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Armed Forces Film Challenge full rules


Presented by Film Consortium San Diego in partnership with So Say We All and KPBS



The Film Con Challenge is a timed competition bringing together some of San Diego’s greatest storytellers to produce a short film (less than 15 minutes) in a 60 day long competition.  The Film Con Challenge will promote an overarching theme for the timed competition. The Armed Forces Film Challenge aims to tell stories in film that are written by military veterans or active duty service members and directed by military veterans or active duty service members.  Teams will be given up to three vetted stories* from the local writer’s group So Say We All and other local writers and will have to do the following:


  1. Choose one of the three stories*
  2. Adapt the story into a screenplay
  3. Choose a veteran or active duty servicemember as a director (no sharing the role unless with another vet/servicemember)
  4. Inclusion of veterans and active duty servicemembers in additional creative roles is encouraged
  5. Include 2 creative elements in the produced film (see below)
  6. Shoot, edit and hand in final film by deadline
  7. Complete all paperwork, release forms etc and hand in with film.


*(Please note, there is a strong likelihood teams will be given the same story to adapt.)


We hope to create unique and interesting stories that are visually distinctive and highlight real stories of real people.  We want to change the types of stories are told in San Diego and to create compelling films that are true and local. We also hope to create films that will be competitive entries into top film festivals worldwide.


“Armed Forces Film Challenge” – stories provided by So Say We All and other veteran/active duty writers



Kickoff: Friday, January 31st at 6PM (online)

Deadline: Tuesday, March 31st at 6PM


$120 Early Registration Fee until January 17th at midnight

$150 Registration Fee until January 24th at 6PM

$180 Late Registration Fee until Feb 15th at 6PM




All films will be automatically screened in a special San Diego Film Week Screening in April 2020 and will be eligible for the 2021 San Diego Film Awards.



1st place Winning Film will receive $300 credit on FilmFreeway for Film Festival submissions

List of Winners will be posted online at

“Best of” will be Broadcast on KPBS (up to 4 selected films)

All entries will be screened at SD Film Week Special Screening in April 2020

All entries are eligible for the 2021 San Diego Film Awards

All entries will receive a submission waiver for the GI Film Festival San Diego


Use of Creative Elements

Each team will be assigned two creative elements that must be used in their film.  The final list of creative elements will be made available upon launch of the contest.  The current tentative list of creative elements include:


Dutch angle

One shot



Slow Motion

Hero Shot

Jump Cuts

Zolley Shot

Freeze Frame

Dolley shot



Who We Are

Film Consortium San Diego is a social venture that stimulates film and television production in the region and increases networking, employment, education, funding and distribution opportunities in film, television and new media.  The Film Consortium holds various networking, screening and awards events including the San Diego Film Awards, San Diego Film Week and produces the annual Local Film Showcase at the GI Film Festival San Diego.  

So Say We All: Founded in 2009, So Say We All is a literary and performing arts non-profit organization whose mission is to create opportunities for individuals to tell their stories, and tell them better, through three core priorities: publishing, performance, and education. For more information about So Say We All, check out their website at

KPBS provides stories that make us think, help us dream, and keep us connected.

Vision: KPBS will tell the stories of our time.

News Mission Statement: KPBS news serves the people of the San Diego region with trustworthy, in-depth information that allows the community to hold its leaders accountable. We show how global and local current affairs change our lives, and how San Diego changes the world. We tell you more than just what is happening—we tell you why. KPBS follows the Public Media Code of Integrity and the NPR Ethics Guidelines.


Contest Rules and Guidelines:

These rules apply to each participating production team. The Film Consortium SD may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the official timed period.

Registration Form Link:

Please email any questions to



The 2020 Armed Forces Film Challenge – Film Con Challenge takes place locally, in San Diego County, and will occur between Friday January 31st, 2020 at 6PM and Tuesday March 31st, 2020 at 6PM. This is the “Official Time Period”. 

Late registration is allowed.  All teams must sign up before February 15th, 2020 but must hand in the film by Tuesday March 31st, 2020 at 6PM.

The participating groups/teams must submit their film by the competition deadline in order to qualify for the competition (this includes uploading film to Vimeo and creating a private downloadable link).  Only films that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition and be eligible for awards. All films received (on-time and late) will be screened during San Diego Film Week’s Special Screening in April of 2020.

