Film Festival Guidelines

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Raw Science, in collaboration with the Science and Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences, the Caltech Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), and and the USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF) has announced the first annual Raw Science Film Festival.


Festival Jury includes Academy Award ™ winning filmmakers Luke Matheny (Best Short Film, “God of Love”), Randal Kleiser, (“Grease”, “Honey I Blew up the Kids”), Martha Coolidge (“Real Genius” and “The Twilight Zone” TV Series) and John Singleton (“The Boyz in the Hood” and “Tupac”)


Award winners and runners-up will be screened at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium on December 6-7, 2014 and the Awards Ceremony will be held in the Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Studios on December 8, 2014. Films will also be screened at The Exploratorium in San Francisco, as well as New York, Washington D.C. and other venues to be announced soon.






Fiction/Documentary films of any length.

This is the USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) Youth Film Award.




Fiction* films 10 minutes and under

Fiction* films over 10 minutes

Documentary films 10 minutes and under

Documentary films over 10 minutes




Fiction* films 10 minutes and under

Fiction* films over 10 minutes

Documentary films 10 minutes and under

Documentary films over 10 minutes


The Raw Science Film Festival will also present awards for theatrical  films to be announced.


*Fiction Categories are made possible through a generous contribution from The Science and Entertainment Exchange of the National Academies.




