Calling all student filmmakers! 

With the support of Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Hawaiʻi Women In Filmmaking, HawaiiKidsCAN is hosting the Hawaii Youth Advocacy Film Contest to tell the story of how the new vote by mail initiative is coming this 2020 election year, and how it will affect voters who have disabilities. In a 1-minute public service announcement (PSA).

Our contest is a chance to elevate diversity and inclusion, too! The film contest is open to all youth in Hawaii, with inclusion of filmmakers who are individuals with disabilities.

This is no ordinary contest, there will be mentors to support you in your process, and virtual filmmaking workshops included!

All Hawaii students from K-12 are encouraged to enter the competition. Winning films will be shown at the 2020 Hawaii Children and Youth Summit, featured on public television, and receive prizes. Scroll down to learn more below about submission guidelines, deadlines and more!


    The Hawaii Youth Advocacy Film Contest is not an ordinary film contest, we will have online opportunities to grow your skills as a filmmaker, and support you in the filmmaking process.

  • The competition is open to all Hawaii students from K-12!
  • Students can submit individual or group entries
  • Individuals may have one adult mentor*
  • Groups may not include more than five students and one adult mentor.*

*Adult mentors may serve as resources to the filmmaker(s), but will not create the film.


1. Tell the story

  • The content of your film should explain the new Hawaiʻi State vote by mail process, from what it takes to register to vote, and how someone votes, with the focus on how vote by mail will affect persons with disabilities.
  • The filmmaking crew, or someone in the video must include a person who has disabilities.
  • The short film must be a length of 1 minute, not including the credits.

We encourage the creative freedom to choose your methods of presenting the story! That could mean live action, animation or a combination.

Need to do some research? Take a look at our resource pages with the links below:

2. Representing the diversity of voters in Hawaiʻi

Our state has the unique strength of great diversity. Short films must include a person who has a disability in either the film-making crew or in the film itself. Representation can include a background role. The person(s) should have a say in how they want to be portrayed.

3. Watch the clock

Submissions must run less than 1 minute, not including credits.

4. Family friendly

Submissions must be appropriate for all ages. No mature or graphic content (blood, violence, nudity).

5. Know licensing rights

Use of copyrighted material such as music or additional film material must require permission from the source. The responsibility for this rests entirely with the filmmaker. All music and other copyrighted material used in films must be properly licensed and documented in the credits on the film and on the Submission Form, by indicating the title of the music, its composer and its performer(s) in the credits.

Learn more here about music licensing options!

Sign-up to Participate!

  • Interested filmmakers must submit an Intent to Participate (click here for the link). We will accept participants on a rolling basis. Fill out this form so we can invite you to our virtual filmmaking and inclusion workshops!
  • We will contact you to explain the film contest guidelines, and answer your questions
  • Someone from your filmmaking team must attend, or watch our HYAFC Kick-Off Virtual Meeting on Sunday March 15th, 2020

Submission Deadlines

  • Film Contest Kick-Off  Virtual Meeting: Sunday March 15th, 2020
  • If you want feedback on your work (feedback can include script, storyboard, unedited film roll) early feedback draft due: Friday, April 17th, 2020
  • Feedback will be returned to filmmaker: Friday, April 24th, 2020
  • The final submission deadline Monday, May 18th, 2020
    We will inform the winners of their honors—first, second or third place—by May 31st, 2020

Awards & Prizes

  • Films will also be shared for use by non-profit organizations, Hawaii State Government departments, including the Department of Education.
  • Films will be shown at the 2020 Hawaii Children and Youth Summit.
  • Top winners will receive an award and prize.
  • Not all entries may receive a prize.

Got Questions? Contact us!

Aisha Heredia
Text: 808-866-7568


Please explore resources below to help you make your film.

Background on Vote By Mail

Background on Inclusion

Background on Music Licensing Options