Frequintly Asked Questions

Can teachers work on a student film?

This question has been asked in various ways, over the years. Can I help with lighting? The cinematographer was out for a week, so I stood in for them. Is that OK? The students and I wrote an excellent script...

The short answer is no.

  1. It gives teachers a vested interest in placing high in the ranks and;

  2. It gives the students the preconceived notion of “doing well” because a teacher has had a hand in making the short. In theory, a film with a teacher as a cast member should do great. That’s not always the case. And typically, any film I’m asked to critique, after the fest, had a teacher as a crew member.

Any adult can work with students as cast. I strongly encourage teachers to educate, mentor, guide, and cheerlead students through the process. In fact, I (passive-aggressively) beg them to do so.

Here's the bottom line.

Please please please, help your students with brainstorming, demonstrating, and CRITIQUING. Support them by acting in their film. But never invest as a crew member, to the point where students are listing you in the credits.

ONLY students as crew members. See Rules.

If I submit my film, am I guaranteed to screen at the festival?

No. Your film is submitted for consideration to screen at the Festival. We will be receiving entries from around the state and each film will be previewed and ranked by our Festival Selection Committee. Top-ranked films will be placed in our two-hour screening block. Films selected to screen at the Festival will be announced on this website.

When you say "film festival," does that mean my project can only be shot on film?

You can produce your project in any film or video format. Any project, shot on any format, is considered a “film.”

Does the 7-minute time limit include my film's titles or end credits?

Yes. A film’s run time is counted from frame one to frame last. Your beginning and end credits are a part of the film’s content and are a part of your time limit.

Can I use copyrighted music in my project?

Only if you have permission to use it. If your film uses copyrighted music and you 1) don't have proper permission and 2) do not credit it in the film, it will not be eligible.

How do I submit a team-produced project?

Projects can be a part of a class project or done individually. If the film is a class project, typically the film is made by a team. The festival allows a project to have an official submission team of up to four (4) crew members. These members may include writer, director, camera, editing, or any other primary production position. Actors are not included as project team members. The submission packet must be completed by a designated team leader, usually the director of the film. Up to three (3) other members can be listed elsewhere on the form. Make sure that all members of the production team (again, up to 4) are listed on the submission form. Only those listed on the submission form will be officially recognized should the film be selected to screen and/or receive any awards.

Why aren't submissions judged by category or genre?

The New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival believes that all projects, regardless of genre, are intended to apply cinematic storytelling that is inherently engaging and should be appreciated on their own merit without being defined and judged by category. For instance, a dramatic narrative should be just as compelling as a documentary. An experimental film should evoke as much emotion as an animated piece. How the filmmaker works with the medium to achieve an overall reaction from the viewer is ultimately the foundation upon which our judging is based.

Should I have actors in my film sign a release form?

While the New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival does not require copies of signed actor release forms for film consideration, it is recommended that you keep signed release forms for your actors on file. If you have anyone under the age of 18 appearing in your film, you will also want to have a release form signed by their parent(s) or guardian(s). It may be added paperwork for you, but this is good practice to protect yourself if you are interested in showing your project in other film festivals, posted to the Internet, or having it broadcast on television.