Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page. All the information you need to know about the MyState Student Film Festival can be found here. BUT! If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, contact us directly, or post your questions on our Facebook page.

Entry Details

What are the entry categories?

Students must enter their film in one of two entry groups; Tasmanian entrants or Regional entrants (for entries from Australian states excluding Tasmania).

There are four (4) entry categories for each group; films must be entered into the category that reflects the age/year group/tertiary level of the film makers.

  • Junior (Kindergarten to Year 4) – Tasmanian and Regional
  • Intermediate (Year 5 – Year 8) – Tasmanian and Regional
  • High School (Year 9 and Year 10) – Tasmanian and Regional and
  • Post Year 10 – University (Year 11 & 12, TAFE, University) – Tasmanian and Regional.
Award Eligibility

Tasmanian entrants are eligible for the major Tasmanian category awards – Junior, Intermediate, High School and Post-Year 10 – University. Tasmanian entrants are also eligible for all other award categories Cash and Prizes will be awarded to the winners of each award category.

Regional entrants are eligible for the major category awards – Junior, Intermediate, High School and Post Year 10 – University. A cash prize will be awarded to the winning film of each Regional Award Category.

Why are there two entry groups – Tasmanian and Regional – in the competition?

We’re always looking at ways we can improve the MyState Student Film Festival. The Festival now attracts student filmmakers from all over Australia so we have opened the competition for national entrants to participate.

Our dream is to create an Australian-wide Festival, attracting filmmakers from all over the country to create films and showcase them nationally with events held in every state, giving students the opportunity to showcase their films in their state.

What is the Feature Item for 2019?

KEY - The feature item is only mandatory for the Junior (Kinder to Year 4), Intermediary (Year 5 to 8) and High School (Years 9 – 10) film entries.

This item can be central to your story, or it can just make a brief appearance, but make sure you include it somewhere!

The Post Year 10 – University film entries can, but don’t have to, use the feature item.

Is there a cost to enter the MyState Student Film Festival?

No. Entry to the MyState Student Film Festival is FREE.

We want to make this opportunity accessible to everyone, and encourage students to apply their imagination and resourcefulness to their filmmaking efforts. Specialised equipment is not necessary— students are encouraged to use whatever resources are at hand to make their films— from phones and iPads to whatever props they may find in their homes, schoolrooms or garages! The focus is on good ideas, stories and working collaboratively to in bringing their concepts to life on the screen.

What is the maximum film length?

Films entered in the Junior & Intermediate categories must be no more than four minutes long (including credits) to be eligible for an award.

Films entered in the High School Category must be no more than five minutes long (including credits) to be eligible for an award.

Films entered in the Post Year 10 – University Category must be no more than eight minutes long (including credits) to be eligible for an award.

Keep your film concise and don’t try to pad it out to reach the time limit. For some filmmakers, it will take a concentrated effort to cut their films down, by eliminating scenes or creating a tighter script. Taking time to edit and refine your work will ultimately lead to a better production.

What if my film is over the time limit?
All films must adhere to the time limit set for the category they are entering to be eligible for an award. Should films go over this time limit; the judging panel will determine if the film remains eligible for an award during the judging process.
Can I enter more than one film into the Festival?
You can enter as many films as you like into the Festival.
What is the deadline for entries and what if my film is submitted late?

Entries are due on Sunday October 27. If there is a technical reason why your film is not able to be submitted by this time, you need to contact us immediately to explain the issue so we can assist in getting your entry in.

What are the Festival Terms and Conditions?

Click here to read the full terms and conditions of the Festival.

If I enter my film in the MyState Student Film Festival, will I still own the copyright to my film or it will be transferred to MyState automatically?
You will still own the copyright to your film, however, as part of the Terms and Conditions of the MyState Student Film Festival, entrants consent to MyState screening the film to the public in various capacities.
Can I enter my film in other festivals?

Yes, as long the first time your film is shown to the public is at the MyState Student Film Festival Awards Event.

Making A Film

What kind of films can I enter?

