The SDGs in Action Film Festival, coordinated by the UN DESA Division for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a competition seeking short films that highlight how people and organizations around the world are taking action for the 17 global goals. The Festival was launched in 2018 in connection with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that takes place each July at UN Headquarters in New York. The competition offers amateur and professional filmmakers around the globe the chance to submit animated or live-action films up to 20 minutes long that showcase a person or project working on tangible solutions to the world’s biggest threats and making the SDGs our reality.
Entries will be accepted in the following categories for 2019:
The winning video in each category will be shown at the Festival in July 2019 at or near UN Headquarters in New York, with the winning filmmaker invited to attend and participate in Festival-related activities. The Festival will be free and open to all participants of the HLPF, anyone with a UN grounds pass and members of the public who register through an approved process.
To enter the Festival, participants must upload their film (up to 20 minutes in length) to the site of Freefilmway. In doing so, participants must follow all terms, conditions and policies specified by the site.
Participants must include the YouTube or Vimeo link to their film in the cover letter of their submission as well as contact information. Participants who cannot be contacted, or who withdraw their film from YouTube or Vimeo prior to the announcement of Festival winners, will be automatically disqualified.
Participants may use any type of film or photo technology to complete their entry, including but not limited to video, mobile camera, web camera, photography, animation and artwork.
Submission of film entries will be accepted from 12 a.m. ET on 19 March 2019 and end at 11:59 p.m. ET on 28 April 2019.
Following the deadline, a selection committee comprised of an international jury panel will select 6 finalist films to premiere at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in July 2019. All finalists will be contacted after the judging selection is complete.
The Prize for finalists will be the opportunity for their films to be showcased to the world during the special event at the HLPF, the central UN platform for follow-up and review of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as an invitation to attend the event and a storytelling workshop in New York in July 2019.
The decision by the international panel of judges is considered final and binding.
The Festival is open to all individuals and groups. Employees of the United Nations Secretariat or its agencies, programmes or funds, are not eligible for entries in the Festival.
Participants under 18 years of age may participate with the permission of their parents or legal guardians. If the film of an entrant under 18 years of age is chosen as a semifinalist or finalist, and written parental or guardian permission cannot be provided, the United Nations Secretariat has the right to reject the entry.
Use of copyrighted materials in a film entry, including but not limited to music, trademarks and film or still footage, is prohibited unless the participant has written permission to use such materials. If written permission cannot be provided, the United Nations Secretariat has the right to reject the entry.
Entries can be submitted in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish). However, entries in languages other than English are required to have subtitles in English.
Participants of all films selected as a semifinalist or finalist will be notified via email. If no response is provided within seven days of notification, the winner shall forfeit any and all claims, and will be disqualified. All finalists must also provide the UN with a screenable copy of their films as a condition of accepting their prize. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.
The United Nations Secretariat has the right to show, screen and/or broadcast all accepted entries, in all media, in whole or in part, without limitation for a period of 12 (twelve) months from the contest entry end date. Participants who do not wish for their entry to be shown after the contest entry end date may opt out by submitting their request in writing. Entries awarded finalist status may not opt out, and agree to the above terms as part of accepting their prize.
The United Nations Secretariat will not be responsible or liable for: a) any problem, loss or damage due to delay and/or failure in receiving and sending the entry as a result of any network, communication or system interruption or error, b) any error, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, site failure or unauthorized access to entries, as a result of use of the site Freefilmway and YouTube/ Vimeo, c) any problem, damage or loss of whatever nature to any participant, or their authorized representatives, resulting from their participation in the Festival.
The United Nations Secretariat reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or delay the Festival in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond its reasonable control. The United Nations Secretariat reserves the right to change, amend, delete or add to these Festival terms and conditions at any time. Participants will be notified via Freefilmway of any changes and may withdraw their entry on request.
All decisions are final.
More than 718 entries were submitted to the first SDGs in Action Film Festival, and six entries from around the world were selected as winners. The winning films were screened at UN Headquarters in New York on 11 July 2018. Watch them here: