UPDATE: April 3, 2020

We’re making changes to the 2020 competition submission process. Updated information will be posted in the coming weeks. Stay safe and keep creating!



Animation – traditional, 2D, 3D, stop-motion, flip book, flash, etc.
Documentary – non-fictional presentation of social and/or historical event, person, object, etc. Short-form and Long-form.
Experimental – abstract, avant-garde, non-narrative, non-linear form
Interactive Media – video games, VR, AR, UX (please include appropriate materials and equipment to be able to view, access, and interact with media, as well as instructions for use. Playable on its own format rather than downloadable to computer as not every computer allows the download of new software. Indicate compatibility platform, PC, Mac, etc. Must be universally accessible.)
Narrative – linear story, drama, comedy, dramedy.
Other – none of the categories seem to fit, so entrant can let the MAF decide.
Promotional – ads, commercials, music videos, promos, public service announcements (PSA)
Short Screenplay – written work up to 35 pages (not including cover page). Submissions more than 35 pages will not be accepted. Must be formatted to industry standard.
Television, News – news packages featuring a reporter, newscasts featuring one or more anchors, news magazines, public affairs programs, etc. .
*Categories featured in the past may not appear on this current list. Most notably, this includes Music Video, Motion Design, Television Episodic, and Television Variety. Some categories are on hiatus as we evaluate all aspects of the CSU Media Arts Festival.


  • Entrants must be current or recent former students of the California State University.
  • Entries may be submitted by the student director, producer, writer, and/or creator.
  • Entries must have been produced and completed while the entrant was enrolled at a CSU campus between May 1, 2019 and May 2020 (Spring Quarter 2019 for Quarter Campuses, only.).
  • The CSU Media Arts Festival is unable to accept submissions in any category that use or feature copyright-protected materials (music, images, intellectual property, etc).
  • Projects previously submitted to the CSU Media Arts Festival are ineligible for re-entry, unless not accepted for too few category entries in the previous submission cycle. Projects previously submitted to any other festivals are eligible.
  • Entries that do not meet submission requirements will be disqualified. Entrant(s) will be notified of disqualification, however, neither the submission materials nor the entry fee(s) will be returned or reimbursed.


  • The CSU Media Arts Festival is unable to accept submissions in any category that use or feature copyright-protected materials (music, images, intellectual property, etc).
  • This restriction includes use of copyright-protected music for music videos, background music in a scene, use of a film or television scene, etc.
  • Entrants who have specific questions about the use of copyright-protected materials are encouraged to contact Shannon Pringle, Director, at springle@calstate.edu


    EARLY BIRD DEADLINE:  Monday, May 4, 2020 – $15 (postmarked)
    REGULAR DEADLINE: Monday, May 18, 2020 – $25 (received, in hand)
    Submission fees are per project entered, not per entrant.
  2. Check or money order payable to Trustees of the CSU. We are unable to accept credit cards, debit cards, or electronic payments at this time. DO NOT send cash. If submitting multiple entries, entrant may submit one check or money order for all entries. Indicate entry names in the memo section.
  3. Each project/piece must have a complete and separate signed ENTRY FORM. There is no limit to the number of entries per entrant.
  4. For projects/pieces with more than two contributors, print and complete the appropriate number of “Additional Entrants” forms and have all contributors include contact information, initials, and signatures.
  5. Clearly label each project as separate digital QuickTime/.MOV, MP4, PDF (for Screenplay, only), or interactive media files on  USB drive. Campuses submitting multiple entries for students from their departments may submit entries on an external hard drive formatted for Mac and PC, or USB drive large enough to accommodate all materials.
  6. Entrants may submit multiple projects on a single USB drive as long as the submissions are clearly labeled by category and project.
  7. Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, and VCDs with separate video and audio files not accepted. Printed or emailed screenplays not accepted. Screenplays must be PDF files on USB drive. Entries submitted via formats not accepted by the CSU Media Arts Festival will not be accepted.
  8. Entries not accepted via email, file sharing, or video sharing or hosting service such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
  9. Use a permanent marker to identify media. DO NOT affix adhesive labels or tape to media.
  10. Submit the final and finished version of the project as the version screened by the judges will be the version screened at the festival if work is selected as a finalist. Updated, edited, or “completed” versions will not be accepted after the deadline.
  11. All entries/media become property of the CSU Media Arts Festival and will not be returned.
  12. MAIL: Entry Form, Payment, and Media to:

CSU Media Arts Festival
Office of the Chancellor
401 Golden Shore, 2nd Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802



  • All entries meeting the submission requirements will be viewed or read by a faculty selection committee to determine the finalists in each category. The CSU Media Arts Festival reserves the right to withhold finalist status and/or award in any category that does not meet a minimum number of qualified entries or for poor scores.
  • Finalists will be notified by email by September 2020 for the 2020 season. Please provide a current, valid, and regularly-checked email address.
  • Finalist projects will be viewed or read by a jury of media industry professionals to select the winners in each category, and the winner of Best in Show. The Audience Choice Award winner is selected at the festival by the audience of the finalist screening.
  • A public screening of the finalists and the awards ceremony will be held in Fall 2020 for the 2020 season. Due to copyright rules, finalist screenplays will not be read or distributed publicly.
  • Awards will be presented during the festival. Finalists not in attendance will be notified of the status of their projects by email following the festival.
  • All awards are presented to the student writer(s), director(s), producer(s), or creator(s) listed on the entry form(s). If more than one writer, director, producer, or creator has submitted jointly, the cash award will be split evenly between the entrants and each entrant will receive a Media Arts Festival Award.
  • Prizes:
    • $750 for each category winner (split evenly between multiple entrants for given project). Certificates for place finalists.
    • $1000 for Best In Show winner (split evenly between multiple entrants for given project). The Best in Show winner is chosen from the pool of category winners.
    • $750 for the Audience Choice winner. This winner is chosen by the audience at the Festival from all screened finalists.
  • Note – If two or more students jointly submit the project, all names and signatures must be included on the entry form(s). Names not included on the entry form cannot be added at a later time, nor are those students eligible for trophies, certificates, or prize money.

EMAIL: springle@calstate.edu
CALL: 562-951-4068
VISIT: www.MediaArtsFestival.org

ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY the DEADLINE DATES with the correct submission fees
EARLY BIRD DEADLINE:  Monday, May 4, 2020 – $15 (postmarked)
REGULAR DEADLINE: Monday, May 18, 2020 – $25 (received, in hand)

Check the MAF Frequently Asked Questions page on the MAF website for helpful tips for entrants: MAF FAQs