The Festival is open to short films in any genre—drama, comedy, action, documentary, music video or animation. Story, setting, plot and style are unspecified—the goal is for students to feel inspired, and to MAKE IT!

How do I get started?

Firstly, commit yourself to making a short film. Then, get started.

The MyState Student Film Festival has created filmmaking guides especially for the students and teachers. The guides are step-by-step instructions on the six components of filmmaking, starting with the idea. These can be downloaded from our website here.

Where can I find filmmaking resources?

The Festival website has a range of excellent resources and links to external websites that will give you easy access to helpful filmmaking information and tools. The Resource Kit page is regularly updated with useful and important information, links and teaching support materials. The Festival also has its very own Facebook page, featuring frequent posts of ‘how-to’ clips, advice and other useful filmmaking information.

We will be posting tutorials, tips and tricks on our Facebook page and website throughout the year so like the page and receive notifications to stay up to date.

What if some of the people involved in making the film aren’t students?
People not enrolled as students can still perform acting and voice over roles in the films. They may also provide technical support. However, it is important that the majority of the filmmaking is performed by students.
Do I need to include credits at the end of my film?
Not necessarily. While film credits are an important way of recognising the individual contributions of the people (and any organisations) that have supported the making of the film, we are conscious of minimising students’ privacy online. Therefore, providing details of student’s names in the credits for entries in this Festival is only optional.

Teachers

How much time do I need to commit?

Teachers might consider this the most important question of all! With so many things to fit into the school year, just how much time does it take to make a film? Well, it all depends on how you want to go about it.

Some teachers will decide to make it into a class project – the process of making a film and the steps taken at each stage may be assessable components for students’ learning, particularly in areas of English, Arts, Technologies, and depending on the film’s genre and story content, Humanities and Social Sciences. Some teachers spread out the project over the whole term, while others will dedicate a short time period, such as a few hours over a few weeks to get it done.

Some students have a great idea and will just put it straight to camera and have the film wrapped in a couple of days.

Making a plan and incorporating all of the elements that form part of making a film and setting timeframes to achieve them will give you a good estimate of the time needed to make a film. Importantly, allocate time for delays such as technical issues (equipment failure or editing problems), inclement weather (if filming outdoors), crew illness and even possible delays in the creative process.

Like all good projects, experience shows that some things will happen faster than expected and some things may take a bit longer. But a good plan will allow you to know what stage you are at and what you need to do to reach your goal. Our Resources Kit page has some project plans and checklists that will help you create your filmmaking plan.

How do I get started?

Firstly, commit yourself and your students to making a short film. Then, get started.

Treat making a film like a small project; understand what you want to achieve and then break it down into manageable components. Then break those components down into smaller tasks and allocate responsibilities.

The MyState Student Film Festival has created filmmaking guides especially for the students and teachers. The guides are included in the teacher’s toolkit and also available for download at mystatefilmfestival.com.au. The guides are step-by-step instructions on the six components of filmmaking, starting with the idea.

What sort of short-film do your students want to make? Depending on their area of study or interest, it might be a dramatic film, a comedy, a documentary (or mockumentary), an animation or a music video?

Work out how your students will work together on a film. As a class group, in small groups or if they are older students, working independently and collaborating with other students who have specific skills (such as music composition, IT skills etc) that will complement the film making experience.

Consider what areas of the school curriculum that a film making project will cover – English, Drama, Media and Visual Arts, Music, Humanities and Social Sciences and of course, Technologies. It may be possible to collaborate with teachers specialising in these areas of education that can offer advice and expertise, provide production assistance and support and get their students involved in the project.

The teachers resources page on the Festival’s website have some fantastic tips and suggestions on how to get started from professional filmmakers as well as some project management tools including checklists which can help you start.

Most importantly, remember filmmaking should be enjoyable (unless you’re filming in swampy marshland in two degree temperatures!). Don’t get bogged down with trying to do things perfectly; filmmaking will be trial and error so learn by experience and laugh-off the things that go wrong. As long as everyone has fun and learns something along the way, it is all worthwhile.

