – DL Edits

Democracy 2020 Youth Film Challenge

Here’s What’s Required and How it Works!


Documentaries (up to 8 minutes in length)

Please submit films that will address issues that you believe should be addressed by 2020 candidates. Your submissions should motivate the future gemeration of citizens to engage in national elections.

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 produce 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 will 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:


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

Official Rules and Guidelines:

Deadlines & Fees

Entry Fee: $20

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.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Deadlines for Awards are (see official rules)

  • January 31, 2020
  • April 17, 2020
  • June 29, 2020

In September 2020 the culminating event will be hosted by a celebrity who has demonstrated a meaningful commitment to young people’s engagement in civic issues. The winners will receive monetary prizes and other awards.

The Democracy 2020 Youth Film Challenge builds on the success of an annual Youth Film Challenge that the Civic Life Project has held in Hartford, Connecticut since 2015 featuring films submitted from young people throughout the nation. Among past judges are Dan Rather, Bill Moyers, Lynn Sherr, Keli Goff and Marisa Venegas. Going forward, Civic Life Youth Film Challenge competition will be held bi-annually and timed to coincide with federal elections cycle to ensure the continuing involvement of young Americans in our national political conversation.

The Democracy 2020 Youth Film Challenge is an initiative of the Civic Life Project, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2010 by Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur, two internationally recognized, Emmy award-winning documentary filmmakers and educators.

Civic Life uses digital storytelling to transform the teaching of civics and to inspire high school and college students to become active participants in their communities.  Students write, shoot, and produce short documentary films on community issues they care about and then present them to audiences of civic leaders and members of their communities. Since its inception, Civic Life Project has supported the production of more than 100 short documentaries about public issues.

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.

Civic Life Project and Youth Film Challenge