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DAFT - Celebrating Young Filmmakers

Celebrating Young Filmmakers since 1969

The Michigan Student Film Festival is unique in the nation for providing a public venue for the work of students in grades K-12, as well as giving recognition and significant awards to young media artists. DAFT is proud to present The Michigan Student Film Festival, now in its 49th year.

Important note on copyright.  To be considered for Best of Show award-level, entries that have material whose rights are not owned by the producers should include clear permission from the owners of the music, images, video.  DAFT offers many links to royalty-free music on our tab or at this link.  While educational-use of material can provide useful training for students, DAFT fully supports the ethical use of all creative material and encourages its students and teachers to adhere to these principles.  Any questions, please contact us at


The 49th Michigan Student Film Festival

What: The 49th Michigan Student Film Festival
When: 9:30am – 3pm, Saturday April 29, 2017
Where: The Detroit Film Theatre @ The Detroit Institute of Arts
Eligible: Students Grades K-12
Entry Deadline: March 3, 2017 (One week added due to website upgrades.)

Categories Include...

  • Animation

  • Documentary

  • Music Video/Montage (copyright permission and/or royalty-free music encouraged for Best of Show judging)

  • Narrative Film (short & feature--excerpt judged)

  • News/Sports Magazine Programs

  • Other (including experimental)

  • Public Service Announcement

Enter Festival!

Festival entries can also be submitted by clicking "Shop" on the top of the page.

Judges Needed

Judges needed for Saturday March 11th judging in Southfield and the Muskegon area!

PDF of Judging Rubric 

Prizes include...

  • A full scholarship to Specs Howard
  • A full scholarship to the Motion Picture Institute
  • Partial scholarship to the University of Detroit Mercy
  • Free 3-days room and board at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University in May
  • $250 Gift Cards for category winners
  • $500 cash prizes for best narrative film and documentary
  • Canon DSLR Kit drawing for a school, drawn from Institutional Level Members
  • Pro gear drawings--all entries are eligible


Find out about the rules,
specifications and prizes of the festival.

Please review our guidelines concerning
copyrighted and violent content.

Sponsor the Festival

Festival Sponsor Farm

Festival sponsorship not only provides individual, corporations and grant organizations an opportunity to support young media makers, each sponsor is acknowledged in a number of very special ways.

Festival Prizes & Awards

Encouragement & Support

The main goal of the Michigan Student Film Festival is to provide encouragement and support to young people who are already creating media by acknowledging their efforts, rewarding their finest accomplishments and offering opportunities for study and advancement.

Each entry is reviewed by educational and media professionals and their feedback is sent to student filmmakers to prompt growth and reflection on their filmmaking skills and approach.

Festival Junior Winners
Film Festival - Crystal Gallery

Michigan-focused, National Reach

In recognition of its work, DAFT was awarded the 2006 Governor’s Award for Arts & Culture. DAFT’s mission is to promote media literacy through the creative use of film and video.

The American Film Institute says that DAFT’s Michigan Student Film & Video Festival is the oldest festival in the nation providing public recognition for the work of students in grades K-12. In fact, many young people who got their first public exposure through this Festival have gone on to professional careers. And a few of them have even gotten awards at that really huge film festival known as the Oscars.

Poster & Program Design Contest

Festival Program Cover Design Demo 002

Poster & Program Design Contest

Deadline January 27, 2017

A Showcase for Young Michigan Artists

DAFT once again opened up the design of its official festival poster and program cover to students awarding the winner a $200 gift-card and two runners-up $50 gift cards.

2016 Festival Sponsors

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