Creative Process

All creativity must take place during the Official Time Period. Any creative work in advance of the competition is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Adapting script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design/Coloring
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to tape or other media


The only work to begin prior to the Official Time Period is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations



All footage must be shot within the Official Time Period of the project.

No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used.

Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the Official Time Period. (Note: Stock footage is permissible as part of a post-production effect or on a background monitor, i.e., a television, as long as the team has rights to the stock footage and the stock footage is placed over or under footage that is shot within the Official Time Period. Allowable stock footage includes bullets, fires, explosions, chromakey backgrounds, etc., but stock footage of people or other performers is not allowed.)

Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the Official Time Period; however, stills created outside of the Official Time Period may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

Online Kickoff Event

  • Filmmakers will be emailed 3 randomly selected stories. You have 24 hours to determine and inform us of which story you will be adapting. Please do so by email.

Required Elements

Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film. These randomly selected creative elements include, types of camera movements, shots & edits.

  • The script must be an adaptation of the provided story with minimal changes.  Team may add dialogue and other elements as needed but the script should not stray too far from the provided story.
  • The required elements must be seen on screen.
  • To qualify as an Official Entry, your film must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.


All cast and crew must be volunteers.

Animal Safety

Animal safety, like cast and crew safety, is an important part of the Film Con Challenge. Films that result in the death or mutilation of an animal will be disqualified.


Any type of video or film camera may be used. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

Music Rights

Participating groups are encouraged to work with a composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them. Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition’s rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes “fair use” under US or international copyright law.

Total Running Time

The finished film must be a minimum of 7 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 15 minutes in duration—not including end credits. In other words, the official running time begins after the required pre-film slates and ends prior to the end credits. The required slates and the end credits do not count towards the minimum time of 7 minutes. The film story may not be longer than 15 minutes.


Pre-film Required Slates

Before the finished film begins, the media should have…

  • 5 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, and date
  • The official FCSD animated opening -OR- a title card with: This film was made for the Film Con Challenge
  • 2 seconds of black

End Credits

Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated above. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.)

The end credits must include the words: This film was made for the Film Con Challenge

Slates And Credits After The Competition

For any future screenings, online or otherwise, films should retain the pre-film title card that says: This film was made for the Film Con Challenge

Required Media Formats

Your film must be submitted with the following media:

  •  A self-contained HD Quicktime file with no proprietary codecs on either. (preferred) 


Submission Notes

  • We recommend each team submit two copies of the final film.
  • We recommend you make sound levels relatively even throughout your film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the Film Con Challenge. If your film is very dark, it may be difficult to see in your theater.
  • All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they meet the eligibility requirements.

Production Documents

Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases), which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. The film/video will not be screened before the Film Con Challenge Organizers receive the signed releases.

  • Teams will be send a folder with release forms via email  

Certification Statement

The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.


To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original adaptation work of the entrant; must not infringe third-party’s rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or FCC). Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the FCC, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. FCC reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible. FCC also reserves the right to refuse to screen a film or to make an announcement at the screening regarding the content of the film.


No Pre-Screening Distribution

The Entrant should not distribute their entry/video in any way prior to it receiving its official FCC premiere screening. This includes uploading the video to any website or screening the film for groups of anyone other than the team. The Entrant is encouraged to make a trailer of their film and distribute that instead. This trailer should be no longer than 60 seconds.

Official Film Entry

To be certified as an Official Film Entry, each participating group’s film/video production must follow all rules herein. The Film Con Challenge Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified Official Film Entries.

Entries Not Returned

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.


FCC and Project Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.


Refund Schedule

If a team (Entrant) must withdraw from the Film Con Challenge, you may be refunded up to three days after the date of your initial signup. After which, there will be no refunds for any reason.


Team Leader’s Agreement

Entrants will be required to sign the standard FCC Team Leader’s Agreement. If under the legal age of majority in your state of residence, your parent or legal guardian must sign it on your behalf.

As a condition of entry, participants must agree to the Team Leader’s Agreement, which sets forth the rights of Entrant and FCC with respect to the use of Entries by FCC. Entries that do not include all required information and adhere to the foregoing and following requirements will be considered void and will not be considered in this FCC.

