SDGs in Action
Film Festival

11 July 2019

Webcast (Opening)


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.

SDgs in Action Film Festival 2019

Entries will be accepted in the following categories for 2019:

  • Protecting our planet
  • Reducing inequalities
  • Building peace
  • Ensuring quality education and jobs
  • Young Filmmaker (24 years old or younger)
  • SDGs in Virtual Reality/360 degrees

The winning video in each category will be shown at the Festival on 11 July 2019 at UN Headquarters in New York, with the top filmmakers 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 here by 30 June 2019.

  • Information
  • 11 July
    6:00-9:00 pm
    Conference Room 1, UNHQ


    Public registration to attend the 2019 SDGs in Action Film Festival has closed. If you have a UN grounds pass, you do not need a special event ticket, and you can proceed directly to Conference Room 1 after having passed through the UN security screening at the UN visitor’s entrance.

    If you have already registered, you would have received an email confirming your place, and with the following information:

    Information on ticket collection:

    Only participants that have received the confirmation email from the UN Secretariat can collect their name-specific special event tickets to access the meeting venue. Please note that the special event tickets are non-transferrable and registration on the spot will not be accepted.

    The special event tickets will be distributed to the confirmed participants outside the UN visitor’s entrance gate, located on 1st Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets, on Thursday, 11 July, from 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. Please look for the meeting organizers holding “SDG Film Festival” signs. You must bring a government-issued photo ID to collect the name-specific special event ticket.

    After collecting the special event ticket, the participants will proceed through the UN security screening at the UN visitor’s entrance. Participants are encouraged to arrive before 5:30 p.m. to give sufficient time for security screening. Please note that you will not be able to check in or bring any large suitcases or bags. We apologize for this inconvenience and kindly ask you that you plan accordingly.


    • Alcohol
    • Food
    • Beverages
    • Chairs
    • Tables

    Please review the full list of items prohibited from bring brought onto UN grounds:

    Please do bring a small blanket to sit on the Lawn. No chairs will be provided.

    In the case of rain or predicted rain, the event will be held inside UNHQ in Conference Room 1, accessible on the ground floor. Seating will be limited inside and is first-come, first-served.

    Terms and conditions

    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 26 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.

    2018 Winners

    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:

    1. "The Box" directed by Merve Cirisoglu Cotur

    2. "Fish's New Life", directed by Mustapha Benghernaout

    3. "The Husband Schools", directed by Sam Liebmann

    4. "Lampedusa Turtle Group", directed by Salvatore Tuccio

    5. "Nature", directed by Hadi Mostafa

    6. "Patch", directed by Dipo Dairo

    2019 Winners

    Protecting Our Planet: “Aquastory” by Marina Lobo, Portugal

    Young Filmmaker for the SDGs: “One Million Lights Zambales,” by Carmel Limcaoco, Philippines

    Ensuring Quality Education and Jobs: “Turning a Page” produced by Carver Bacchus, Trinidad and Tobago (Miguel Galofré, director)

    Building Peace: “Kumekucha: It's A New Dawn,” by Angi Yoder-Maina, Kenya

    SDGs in Virtual Reality/360 degrees: “River of Mud,” by Tadeu Jungle, Brazil

    Reducing Inequalities: “Sadok (honest)” by Geraldine Ottier, Italy

    United Nations