We would like to thank all of the applicants that submitted their scripts for consideration to the CNY Short Film Competition.

Good Luck to all the applicants!


Innovation Group of CNY Arts is proud to announce the CNY SHORT FILM COMPETITION 2019. The competition is designed to encourage regional film-making and build a media-making community in the Greater Syracuse area. From screenplay to production, four short films (15 minutes or less) will be funded up to a total of $40,000 each. Finalists will be mentored by professional filmmakers in script development, casting, directing, production design, lighting, sound and editing. All finalists are required to fulfill their production, and part of pre-production and post-production in Central New York.  Applicants must make their final products available for a public screening in Central New York.


Submissions are reviewed and evaluated by an independent jury composed of national film professionals. Judging for the competition is blind, so the jurors will not know the identities of the people who have entered the work. The applicant profile is not presented during judging. Judges will review applications based on the primary criteria (below) and competitively against the applicant pool.

The judging is a two-part process:

Judging Phase I: All eligible applicants’ scripts are reviewed by the judges and eight semi-finalists are selected

Judging Phase II: The semi-finalists are asked to submit a full project plan (including a budget, crew, and full vision for the project) with their script utilizing the Central New York region for production.


All grant applications are reviewed for compliance with the program guidelines, eligibility and completeness, and then sent to the judges for review. All submissions will be evaluated and scored according to the criteria listed below and must demonstrate a sufficient level of competency within each criteria.


Evaluation based upon submitted script, determined by clarity of script and the ability of the applicant to express the story of the film.

FEASIBILITY (5 points)
Evaluated on the ability to realistically shoot this film in CNY in the time line proposed in the guidelines.



Eligible applicants should meet ALL of the following criteria:

● Cannot have made more than $30,000 in writing, directing, or producer credits in the last five years.

● Agree if awarded to conduct all filming in the Central New York Area.

● Individuals ages 21 and older


Eligible applicants should meet all of the criteria above and at least one of the following criteria:

● Be an alumnus/alumna, or anticipatory graduate, with a film-related degree (Associates, Bachelors, or Masters), between the years 2009-2019 of any college or community college of the CNY Arts service area:

Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Tompkins


● Be a permanent resident of the CNY Arts service area (Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Tompkins) for at least one year prior to submission and have obtained a degree (Associates, Bachelors or Masters) in a film-related course of study from a college or university.


● Individuals that have not graduated from one of the colleges or universities in the CNY Arts service area (Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Tompkins)

 AND do not currently live in or have not lived in the 8-county area for at least a year.


● Individuals that have graduated prior to May 2009


● Individuals under the age of 21


● Individuals who have already earned more than $30,000 in writing, directing, or producing credit in the last five years.


1. Applicant Profile: Submit general information including: contact information, proof of residency, higher education history and information and additional information to verify applicant eligibility.


2. Script Upload Section (submissions that do not follow these instructions will not be considered) The script uploaded must be:

     a. No more than 15 pages (not including cover/title page)

     b. Uploaded as a single PDF document

     c. Typed in script software program


3. Certification of Application & Release: Verify the information in the application form, and adherence with the guidelines, rules and regulations of the CNY Short Film Competition


4. Register your Script: Register with the Writers Guild of America prior to date of submission
($25 Registration Fee for non-WGA Members).  NOTE:  Your registration to WGA must be submitted prior to your submission to the Short Film Competition.  You will only need the WGA number once you are selected as a semi-finalist.


  • Application Window & Initial Judging (April 1st - May 2nd |  May 3rd - May 15th)

    April 1st - May 2nd.
    Application's will open at 00:01 AM EST on April 1st and close at 11:59 PM EST on April 31st.

    Judges will review all applications submitted during the application window between May 3rd and May 15th.

  • Semi-Finalists Notification & Full Application (May 15th - May 31st)

    Eight (8) Semi-Finalists will be selected from the initial round of applications, notifications will go out on May 20th.

    The semi-finalists will have until 11:59 PM (EST) on May 31st to submit the final required documents through submittable.

    Required Documents:

    • Budget (Based off $40,000)
    • Cast & Crew List
    • Vision Statement (What is your strategy to complete this film?)
  • Finalist Selection (June 10th)

    Four (4) finalists will be selected to receive $40,000 each and notified of the required steps to receive funding.

  • Finalist Schedule



    Post Production

    Group 1:  June 10th - July 15th


    Group 2:  June 17th - July 22nd


    Group 3:  June 24th - July 29th


    Group 4:  June 31st - August 5th

    Finalists will have access to funding through the Pre-Production process so long as they have completed all terms required by the funding agreement.

    Group 1:  July 15 - July 20


    Group 2:  July 22 - July 27


    Group 3:  July 29 - August 3


    Group 4:  August 5 - August 10

    Production MUST be completed in the Central New York Region.  Applicants will have dedicated time in the Greater Syracuse Soundstage if they opt to use it but must schedule needs/requirements independently.

    Group 1:  July 21 - August 20


    Group 2:  July 28 - August 27


    Group 3:  August 4 - September 3


    Group 4:  August 11 - September 10th

    Finalists will have 30 days to complete post production and must submit their final product by 11:59 PM EST on the day of the deadline.

    Post production must include acknowledgment of CNY Arts in the credits as outlined in the funding agreement.


● Sign and adhere to the terms of the Short Film Competition contract (funding agreement)


● Must premiere short film at CNY Short Film Screening (Details to be announced)


● Finalists retain ownership of the short film and all content made possible by this fund. However, all finalists must provide CNY Arts credit language and logo on all content produced with this award and must continue to use credit language on any future renditions of the short film or locally produced content

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Innovation Group of CNY Arts reserves the right to update/change these guidelines and the information contained within at any time.  Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to review the guidelines again prior to submitting an application to ensure compliance with any changes and/or updates to these guidelines.

Innovaton Group of CNY Arts, LLC
421 Montgomery St, 11th Floor
Syracuse, NY 13202

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