Top Menu


Celebrating Young Filmmakers since 1969


** Click here for 2019 Festival Agenda & Sponsors **

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 51st year.

The festival is co-sponsored by The Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts and supported by generous sponsors throughout the state.

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 51st Michigan Student Film Festival

What: The 51st Michigan Student Film Festival
When: 10 am – 3 pm, Saturday April 27, 2019 (10 AM K-8th Ceremony, 12:30 PM 9-12th Ceremony)
Where: The Detroit Film Theatre @ The Detroit Institute of Arts
Eligible: Students Grades K-12
Entry Deadline: EXPIRED

Watch: 2018 Best-of-Show Award Winning Videos
Elementary/Junior Level
Senior Level

Categories Include...
  • Animation - $250 ProCam Gift Card first prize  

  • Documentary - $500 cash prize  

  • Music Video/Montage  $250 ProCam Gift Card first prize

  • Narrative Film  - $500 cash prize

  • News/Sports Magazine Program  $250 ProCam Gift Card first prize

  • Experimental$250 ProCam Gift Card first prize

  • Public Service Announcement $250 ProCam Gift Card first prize

Click on the categories below to see 2018 entries that were awarded Excellence or Best in Show.

To see/download the 2018 Festival Program, click here.

Enter Festival!

Start here

Judges Needed

Judges needed for Saturday, March 16th, 2019 judging in Southfield and the Muskegon area!

PDF of Judging Rubric 

Prizes include...
  • A full scholarship to Specs Howard School of Media Arts
  • A full scholarship to the Motion Picture Institute
  • Partial scholarship to the University of Detroit Mercy, Lawrence Technological University and the Center for Creative Studies
  • 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
  • Winners must have a representative present at the Festival to accept a prize

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.

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

Poster & Program Design Contest

Deadline Friday, February 1, 2019

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.


The Detroit Film Theatre is located at:
5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

  • From I-94: Exit Woodward/John R, south four blocks to Farnsworth
  • From I-75: Exit Warren, west four blocks to Woodward, north on Woodward one block to Farnsworth
  • From M-10: Exit Warren/Forest, east three blocks, north three blocks


Parking is available on John R Street, directly across from the DFT entrance.

Comments are closed.

Design by Van Star Media