Frequently Asked Questions

Changes have been made to the submission process and competition for the 2021 cycle. For 2021, we are again accepting submissions in multiple categories. See the ENTER page for details.  Entry fees are waived for 2021. 

How is the 2021 Media Arts Festival competition different from previous years?
in 2020, we accepted only those projects 30-seconds/3-pages, or shorter. For 2021, we go back to accepting multiple categories. Submissions accepted online via Google Drive, and the entry fee is waived for 2021. The method of accepting entries and the entry feel will change in the future. 

I created a 30-second/3-page project that I didn’t get to submit for 2020. Can I submit that this year?
Yes! Just select your category and submit that masterpiece.  

I/We created our project during the 2019/2020 academic year and didn’t get to submit it because of the 30-second/3-page limit last year. Can we submit a project from that year?
Yes, for the 2021 cycle we are accepting projects created between May 1, 2019 and May 31, 2021. So, two full academic years.

Can I resubmit my 30-second/3-page project from 2020 in the 2021 competition?
No, you may not submit the same project again, however, if your 30-second/3-page project was a shortened version of a longer project, you may submit that longer project to the 2021 competition cycle.

Is there a limit to the number of entries that can be submitted?
No, there is not a limit to the number of entries to submit, however, submit entries within reason and that represent your strong work. If you have a work-in-progress, it would be prudent to wait until that work is complete before submitting it, especially since you are not able to submit the same project twice.

I’ve already graduated or am no longer enrolled. Can I still submit my project?
Yes, as long as the project was completed while you were enrolled and between May 1, 2019 and May 31, 2021. You will still need to indicate a faculty/staff member who can vouch for your entry.

Who is eligible to enter the Media Arts Festival competition?
CSU students who are the director, producer, or creator on the project are eligible to enter the Media Arts Festival. In the case of screenplay entries, student screenwriters are eligible to submit their scripts.
Students can be currently enrolled students or recent graduates as long as they and their entries meet the following criteria:

  • The student director, producer, creator, or writer must have been enrolled at a CSU campus for at least one semester or quarter during the academic year prior to the entry deadline. Between May 1, 2019 and May 31, 2021.
  • The work being entered must have been produced while the entrant was enrolled at a CSU campus in conjunction with a film, broadcasting, communications, art, design, electronic media, or other program. For 2021, entrants may also be recent graduates or enrollees.

What media formats do you accept for submissions?
Entries must be uploadable video or PDF files that are 5GB or smaller.

Is there a fee to submit a project?

  • For the 2021 cycle, there are no submission fees. 
  • For future competitions, there will be submission fees.

I was not the director, producer, or writer of the project I want to submit, but I worked on the film. Can I submit the project to the MAF?
No. Only the student director, producer, writer, or creator is eligible to submit the project to the MAF. This person can add other contributors to the list of people to receive credit and/or to share the prizes.

I worked on this project with many other people, including people who were not CSU students. Is my project eligible for submission?
As long as the director, producer, creator, and/or writer is a CSU student and meets all other submission criteria, the project is eligible for submission.

I’m a recent graduate of the CSU. Can I still submit my entry?
As long as the project was created within the designated time frame for submission, you may submit your entry.

Can a CSU faculty or staff member submit a project on behalf of a student?
Students must complete and submit their own entries.

Is there a limit to the number of entries I can submit?
No. There is not a limit to the number of entries one person or team can submit.

Can I resubmit a film to the Media Arts Festival if my project did not get chosen in a previous year?
No. Projects previously submitted to the Media Arts Festival are not eligible for resubmission unless the project was not accepted the previous cycle because we received too few submissions in that category. Projects eligible for resubmission may be no more than one-cycle old.

I’m still working on my project. Can I submit the unfinished version and then if I am chosen as a finalist, can I submit the finished version for the screening?
No. Whatever version you submit for judging will be the version that will be presently publicly if chosen as a finalist.

If I have submitted my film to another competition, can I submit it to the Media Arts Festival?
Yes. The Media Arts Festival accepts projects submitted to other festivals as long as other submission requirements are met.

If I am chosen as a finalist, who will see my project?
Your project will be screened at the Media Arts Festival. Students, faculty, and staff from throughout the CSU system are invited to attend the screening and awards ceremony. The public is also invited to attend the screening. Your work will also be among those projects featured on the MAF website, social media, and publicity.

Does anyone see my project if I am not chosen as a finalist?
Yes. The first round of judges will have seen your project. Projects not chosen to be finalists are not screened at the festival.

What is the finalist selection process? Who chooses the winners?
All entries are judged by CSU faculty members who select the finalists. The entries are then judged by entertainment industry professionals who select the winners in each category and the Best in Show winner. The Best in Show winner is chosen from among the category winners. The Audience Choice winner is selected by the public audience at the screening. Winners are announced at the awards ceremony.

What is the prize for winning?
For the 2021 cycle, all finalists will receive a prize. There will also be the opportunity for Best in Show and Audience Choice.

I don’t have fancy equipment or a large production budget. Will my project still be considered if it is not as highly produced as others?
Yes, of course. Judges tell us that what is most important is the quality of the story, the delivery, and creativity and imagination.

After the Festival, will I get my submission back?
No. We are not able to return submissions.

Can I invite my family to the screening and awards ceremony?
Yes, please do! All attendees will need to RSVP for the screening and awards ceremony. Attendance information will be emailed to entrants at the beginning of the Fall semester or quarter.

If my project wins at the Festival, how will I find out that I won if I am unable to attend the awards ceremony?
Winners not in attendance will be notified by email following the Festival.

If I am not a finalist, can I still attend the screening and awards ceremony?
Yes, absolutely. Come to the MAF to support your fellow students, network with other students and industry professionals, and see the awesome work being produced by the students of the CSU.

What happens to the projects after the Festival?
Winning projects will be posted to the Media Arts Festival website and social media outlets.

Are there any suggestions for entrants? What kind of feedback have you gotten from judges about entries?

  • Create your work safely, following social distancing and other Covid-prevention protocols.
  • View your project all the way through in real time. Make sure that your submission works and has all of the elements that it is supposed to have. We have received entries that are missing the audio track, freeze unexpectedly in the middle of the piece, etc.
  • Submit a clean, scratch-free, and distortion-free project. If scratches, dropped audio, and distortion are intentional, leave the project as you created it!
  • Make sure that your lens is clean and that your audio is clear.
  • Capture your audience early in the piece. Don’t make people wait for the good part that is buried in the middle of the project.
  • Keep the project moving along. Pacing is a big issue.
  • Make sure that the audio and the video are in sync.
  • Competition Entry Form