Why should my students enter the MyState Student Film Festival?

The Festival will give your students an incredible opportunity to develop their creative skills in writing, story development and filmmaking, as they plan, develop and create their own original short films. But the Festival also helps you and your students to create a positive, constructive environment in which to develop important, lifelong skills of teamwork and collaboration, planning and preparation, project management, critical thinking and problem solving.

Yes, filmmaking can be a lot of fun. But the skills, competencies and teamwork that young people need to apply to produce a short film—including high-level personal communication and social skills—also have a direct, positive influence on their educational and personal development. The diverse nature of the Festival also engages students working within many different learning streams, including English, The Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and Technologies from junior to senior levels.

Your students will also have the very rewarding opportunity to see their work screened before an audience of their peers, teachers, parents and film industry professionals, and potentially share their films with audiences across the world through our online channels. Some films are even screened at other national and international film festivals.

But most of all, the Festival empowers students to put aside any limiting ideas they may have about what they need to be, do or have to be a filmmaker, to test themselves and see what they’re capable of, and to use their ideas, resources and imagination to create something they can feel truly proud of.

Yes, filmmaking can be a lot of fun. But the skills, competencies and teamwork that young people need to apply to produce a short film—including high-level personal communication and social skills—also have a direct, positive influence on their educational and personal development. The diverse nature of the Festival also engages students working within many different learning streams, including English, The Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and Technologies from junior to senior levels.

Your students will also have the very rewarding opportunity to see their work screened before an audience of their peers, teachers, parents and film industry professionals, and potentially share their films with audiences across the world through our online channels. Some films are even screened at other national and international film festivals.

But most of all, the Festival empowers students to put aside any limiting ideas they may have about what they need to be, do or have to be a filmmaker, to test themselves and see what they’re capable of, and to use their ideas, resources and imagination to create something they can feel truly proud of.

What level of support can teachers provide to students in making their films?

Teachers, parents, guardians and other adults will, of course, play a role in supporting students in their filmmaking. The level of support that teachers have in their students’ projects will be relative to the age of the students making the film. Teachers of primary school students will play a larger role in teaching, guiding and supporting their students in their filmmaking experience than those teaching high school, college, TAFE and university students—where their support will be weighted more on the technical aspects of filmmaking.

Students should be responsible for the key filmmaking roles in the project, relative to the age of the student. In general, films must be written, directed, produced and technically executed by students. Teachers, parents and other assistance should be limited to non-creative roles, such as planning and technical advice.

Submitting A Film

How do I enter my film?

Films can be entered via the ENTRY FORM page online.

This page will have an online entry form that needs to be completed and includes an upload section that will allow you to submit your film (video file) directly to the Festival. It is important that you enter all details correctly in the entry form.

What file size should my film be? Is there a maximum file size?
The file size of your entry is up to you, but bear in mind there is a 350MB size limit. Many entrants won’t submit a file size anywhere near this limit, and that’s completely fine. The file size limit will still allow anyone to submit your entry in very good quality. But remember – it’s a limit, not a challenge.
What file type should my film be in?
Entries can be submitted in one of the following file formats: MOV, AVI, WMV, FLV, MP4, MPEGPS, MPEG4, 3GPP, WebM
How long will it take me to upload and submit my entry?
This all depends on how fast your internet connection is and the size of your film file. Large files of 300MB may take over half an hour, but it could take longer depending on your internet connection. If you submit a smaller sized film of about 30MB to 50MB it may only take you about 5 minutes to upload your submission. Please be patient, and make sure you leave yourself enough time to upload all your entries before the deadline.
How should I name my files?

Please include the title of your film, the name of your school/institution and your name (Teacher or Lead Filmmaker) in the video filename (separated by underscores, with no spaces). An example of the best way to name your files is provided below:

Format: FilmTitle_SchoolName_Teacher/LeadFilmmakerName

Example: ThePhoneCall_GreenfieldsHighSchool_KateBrown

What if I am entering more than one film?
Each film must be submitted separately with its own entry form. This way, nothing will get mixed up and you’ll be sure to get the credits for your hard work.
I didn’t get a confirmation email after I submitted my film. How do I check if my film was submitted successfully?