October 15 Early Deadline – $25/entry fee

November 1 Middle Deadline – $35/entry fee

November 15 Final Deadline – $50/entry fee

December 1 Final Deadline for the USASEF Student  Film Award  – No entry fee


Submit a film HERE




  1. OFFICIAL RULES. The Raw Science Film Competition (“Contest”) is governed by these Official Rules, and the decisions of Raw Science and its appointed Judges (together referred to as “Raw Science”) in the interpretation and implementation of these Official Rules are final.  This Contest is Sponsored by Raw Science, Inc. and Raw Science Foundation, California Institute of Technology (Office of Technology Transfer), and the National Academies/National Academy of Sciences (NAS) all referred to in these rules as “Raw Science.”
  2. WHO CAN ENTER. You must be 18 or over as of September 30, 2014 to enter. For junior high and high school students entering the USASEF Student Film award category, the film must be submitted by a representative 18 and older.
    1. STUDENT FILMS:  To be eligible, the filmmaker must be a full-time student in a degree-granting program at an accredited** U.S. college or university.  The film must have been made in a teacher-student relationship within the curricular structure of that institution. If the filmmaker has graduated or left such a program, the film may be submitted no later than one year from the filmmaker’s date of departure.  International Students enrolled in schools that are members of CILECT may submit their works. All films not submitted in the English language should be subtitled in English. Note: The USASEF Student Film Award can be any junior high or high school student (or group of students).
    2. PROFESSIONAL FILMS: May be submitted by any filmmaker anywhere in the world. . All films not submitted in the English language must be subtitled in English.
    3. Raw Science employees, Board Members, Advisors and agents and their family members are not eligible to enter.
  3. NO PROFESSIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO STUDENT ENTRIES. The purpose of the Raw Science Student Film competition is to support and encourage filmmakers with no previous professional experience who are enrolled in degree-granting programs and accredited colleges and universities as full-time students who are making fiction and non-fiction works that deal with “Science” issues and ideas about innovation and invention that impact the planet, socially, politically, environmentally or otherwise. Raw Science wants to encourage student filmmakers and while professional advice may be requested and given during the making of student films, Raw Science does not allow for any hands-on involvement by film industry professionals in key positions, including but not limited to, directors, producers, camera persons, editors, writers or production sound mixers.  Professional actors, however, may participate and be included in the film entries.  Raw Science reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify from competition (or reclassify) any entry in which Raw Science determines that industry professionals have had undue influence.
  4. HOW TO ENTER.  Entrants must complete the Entry Form available at entry forms must list the director (but no more than two) most responsible for the creative production of the picture (except the USASEF Film Award, which can be submitted by a representative for a creative team). If there are any credit discrepancies or controversies, Raw Science will insist that credits be settled before the film may be considered for an award. Submit the completed Entry Form, the Film Entry meeting the qualifications set forth in Section 5 below and your prepaid postage or prepaid courier delivery to Raw Science at: PO Box 10003  Santa Monica, CA 90410-1003 Must be received before the end of the Entry Period listed in Section 6 below. Raw Science is not responsible for late, misdirected, missing or damaged entries.   Raw Science will confirm receipt of entries via email, if requested in your entry; however we recommend that you submit your Entry using courier service that confirms delivery.  Entries become the physical property of Raw Science and will not be returned to Entrants. However, Entrants retain the intellectual property rights in their entries subject to the following grant of rights to Raw Science.
  5. CRITERIA FOR ENTRY: Film entries must be those completed after April 1, 2013 and before December 1, 2014 (works-in-progress should not be entered as they may not be altered during the competition once initial judging has occurred and will be disqualified from submission into subsequent Raw Science Awards competitions.)  Advertising films and promotional films, will not be eligible for entry.  By entering the Contest Entrants represent and warrant to Raw Science that they have all of the rights and consents necessary to enter the Contest and to grant Raw Science the rights granted in these Official Rules; that the film Entry does not violate any contractual obligation that Entrant has and that the very best of Entrant’s knowledge or belief does not violate the rights of any third party, including without limitation the right of privacy, publicity, or the copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights of any third party, and that it does not violate any law or regulation.
      • Student Dramatic Works 10 minutes and under
      • Student Documentary Works 10 minutes and under
      • Student Dramatic Works over 10 minutes
      • Student Documentary Works over 10 minutes
      • Professional Dramatic Works 10 minutes and under
      • Professional Documentary Works 10 minutes and under
      • Professional Dramatic Works over 10 minutes
      • Professional Documentary Works over 10 minutes
    2. STYLE CATEGORIES: Entries  may be in any of the following styles of filmmaking:
      • ANIMATION -Animated films may present an original narrative story, an existing story or fable, or an exploration of a mood or thought.  Either comical or serious, they usually fall into one of two general fields — character animation or abstract animation.  Various techniques include cel animation, computer animation, clay animation, pixilation, cut-out pins, camera multiple-pass imagery, kaleidoscope effects, and the film frame itself.  Winning animation films are chosen by judging the product as a whole, as well as the artistic and technical skill of the animator in whatever motif or animation technique the student has chosen.
      • DOCUMENTARY – Documentary films are visual essays that seek to present historical subjects, current social or political issues, or specific human experiences in such a way as to have a dramatic impact upon the viewing audience.  Documentaries may be filmed in the cinema vérité style where camera and microphone merely record the event without injecting the comments or subjective conclusions of the filmmaker, or may be a reenactment.  In the latter case, the distinction between dramatic and documentary film lies in the fact that while dramatic film is fictional, documentary film deals with real, factual situations and circumstances.
      • NARRATIVE – Narrative films strive to portray life, a character or a narrative story much the same way a novel does, but within the context of an audiovisual medium.  Past narrative films by students have ranged from those that are serious in tone to films that are comic, as well as the familiar and uniquely American “movie musical.”  Winning entries in this and all other categories reflect the merit of the film when viewed as a whole, as well as the professional execution of its component parts, such as script, dialogue, direction, cinematography, lighting, acting, editing and scoring.  Narrative category films may be adaptations of existing pieces of literature, or, as has often been the case, original stories written by the student filmmaker.
  6. ENTRY PERIOD. To be eligible, all entries must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by Raw Science on or before 11:59 p.m EST, November 15, 2014.  Raw Science is not responsible for lost, misdirected or late entries.
