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Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire, educate, and inform the next generation of visual storytellers. We believe film to be one fo the most influential mediums of expression with the innate ability to create positive change in our communities. By reaching out to young creatives now, we hope to set in motion a new wave of innovative thinkers and filmmakers. 

The who, what, when, where, and how

Who  - Any and all high school students are eligible to participate

What - The Compass College of Cinematic Arts Student Film Festival is a festival tailored to young filmmakers in the West Michigan area. 2021-2022 is our inaugural year!

When and Where - Deadline for submissions is January 7, 2022. A screening of select films will be held January 22, 2022 at Compass College

How - Films will be submitted in a short form narrative structure that utlizes the "prompts" provided by Compass College. Submissions will be judged on screenplay, cinematography and lighting, editing and sound design, directing and acting, costume and set design, and use of prompts

Prizes and Awards

First Place - $4,000 scholarship to Compass College of Cinematic Arts

Second Place - $2,000 scholarship to Compass College of Cinematic Arts

Third Place - $1,000 scholarship to Compass College of Cinematic Arts
Scholarships are stackable year over year (max $7,500) and split evenly between five terms for AAS and ten terms for BFA

Grand Prize

First place will also win a Black Magic 6k Cinema Camera and an Amaran 100d LED light kit for their school
The "school" awarded the grand prize must either (i) have an established A/V or FIlm program or; (ii) allow Compass College of Cinematic Arts to work with and establish an A/V or film program at the institution

2021-2022 Festival Prompts

Your film can (almost) be about anything. Science fiction, drama, spaghetti western, horror...the choice is yours.

However, each entry must include two of the prompts below. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from festival consideration. Submissions will be judged on creativy and use of prompts. 
  1. Open with an extreme close-up
    An extreme close-up usually involves only a part of a character's face, such as their eyes and nose. It may also focus closely on a smaller detail of a larger object
  2. Film entirety of project in one room
    Every scene must be shot in the same room. For example, a group of people stuck in an elevator or a family hiding in the basement
  3. Include the line "How much of that did you hear?" anywhere in the film
    Find a way to include this line anywhere in your film. Remember, how creatively you use this dialogue will be taken into consideration during the review process
  4. Shoot a table scene
    Film a scene in which the characters are sitting around a table. They could be eating dinner, discussing a plan, or playing cards--the choice is yours.
  5. Include a cellphone as a prop
    Have a character talk on the phone, text someone, listen to a voicemail, or use it to keep the table from wobbling...Get creative!
Sometimes its easier to think "inside the box." By way of using these prompts, you are offered a number of interesting directions to take your productions.  These prompts also ensure submissions are original and recently produced. 

Festival Rules and Technical Guidelines

Technical Guidelines

  • Submissions total run time (TRT) must be at least three minutes and not exceed six minutes. This includes a credit sequence, which is required. A credit sequence must not exceed 30 seconds
  • Make sure audio is set at appropriate levels and is running in both L and R channels (stereo)
  • Frame rate - 24p
  • Codec - H.264
  • Bit Rate - 5 to 20  Mbps (VBR 2-pass export recommended)
  • Submissions must be sent in a .mp4 format, in 1080p, and must not exceed 2GB in size
  • Any subtitles must be submitted in English
  • Please submit files in the following format: LastNameFirstName_MovieTitle.mp4
  • Please note that the official screening will take place in the theater at Compass College which is a 16:9 ratio
  • Films must be submitted through Vimeo with a downloadable link

Rules and Content Guidelines

  • Each film's director must have been in high school or younger while the project was being filmed
  • Film must not include excessive violence, on screen killings, explicit sexual themes, or profanity
  • Each submissions must include two prompts provided by Compass College. When filling out submission form, please identify which prompts were used and when applicable, include a timestamp
  • Any music, images, footage, or other copyrighted material must be properly licensed. You must have permission or sole rights in order for your film to be considered
  • Participants are limited to one submission each
  • Scholarship awards are granted to one individual per submission (i.e. the director)

Submission Review Process

Films will be scored on several categories using a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Judges may utilize half points as well (i.e. 7.5 pts) A perfect score is 30.
Screenplay - Judges will be looking for creativity in story, cohesiveness and understanding of theme, and use of dialogue

Editing and Sound Design - Continuity and how well the film moves from scene to scene will be key in judging final edits. For sound design, focus on keeping sound levels at appropriate volumes and spice up your film with some foley and sound effects.

Set Design and Costume - Get creative with actor's costumes, find interesting props, use fun locations, and keep the audience engaged with a well executed set design.

Acting and Directing - Looking at dialogue delivery, facial expressions, body language, and how well the director's vision plays out in the films final cut.

Cinematography and Lighting - Use of camera angles, movement, pans, dollys, and a variety of camera approximations will receive higher marks. Make use of low and high angle shots, close-ups, establishing shots, and camera movement. For lighting, familiarize yourself with three-point lighting set ups to make sure your scene is properly lit. Get creative with lights to set the mood.

Use of Prompts - How creative can you get with the prompts provided? The better the use, the better the score.
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Phone: (616)988-1000
Email: info@compass.edu
41 Sheldon Blvd. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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