Make sure after uploading your film and entry form file, that you press the ‘Submit entry’ button. Your submission won’t be processed until after you press it. Otherwise, try checking your junk mailbox – it could have accidentally been directed there by your email filters. If you can’t find it there either, email us on info@mystatefilmfestival.com.au or call us on 03 6215 9614 so we can check that is has been received.

I’m not great with Technology. Can I get help submitting my film?

You’ll find that it’s quite a simple process, and we have some guidelines on our entry submission page, but if you feel you need help, try contacting your IT department. Otherwise give us a call on 03 6215 9614.

Technical Issues

If I’m having technical issues, where can I find help?

First of all, don’t panic! There are plenty of experienced people available to help you with any technical issues that you will (inevitably) encounter during the making of the film. As a first step, you or your students should contact the school’s technical department or technical expert. If you need further help, you can email the Festival team at info@mystatefilmfestival.com.au and explain your issue. We have a very supportive group of film experts on hand to help with just these kinds of issues, and we’ll do our very best to help you.

Most importantly, don’t let technical issues undo all your hard work, and prevent you from submitting your film. Most filmmaking problems have a solution, if you know where to find it!

Permissions

What permissions should I have before submitting the film?
In general, you need to seek permission when using music, images, writing and any other materials that are owned by another individual. There is plenty of information available online that explains the proper process for obtaining permission—such as contacting music recording labels or publishers of written materials (books or poetry, for example). If you know who owns the material you want to use (such as a photographer, music composer or illustrator) you may be able to contact them directly for permission. Permission may also need to be sought for the use of actors, set locations, film equipment and props. The issue of copyright is complicated, can take a long time to resolve, and may even induce a licence fee, so it’s important to seek permission early. You can check the Festival website for examples of permission and consent forms and waivers that may be useful. And remember that all permissions, consents, waivers and releases must be submitted along with your entry, via the online entry submission page. Alternatives, such as using royalty-free music, can easily be found online and are often free or require a small fee for use. Always explain to those from whom you are seeking permission, that the film is part of a school project or activity - this may help to minimise fees (and any unwanted complications!).