  7. ENTRY FORMAT: All original entries must be submitted for consideration on DVD-R format NTSC only (DVDs submitted as entries will not be returned).  However, should an entry be selected to compete in the final screenings (held in late October), the filmmaker must, within 7 days of notification, supply Raw Science with a; HD-Cam; DCP or Digi-Beta version of the entry.  This HD-Cam, DCP or Digi-Beta will be used for the final judging and may be needed for the subsequent judging at the Raw Science’s headquarters in November. Failure to provide a HD-Cam,  DCP or Digi-Beta of the entry within the allotted time will result in disqualification. HD-Cam’s, DCP’s or Digi-Beta’s provided by Finalists and Winners, will be returned to those Entrants at the conclusion of the competition.  Masters must be NTSC format.
  8. Preliminary eligibility and classification shall be determined in accordance with procedures and judging determined by Raw Science in its sole discretion.  If the eligibility and final classification of any entry is questioned Raw Science shall be authorized to to designate the classification of the applicable entry.  The decision of the Judges in this matter is final.
  9. CRITERIA FOR JUDGING/ JUDGES .  The entries shall be judged on the basis of resourcefulness, originality, entertainment, and production quality, without regard to cost of production or subject matter. Final judging by the Raw Science shall be completed by November 20, 2014.  Finalists in each category shall be notified promptly.  Announcement of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal (at the discussion of the judges) Award and other winners in each category will be made at the Awards Presentations in December 2014, in Los Angeles, California.  The decisions of the Judges are final.
  10. PRIZES:  Eight prizes will be awarded.  One First Place or Gold Prize will be awarded for each Category referenced in Section 5 above. The Gold Prize will be a check for $4,000-payable to the Winner(s) in each category after their eligibility has been confirmed.  In the event the Winner is disqualified the next runner up will receive the Gold Prize. One Second Place or Silver Prize will also be awarded for each Category.  The Silver Prize will be a check for $1,000 to the Second Place Winner in each Category after their eligibility has been confirmed.  In the event the Winner is disqualified the next runner up will receive the Silver Prize. (The judges may award a Bronze Prize at their discussion.) All prizes will be awarded in the event that the Contest operates to its completion. However, cash prizes may be shifted to other categories if the judges feel that this is appropriate. The total cash value of all prizes is $40,000.
  11. NOTIFICATION.  Winners will be notified by November 20, 2014. Failure to respond within 24 hours to notice of winning will result in disqualification.
  12. GRANT OF RIGHTS.  By entering the Contest, Entrants agree that Raw Science may possess their Entry, screen entries for individuals and groups, copy and edit as necessary solely for the purpose of such screenings, use stills, screen shots and clips from the Entries for purposes of judging the Contest, promotion of the Contest, archival purposes and Raw Science promotional purposes.  Clips of under 15 seconds will not require screen credit to Entrants.  Raw Science will make good faith effort to include credit to Entrants for any use of Entries that is longer than 15 seconds, but no inadvertent failure to do so will be considered a violation of Entrant’s intellectual property rights in the Entry. All Finalists and winners grant Raw Science the right to air their “Winning Entries” on Raw Science NETWORKS for 12 months and receive additional compensation of no less than $250 per program. Finalists and Winners agree to negotiate in good faith the terms and conditions of any renewal terms for the exhibition and/or distribution of the Winning Entries.
  13. RELEASES: By participating, each Entrant agrees: (a) to abide by these Official Rules and decisions of Raw Science and judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects relating to this Contest; (b) to release, discharge and hold harmless Raw Science, and their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies, and the respective officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents and representatives of the forgoing (collectively, “Raw Science ”) from any and all injuries, liability, losses and damages of any kind to persons, including death, or property (including to the film entries, resulting, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from Entrant’s participation in the Contest or any Contest-related activity or the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any awarded prize; and (c) to the use of his/her Entry, name, photograph/video, image and/or likeness for programming, advertising, publicity and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter known, worldwide and on the Internet, and in perpetuity by Raw Science and its designees, without compensation (unless prohibited by law) or additional consents from Entrant or any third party and without prior notice, approval or inspection, and to execute specific consent to such use if asked to do so. By participating, Entrant also agrees not to release any publicity or other materials on their own or through someone else regarding their participation in the Contest without the prior consent of the Raw Science, which it may withhold in its sole discretion.
  14. THE THINGS OUR LAWYERS WANT TO TELL YOU / GENERAL CONDITIONS: Raw Science Raw Science is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, damaged, inaccurate, stolen, delayed, misdirected, undelivered, or garbled Entries; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing, postal, third party courier,  or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of Entries, the announcement of the prizes, or in any Contest-related materials. Raw Science are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Entrants, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Raw Science  are not responsible for injury or damage to any person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading materials from or use of the website. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the Contest, who act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Raw Science, will be disqualified and all associated Entries will be void. Should any portion of the Contest be, in Raw Science’s sole opinion, compromised including without limitation by electronic/digital virus, worms, bugs,non-authorized human intervention or other causes which, in the sole opinion of the Raw Science, corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or submission of Entries, Raw Science reserves the right at its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the Contest (or portion thereof) for these reasons or any other reason, and, if terminated, select the potential winner(s) at issue from all eligible, non-suspect Entries received prior to action taken using the judging procedure outlined above. Caution: any attempt to deliberately damage raw science’s website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be in violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Raw Science reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys’ fees) from any such individual to the fullest extent of the law, including criminal prosecution.
  15. Disputes.  By entering you agree that issues concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules shall be governed by the laws of the State of California. All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved individually, and without resort to class action. Should there be a conflict between the laws of the State of California and any other laws, the conflict will be resolved in favor of the laws of the State of California. All judgments or awards shall be limited to actual incurred out-of-pocket expenses (excluding attorneys’ fees) associated with participation in this Contest and shall not include any indirect, punitive, incidental and/or consequential damages.
  16. Sponsor. For an email copy of these Official Rules please write us at and request a copy of the Raw Science Film Contest.  For a list of Contest winners, please send us a written request after January 5, 2015 to the address listed above.

For more information contact Raw Science at or 310.636.8200


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