Frequently Asked Questions

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 twelve months prior to the entry deadline. Between May 1, 2019 and May 2020.
  • 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.

What media formats do you accept for submissions?
Entries may be submitted in the following formats:

  • Screening quality QuickTime/ .MOV or MP4 files on USB Drive. We do not accept entries posted or uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook, or other social media or sharing sites.
  • Screenplays must be submitted on USB Drive as PDF documents. Printed or emailed screenplays are not accepted.

Is there a fee to submit a project?
Yes. The fee is determined by when your project is submitted.

  • Early Bird Deadline – Submission Fee $15.00
  • Regular Deadline – Submission Fee $25.00

Submission Fees are payable by check or money order made out to Trustees of the CSU.

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.

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?
If the project was completed while you were enrolled as a CSU student and 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?
A CSU faculty or staff member may submit a project on behalf of a student, however the student’s name and contact information must be listed on the entry form. A CSU faculty or staff member may not be listed as the director or producer of the work, but may be executive producer or advisor. The faculty or staff member must provide payment for the entry at the time of submission.

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 in each category. 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?
Category winners receive a Media Arts Festival Award and $750. The Best in Show winner receives an additional Media Arts Festival Award and an additional $1000 for a total of $1750. The winner of Audience Choice receives a Media Arts Festival Award and $750. Finalists receive place certificates. The media departments of the winning entries will receive $100 for each winning entry.

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. Please do not send your only or master copy.

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 mail or 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?

  • 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.