Music Copyright

What is copyright?
Copyright law in Australia is Federal law, established under the Australian Parliament. It protects literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works, and subject matter such as published editions, sound recordings, broadcasts and films.
Who owns the copyright in a piece of music?
The creator of a piece of music owns the copyright. For example, if I write the music for a song, and you write the lyrics, I own the copyright in the music and you own the copyright in the lyrics. If we write a song together, we each own a percentage of the copyright in the music.
Why do I need to worry about copyright?
Copyright ensures that people who make creative content (musical, literary, dramatic or artistic) are able to protect their content. It is a way in which musicians earn money from their music. Without copyright, many musicians would struggle to continue making music.
How do I know if a song is protected under copyright?
All songs are protected by copyright from the moment they are recorded in a material form, either written down or recorded. In Australia, copyright for a musical work exists for 70 years after the death of the creator, and copyright for a musical recording exists for 70 years after the date of release.
If I want to use music created by someone else, how do I find out who to contact to ask for permission?
If you want to use music for a school project, for instance in a short film, your school has a licence to cover this usage. If you wish to screen the film publicly, or enter it in festivals, you will require permission from the copyright owner. While the creator owns the copyright of their work, sometimes they allow a publisher to speak on behalf of them. You can send an email to print@apra.com.au and AAPRA AMCOS can provide details on who exactly to contact with your request.
What information should I include when asking for permission to use a piece of music?
Most importantly you should include the name of the musical work, and the songwriter/composer. Remember, the songwriter will not always be the artist that performs the work. You should also include how much of the song you would like to use, and where the film will be shown.
How long should I expect to wait to receive an answer from them?
The time that a music publisher takes to respond varies, as they may need to contact the songwriter from whom you’re seeking permission, but it’s always best to allow about 6 weeks. It is always good to remember, the artist has chosen to control their rights in this way, and that allowing people to use their music is entirely up to them.
Are the rules different if I want to post my video on YouTube or social media?
The schools licence will not cover certain rights required to post videos online. ‘Synchronisation rights’ will be required to post a video online. Contact mechres@apra.com.au for help with synchronisation licensing. YouTube already have a licence that covers you for the communication of the work, so if you can get permission to ‘synchronise’ the piece of music, then you can post it to YouTube. Posting it anywhere else online, other than on YouTube, will require you to get the communication licence yourself. You can send an email to digital@apra.com.au for help with the communication licence.
If I use my own music, do I need to copyright it?
In Australia, a work becomes automatically protected by copyright once committed to a physical form (notated, recorded etc.). If you are using your own work, you have the right to use it as you wish and to determine how others use your work as well.
Can I record a cover version of a song to avoid copyright?
The licence that your school holds will cover you to use an audio track whether it’s the original version or a cover you’ve recorded yourself. However, if you’re looking to post a video with music online, you’ll need synchronisation rights, as mentioned before. Synchronisation rights involve getting permission from the publisher and the record label. If using a cover version of a song, you’ll only need permission from the publisher and not the record label.
Can I re-mix/mash up songs to avoid copyright?
Your school’s licence won’t cover you to make remixes and mashups. If you’d like to do this, you need to get permission from the record label of each song involved in the mashup. If you need help with contacting record labels, you can contact ARIA at aria.mail@aria.com.au
Can I write my own words to a song, but use the music?
Changing the lyrics of a song is considered to be an ‘arrangement’. Making arrangements is not covered by the schools’ licence and requires you to get permission from the print publisher of the song involved. You can email print@apra.com.au to find out who the print publisher is of the work you’re looking to use.
If I just use a couple seconds of a song, do I need to worry about copyright?
Yes – in most cases, using a section of a song is treated in the same way as using the whole song, and therefore requires permission.
If I have more questions about music copyright, who should I contact?
Email schools@apra.com.au for any questions you have.
Where can I obtain copyright free music?

There are a lot of free and cheap places on the internet where you can get pre-made music and sound effects to put in your film. Always make sure the music you’ve found is legally okay to use.

Here are some worthy starting points:

  • www.archive.org has an archive of free music that is out of copyright
  • www.freesound.org has free sound effects
  • www.creativecommons.org is a database for all kinds of media covered by a Creative Commons copyright licence. Depending on the license specified, you may be able to use a piece by simply crediting the author. Be sure to carefully check the license next to each piece to make sure you follow its requirements.

If you’ve got some spare cash you can buy stock music to use in your film. Here’s a few websites to get you started:

The other option is to write and record your own music. Software like Music Maker Jam (Microsoft), Garage Band or Fruity Loops make it quite easy, and they include instrument loops you can piece together if you can’t record instruments yourself.

Awards And Prizes

When will the Award Winners be announced?

The winners of each award will be announced at the coveted MyState Student Film Festival Awards Event which is being held at the Theatre Royal in Hobart Tuesday 3rd December 2019.

How is the prize money distributed?

Each Award has either prize money or a prize that has a nominated value attached to it. Depending on which category your film is entered, if you are an award winner your prize money or prize will be distributed as follows:

  • The prize money and/ or prizes awarded to the winning films in the Junior, Intermediate and High School categories will be given to the School or other recognised Educational facility or Recreational Group in which the student filmmakers attend.
  • The prize money and / or prizes will not be awarded directly to the individual(s) involved in making the film in the Award Categories.
  • MyState has no say in how or to whom the prize is distributed by the school. This is the responsibility of the school at their discretion.
  • The prize money and/ or prizes awarded to the winning films in the Post Year 10 – Uni category will be given to the lead filmmaker as listed in the online entry form. The distribution of the prize will be at the discretion of the lead filmmaker.
  • MyState has no say in how or to whom the prize is distributed by the filmmaker.
Why isn’t the prize money given directly to the film maker(s) in the Junior, Intermediate and High School categories if they win?

