Spring Film Challenge


The Spring 2022 Film Challenge will kick off on Wednesday, March 16, at 8am. Participants will have just over two weeks to produce and submit their short films, which are due by 5pm on Friday, April 1. There are three categories this year: short-short, short film and ad/psa. Screening and awards presentation will be held Monday, April 25, 5:30pm, in the Bonnie Auditorium on the Radford University campus.

The CHALLENGE ITEMS are listed below, starting on the kick-off date (required theme and prop). Each category's theme could take on any number of forms, and should inform the overall story of the film. The prop should have some kind of substantial role in the film -- that is, do something interesting with it! (don't just set it on a table or in the background of a shot).

FIVE-BY-FIVE - Theme: risk Prop: game/playing cards
SHORT FILM - Theme: transition Prop: animal picture
ADVERTISING - Theme: reconciliation Prop: sugar
PSA - Theme: reconciliation Prop: bread

FIVE-BY-FIVE - Theme: transition Prop: sunglasses
SHORT FILM - Theme: risk Prop: animal picture
ADVERTISING - Theme: Prevent World War III (no prop)
PSA - Theme: reconciliation Prop: book


    Short-Short category: Five-by-Five - create an original short-short consisting of five distinct, different shots, each lasting five seconds, for a total time of 25 seconds (not counting titles and credits). Theme provided upon kick-off. Example: Old Milk (theme was: age, prop: wheels)

    Short category – create an original short film spanning a minimum 1 minute and maximum 5 minutes (not counting titles and credits). Theme provided upon kick-off. Example: My Worst Enemy (theme was: authenticity, prop: water)

    Ad/PSA category – create an original, 30-second live-action ad or PSA (Public Service Announcement). A brief will be provided about working the challenge into the AD/PSA. Examples: Ice Plates Ad or PSA on texting

There will be separately judged tiers for high school, college and community participants in each category. Movies will be screened by a judges' panel for award consideration.


- All entries must consist of original video/imagery, no stock footage.

- Participants will upload their completed movie to YouTube, after which they will fill out the ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM (link will go live upon kick-off).

IMPORTANT: Check out the updated Spring Film Challenge OFFICIAL GUIDELINES. All films must feature original video, no stock footage. See below for filmmaking resources and a short 'getting started' video.' Please direct questions to citl@radford.edu.



Read the short Film As Curriculum article to learn about interdisciplinary applications of short film.



If you are new to moviemaking or simply need some guidance, check the short video directly below to learn how to get started. In addtition, there are numerous resources further down the page: how-to's, tips and tricks, software tutorials, and related info.

Additional Resources

Producing Your Movie

Vimeo Video School - visit the lessons area to view three short, general tutorials on preparing for, shooting and editing video. Also visit the main area to view other people's short films and to check out their weekend challenges, in case you want to try one for practice.

Advertisements/Commercials - check out this guide for how to write a basic script. In addition, check out some simple, creative examples like this short ad on YouTube, or this PSA on texting on the Ad Council website.

McConnell Library - students can checkout camcorders, tripods, DSLR cameras, and audio recorders. The default period is three days, and it's a good idea to make a reservation in advance. You might also consider spending some time with the camera you'll be using before you check it out to shoot your movie.

Apple iMovie Tutorial 2017 - a brief, narrated video tutorial on using Apple's iMovie. If you're a Mac user, this is for you. While the latest version differs a bit, most of the features are the same.

Audacity - a really great, freeware audio editor for Windows or Mac. Good for recording voice, mixing multiple tracks together, special audio effects. etc. Click link to download. If you need help getting started, download the Audacity quick reference.

CITL - on the second floor McConnell Library. If you need to speak with someone about questions you have or how to do something -- or, if you need access to a computer for editing, then this is the place. Email citl@radford.edu with general questions, or to set up an appointment with one of our staff, or to make a reservation to use a video editing station or learn more about video software.

CITL Studio One - also in the CITL, this is a small audio and video production space for producing voice work, green/black/white screen video, audio and video presentations, VR gaming and other related activities. Training and appointments necessary. Email citl@radford.edu to find out more.

DSLR video tips - a short document containing tips for using a DSLR camera to shoot video. Anyone with questions can also email citl@radford.edu for info or to set up an appointment to talk about it.

Additional Media

Creative Commons Search - use to search Flickr, Google, SoundCloud, etc., for open-license images and audio to use in your movie.

The Free Sound Project - use to find audio and sound effects for your movie (you have to sign up to download stuff, but it's free).

FindSounds.com - use to find sound effects (household, nature, etc.) to use in your movie. TIP: search for 16-bit/44100 format WAV or AIF files.

The Internet Archive - use to find public domain or open-license media to use in your movie.

Past winners ...

Cruisin' Shoes

Daddy's Little Ransom

Super Crayon

2022 awards:


Best Picture: A Risky Venture
Best Cinematography: The Game
Best Performance: A Risky Venture
Best Sound: A Risky Venture
Best Director: Ethan Channel, A Risky Venture
Best Use of Prop: The Game
Best Use Of Theme: The Gambler


Best Picture: Sight For Sore Eyes
Runner-UpBurry Intentions
Best Cinematography: Blurry Intentions
Best Performance: Affliction, Onajae Edmund
Best Sound: Blurry Intentions
Best Director: Emma Crawford, Sight For Sore Eyes
Best Use of Prop: Blurry Intentions
Best Use Of Theme: Sight For Sore Eyes


Best Picture: A Game Of Life
Runner-UpMan's Best Friend
Best Cinematography: A Game Of Life
Best Lighting: Man's Best Friend
Best Performance: My Dog (Eloise Sumner)
Best Sound: A Game Of Life
Best Director: William Tyler Barrett, A Game Of Life
Best Use of Prop: A Game Of Life
Best Use Of Theme: A Game Of Life


William Tyler Barrett