Top Menu


Celebrating Young Filmmakers since 1969

52nd Michigan Student Film Festival

Best of Show Selections

On DAFT's Facebook-Live Event Page (link)

  • Day 1 - Thu. 5/14/20 - 7 - 8 pm EST   K-8 , Animation and Music Videos

  • Day 2 - Fri 5/15/20 - 7 - 8 pm EST    PSAs, News/Sports, Experimental/Others

  • Day 3 - Sat 5/16/20 - 7 - 8 pm EST   Documentaries

  • Day 4 - Sun 5/17/20 - 7 - 8:15 pm EST   Narrative Shorts

2020 Festival Program Online

Check out our 2020 FAQs at this link.

(April 24, 2020)

DAFT is very excited to announce the dates for the streaming-version of the Michigan Student Film Festival. Special thanks to our partners at the Detroit Institute of Arts and its wonderful Detroit Film Theatre.  May 14-17th 7-8 pm live screenings of category finalists with winners of each category announced. Finalists will be notified and invited to be with us via our private Zoom streaming into Facebook Live each evening; click here for more information on our Facebook Event Page.

Thanks everyone for your patience as we have worked out the details.


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 52nd year.  This year, DAFT will be using Film Freeway for entry submission.  Here are some basic tips:

  1. Create a free Film Freeway Filmmaker account
  2. Upload your film (which can be entered in numerous festivals internationally)
  3. Enter your film in the Michigan Student Film Festival (hint:  search "DAFT")

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 52nd Michigan Student Film Festival at the Detroit Institute of Arts

What: The 52nd Michigan Student Film Festival
When: To Be Determined due to COVID-19 concerns
Where: The Detroit Film Theatre @ The Detroit Institute of Arts
Eligible: Students Grades K-12
Entry Deadline: March 11, 2020 (Extended deadline as of 3/9/20)

Watch: 2019 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

  • Free PSA Contest:  Women's Suffrage Centennial (more details)
  • Free PSA Contest:  2020 Census (more details)

To see/download the 2019 Festival Program, click here.

Judges Needed

Judges needed for Saturday, March 14th, 2020 judging at Lawrence Technological University (Southfield) and Careerline Tech Center (Holland).

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 scholarships to the University of Detroit Mercy, Lawrence Technological University and the College 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, 2020

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.  Click here for more information and criteria.


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