Production Costs

All costs associated with the production of the Entry are solely the responsibility of the Entrant.

Judging of Entries

Eligible Entries will be judged based on the judging criteria stated below.

Project Terms of Submission

By submitting an Entry into the FCC, each Entrant warrant and represents that the Entrant owns all rights to the Entry he/she is entering in this Project, including, without limitation, the video or digital recording, and the performance contained in each Entry, with the exception of any assets provided by the FCC for use by Entrants in connection with this Project. Each Entrant further warrant and represents that the Entrant has obtained permission from each person who appears in the Entry to grant the rights to the Project Parties described in these Official Rules, and will submit copies of such permissions to the Project Parties. By submitting an Entry, Entrant agrees to the Official Rules, and further agrees to indemnify and hold the FCC, Project Parties and their respective affiliates, officers, directors, agents, co-branders or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the Project Indemnitees), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Project Indemnitees due to or arising out of the Entrant’s Entry materials in this Project, or the Entrant’s conduct during and in connection with this Project, including but not limited to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation. Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless FCC and the Project Parties from any and all claims that any advertising, presentation, web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of FCC or the Project Parties infringes on the rights of Entrant’s work as contained in any Entry.

Designated Team Leader

If any group of individuals elects to collaborate on an Entry, they are required to designate one (1) person as the agent of the group to enter the FCC, agree to these Official Rules, sign the Team Leader’s Agreement and accept the prize on behalf of the group. Neither FCC nor any of the Project Parties are liable for any disputes between collaborators arising out of or related to the Project.

Selection of Winners

Entries will be judged by a process in which qualified panels of judges will evaluate the eligible entries based on the following judging criteria:

  • Artistic Merit (e.g., Story, Creativity, Entertainment Value) (45%)
  • Technical Merit (30%)
  • Adherence to the Assignment (25%)

Film Con Challenge Project Winner

The top entries will be declared the winner. Up to 4 films will be selected to air on KPBS.  In the event of a tie, additional third party judges will be called upon to judge the tied films and give a new score based on the above criteria. Entrants agree that the FCC has the sole right to decide all matters and disputes arising from this FCC and that all decisions of FCC are final and binding.

General Conditions

By participating, Entrants agree to these Official Rules which are final and binding in all respects. The FCC is governed by the laws of the state of California, and all claims must be resolved in California courts or the Federal courts located in California.

Limitations of Liability and Release

No liability or responsibility is assumed by FCSD or Project Parties resulting from any user’s participation in or attempt to participate in the Film Con Challenge (FCC) or ability or inability to upload or download any information in connection with participating in the Project. No responsibility or liability is assumed by the FCSD or Project Parties for technical problems or technical malfunction arising in connection with any of the following occurrences which may affect the operation of the Project: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, electronic, wireless or Internet connectivity or other online communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or providers; garbled, jumbled or faulty data transmissions; failure of any email transmissions to be sent or received; lost, late, delayed or intercepted email transmissions; inaccessibility of the Website in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestion on the Internet or the Website; unauthorized human or non-human intervention of the operation of the Project, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, worms; or destruction of any aspect of the Project, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility or unavailability of an email account used in connection with the Project. FCSD and Project Parties are not responsible for any typographical errors in the announcement of prizes or these Official Rules, or any inaccurate or incorrect data contained on the Web Site or social media sites maintained by the Film Consortium San Diego. Use of Web Site and the FCSD’s social media sites is at user’s own risk. FCSD and the Project Parties are not responsible for any personal injury or property damage or losses of any kind which may be sustained to user’s or any other person’s computer equipment resulting from participation in the Project, use of the Web Site or the download of any information from the Web Site. By participating in the Project, Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold FCSD and Project Parties harmless from any and all claims, damages or liabilities arising from or relating to such Entrant’s participation in the Project.


First Place will receive $300 towards film festival submissions via FilmFreeway

List of Winners will be posted online at

“Best of” will be Broadcast on KPBS (up to 4 selected films)

All entries will be screened at SD Film Week 2020

All entries are eligible for the 2021 San Diego Film Awards

All entries will receive a submission waiver for the 2020 GI Film Festival San Diego

Project Organizer

Film Consortium San Diego

Mailing Address:

2801 B Street, #30

San Diego, CA, 92102