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The FYI competition: What, when, how

Find out about the Film Your Issue competition.

"Issue films" should be no less than 30 seconds and no more than 60 seconds in length.

May 21, 2006

Who Can Participate
Any American resident between the age of 18 to 26

There are five categories.  While you may choose ANY issue, if you choose one of the sub-categories (2-5), there will be additional presentation platforms, for the winning finalists.

The top-voted entry in each of the five categories below will be broadcast on mtvU, MSN Video and, receive a Motorola RAZR cellphone and be flown to New York City (along with their academic adviser, when applicable)  for presentation of your entry and the cocktail reception in the Delegates Dining Room of United Nations Headquarters.

1.  Open / any issue

2.   UN Millennium Development Goals/ Global Issues, in association with The United Nations.  The Millennium Development goals were jointly established by 191 countries in 2000, with a goal to reduce poverty with achievable goals, by 2015.  Between 10 and 25 top finalist entries in this category will be presented at a panel and screening at UN Headquarters.  Information on UN Millennium Development goals can be found at

3.  Animal Welfare, in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States.   Finalists in this category will be broadcast on the Humane Society of the United States Web site.

4.  The Arts as Global Diplomat, the bridge between cultures and communities, focusing on the power of arts to bridge understanding between cultures and countries, or using the example of an individual artist or artists or performing troupe as powerful global bridge, partnership with the USC Center for Public Diplomacy.  Between 10 and 25 top finalist entries in this category will be presented at a panel and screening in Washington to opinion leaders and government officials.

5.  Music-driven, whether solo performer, band or music-video style to tell the issue.  The exciting presentation platform for this entry is currently being developed. 

Style and Content
Any social issue that elicits passion for you, from AIDS to homelessness to healthcare to discrimination. Any approach is welcome, using honesty, humor, seriousness to present an society issue that you feel strongly about.

We encourage raw, open, honest expression, as well as inventive cinematic and creative approach.

Neither the VIP judges nor public voting are looking for generic, polite "well-intentioned" brief films.  We want a dynamic take on an issue, and cinematic style that progresses the idea you are presenting.

Make your own rules. Break the rules.  We want uncensored, unzipped, truthful. You can use bold or rude comedy or searing harsh truth, you can be flashy or minimalist.  Obviously, no pornography, nudity, overt swearing that violates FCC standards -- you do want your winning entry broadcast on venues from mtvU to NBC or whoever, after all!

The objective is to craft a 30 to 60 second film that illuminates an issue within our society, or America, or globally, that touches hearts or changes minds. It can be a call to action.

Live-action, animation, or a combination of both. 
Windows media file only
Video resolution 320 by 240
250k bitrate
Audio: stereo 2 pass CBR 48K

We will only accept digital submissions via e-mail/Internet.  We will provide instructions how to upload.

Content and Censorship
We would like it as unregulated and uncensored as possible -- but! there are legal constraints about copyright and obscenity.

Because the finalists will be presented online via Microsoft; on mtvU; and other broadcast and internet platforms, crossing legal boundaries into pornography, libel, excessive obscenity and copyright infringement will void your submission. So go to the edge -- but recognize the boundaries.  Check with us if you have a question about those boundaries.

Otherwise, it's up to you.

Judging Process / Criteria
The first cut will be done by the FYI/ FILM YOUR ISSUE ThinkTank.

Semifinalists will be then be presented to the VIP panel of judges and public to select the winners.  The semifinalists' entries will be mounted on MSN Video, and public voting will be conducted on

Criteria include:
Overall impact:  dynamic/ persuasive / informational/ emotionally moving / focused message

Originality:  concepts / ideas / format

Cinematic Style: camera angles/ editing/ acting/ direction/ lighting, etc.

Within specific sub-categories, like Animal Welfare, Global Issues/ UN Millennium Development Goals and Arts as Bridge between Communities and Cultures, laser-beaming those specific subjects will be key.

For more information visit the FYI - Film Your Issue Web site.