Making a film is a complex process that may involve just one person, a few people or a whole range of individuals. There are many different roles that people play when it comes to making a film (there’s the director, cinematographer, sound designer, editor, producers, actors and many other roles). Then who owns the equipment, story and music rights, etc.

Sometimes it’s a simple equation, sometimes it’s more complex. Without knowing the intricacies about who was responsible for what in the making of the film, MyState leaves that responsibility to the School entering the film who should make the responsible decision on who receives the prize money.

Ok, so why is it given to the lead film maker in the Post Year 10 – University Category?

The films received in the Post Year 10 – University category are often made independently. The age group of the film makers in this category allow them the responsibility of determining the fair distribution of the prize money and/or prize.

How is the prize money distributed?

The prizes or prize money that is awarded to winning films entered in the Junior, Intermediate and High School categories will be given to the school that the student filmmaker(s) attend (as nominated on the online entry form). It is then the responsibility of the school to distribute the award proceeds as they wish.

The prizes or prize money awarded to winning films entered in the Post Year 10-University category will be given to the lead filmmaker, as detailed in the online entry form. The distribution of the prize is then at the discretion of the lead filmmaker.

MyState has no influence or authority regarding the distribution of prize money or prizes.

The 2019 Award Categories can be found here.

Judging

Who is on the judging panel?

The Festival is honoured to have a panel of esteemed judges with a collective wealth of film industry experience that spans many years. The judging panel is made up of filmmakers, directors, producers and teachers, as well as actors, media broadcasters, arts industry professionals, and government representatives. Our judges volunteer their time for the rigorous judging process and respectfully critique each film. They are incredibly passionate about film and filmmakers in Tasmania and provide great support to the Festival through advice, initiative and sharing their experience and knowledge. Our judges also act as advisors and mentors to students who demonstrate enthusiasm and potential in filmmaking at the completion of each Festival.

How are the films judged?

The films undergo two stages of judging—an initial screening, at which films are assessed and finalists for the individual award categories are chosen. A second round of judging follows and the winning films in each category are decided. The winning films are announced at the official screening and awards ceremony in December.

Some categories are sponsored by the Festival’s important partners, and these awards are judged by the representing award category sponsor. For example, The Premier of Tasmania personally watches and judges the films that are shortlisted in the Premier’s Award category, and he announces his selected winner and presents their Award at the award ceremony.

The 2019 Judging Criteria can be found here.

How can I get feedback about my film from the judges?

If you would like some feedback about your film, shoot us an email at info@mystatefilmfestival.com.au

When will I be notified if I am a finalist?

All finalists will receive a phone call in the last week of November to notify them that their film has been selected as a finalist.

Awards Event

When is the Awards Event?

On Tuesday the 3rd of December 2019 the Festival’s annual Awards Event will unfold at the Theatre Royal, Hobart. Students, teachers, parents, and the general public are invited to walk the red carpet and enjoy an afternoon of fantastic original films, as we celebrate the hard work and achievements of our entrants.

This event provides an incredible opportunity for student filmmakers to see the finalist films on the big screen, be part of an audience of their fellow filmmakers, teachers, parents and film industry experts, and feel justifiably proud of their great efforts!

Is the Awards Event free?

Yes, there is no cost to attend the Awards Event, but you must remember to book your tickets on the Awards Event page (coming soon) to make sure you have a seat.

What is the maximum number of tickets I can book to the Awards Event?

There is no maximum booking, but seats are limited, so stay tuned for ticket announcements and get in quick!

Screenings

Where will the films be screened?

In addition to the initial screening of winning films at the awards ceremony in December, the Festival receives regular requests for its films to be screened at a range of public events, including festivals, community events and public screenings. The films are also available online and have a global audience via the Festival’s YouTube Channel. After each Festival, some filmmakers enter their films into other national and international film festivals which give them even more exposure on the world stage.