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DAFT’s 50th! Important Dates & Events

Big Events & Dates for DAFT's Golden Anniversary! Important DAFT News & Dates - Celebrating 50 years

DAFT's Golden Anniversary!  Exciting news for the year ahead!
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Welcome to DAFT’s 50th year!  This April will mark the golden anniversary of the nation’s longest running student film festival.  We can’t thank you enough for your support over these years and are anxious to share some exciting new opportunities for students and educators.
Questions?  Contact us at 

Once again, we’re providing a chance for your school to do some one-stop-shopping and save big!  

  • DAFT membership for your school for one year ($150 value)

  • 5 vouchers for student entries for the Michigan Student Film Festival ($60 value)

  • 2 adult admissions to the Media Teacher Symposium ($150 value)

  • 5 student admissions the Media Student Symposium ($100 value)

  • Special tickets for up to 10 students to special screenings of DAFT's Meet the Pro Filmmaker Series (see below)

Click here for more information, including the downloadable registration form/flyer.

On Friday December 1st, educators and media pros will meet at MPI in Troy for the fifth Media Teacher Symposium. The following Friday, December 8th, students are invited to network with one another, share their projects and learn from the pros at the Media Student Symposium.  

Presenters Needed!  
Media teachers, media pros and students are invited to pitch their own ideas for workshops at either symposium via this link. We welcome and encourage awesome students to share their expertise with us veterans--like last year’s great drone training session!  

Check out these pictures from the 2016 Media Student Symposium.

Mark your calendars for February 23rd, the deadline for submissions for the Michigan Student Film Festival. Once again, we are offering prizes of gear, gift cards as well as $500 cash prizes for the Maple Theatre’s Best Narrative Award and the John Prusak Visionary Award for Best Documentary. See our home page for links to the key award winners!

DAFT will be providing the chance for high school seniors to apply this fall for scholarships beginning the following year at Lawrence Tech, Motion Picture Institute, Specs Howard School of Media Arts and University of Detroit Mercy.  (Previously, they were awarded to festival entrants only--now any DAFT student may apply with their sample videos.) More info on the application process soon on our website!

New this year! DAFT and its partners are offering morning screenings with local filmmakers. Schools that are DAFT Institutional Level members will receive first offers and 10 complimentary tickets. Our first slated screening will be the powerful documentary “Summer ‘67” with Emmy-winning filmmaker Bruce Harper on November 15th at the Detroit Historical Museum.  

Other screenings are in the works and will be announced as we move forward--including April (and possibly October) U of D Mercy’s Prof. Jason Roche’s inspirational “Stealing Home” about the caretakers of the hallowed Tiger Stadium grounds, winner of the 2014 Freep Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award--featured in this episode of Digging Detroit.

One of the offshoots of this project is to not only provide students access to filmmakers but to also allow them to network with one another with possible partnerships with local causes and organizations!

Start thinking about July 2018 and participating in DAFT’s long-running weeklong intensive film camp, Focal Point.  Questions, reach out to Royal Oak High School’s award-winning media instructor Mike Conrad at:

Important DAFT Dates - Thanks to MPI who will be sending out our new poster with the info below!

  • December 1, 2017:  Media Teacher Symposium at MPI

  • December 8, 2017:  Media Student Symposium at MPI

  • January 26, 2018:   Festival Program/Poster Contest deadline

  • February 23, 2018:  Deadline for Festival Entries

  • April 28, 2018:  50th Michigan Student Film Festival at the DIA

  • May 10-12, 2018:  Michigan Youth Arts Festival at Western Michigan University

  • July 2018:  DAFT’s weeklong Focal Point video camp (open to students and adults)


Important Dates from friends at  MIPA - Michigan Interscholastic Press Association

  • October 16, 2017:   Fall Conference in Lansing

  • February 16, 2017:  Contest Deadline

  • March 3, 2018:   Judging Day

  • April 23, 2018:  Spring Conference (Awards)

  • May 3, 2018:  Spring Contests Deadline (Best Newscast, Film Challenge)

Click here to join DAFT and get discounts and special offers!
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