Film Festival

Search Our Site

Film Festival


Coordinator: Carmen Henan


Registration Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023



  • The AIHEC Student Congress and the Institute of American Indian Art created the film festival to showcase the talent of up-and-coming filmmakers from the TCUs.
  • The film festival promotes friendly competition, knowledge and creativity sharing, and networking among the Tribal College student participants.



  1. There are no first (1st), second (2nd), or third (3rd) place winners, the following awards tend to feature more specific merits per filmic auteur:
    1. Director’s Award: Best overall film and direction in photography/cinematography, screen writing, technical (sound editing, lighting, color, montage)
    2. Best Photography/Cinematography
    3. Best Screen Writing and/or Plot
    4. Best Special Effects
    5. Best Animation
    6. Best Documentary/PSA
    7. Best Live Action Narrative
    8. Best Editing
    9. Audience Choice Award
    10. Best Lead Role
  2. All TCU student directors shall meet AIHEC student conference criteria to participate in the event
  3. All films shall be fifteen (15) minutes or less to be eligible for inclusion in the film festival.
  4. TCU student films shall have been made between March 1 of the previous year and March 1 of the current year. Due by the deadline; late entries will be disqualified.
  5. Previously judged submissions to AIHEC student conferences are not eligible for this year’s competition.
  6. Critical crew (director(s), editor(s), writer(s), camera crew, and technical crew) shall be currently registered at the time of the conference as TCU students, and not faculty or staff or non-TCU students.
  7. Films that contain excessive violence, sexual material, or profanity will be determined if the work is appropriate for audiences. Culturally sensitive content will need to be approved by a relevant TCU or cultural expert.
  8. The Film Festival is open to all genres from documentary to drama to experimental to hybrid, but not limited to the previous genres.
  9. All films shall be uploaded onto Youtube, checked for bugs or errors, and the link forwarded to the Film Festival Coordinator.
  10. A film instructor for a competing TCU cannot be a judge.
  11. TCU student directors submitting entries for the Film Festival cannot be judges.
  12. More than one director can compose a film entry for submission (e.g. collaborations and/or co-directing are permitted).
  13. A single TCU is allowed up to five (5) film entries.
  14. A TCU student director is allowed up to three (3) film entries. One (1) film shall be differentiated from another and piece is judged separately from the others. If a single director’s films are a single project in more than one film, then the entry is considered only as a single (1) submission with an eligible running time of fifteen (15) minutes total amongst all reels.
  15. Each TCU student director shall bring a back-up copy of their film(s).


Guidelines and Procedures

  • The Film Festival coordinator is chosen by the host committee. The Film Festival coordinator will reserve a conference room large enough for an audience (~50 at most).
  • The Film Festival coordinator will provide periodic updates to the host committee concerning registration numbers and the cost of the Film Festival range.
  • The Film Festival coordinator will work with the editor and publisher of AIHEC Tribal College Journal to facilitate access to student film entries for inclusion in the AIHEC TCJ Student film contest and on the AIHEC TCJ Student website and the AIHEC YouTube Channel.
  • The Film Festival coordinator may use the proven rules from above and make adjustments as the need arises to adapt to the specific host location and range, participant-entry size, budget limitations, etc.
  • The Film Festival coordinator may need to recruit another person (faculty, staff, or students from the AIHEC Student Congress) to assist the judges, maintain the continuous loop, and on-site setup in the conference room.
  • Suggested Checklist of Materials to bring to the conference: master spreadsheet of the registered TCU student directors; a projector screen, a projector, and a laptop.
  • Have a firm registration deadline. Postmarked, faxed, emailed, etc. at least 7 days before the start of the conference. No exceptions.
  • Enter registered students into a master spreadsheet by college, then student director, and then film to ease the checking in process at the conference.
  • The coordinator arrives at the conference at least a day before the competition to setup the conference room with the WiFi, screen, projector, and laptop/DVD player.
  • There shall be at least three (3) judges beside the Film Festival coordinator. Judges will view the film loop as many times as they need. Judges may be selected from competing TCUs. Judges will be forwarded the Youtube playlist of all the competing films via email and may watch the loop at their leisure. Judges do not have to be present at the conference to be eligible to judge. Judges will deliberate either face-to-face or via email to determine the awards. No rating form is required.
  • Once the conference begins, the Film Festival coordinator is responsible for maintaining the films on a continuous loop throughout the extent of the conference.
  • The Film Festival coordinator is responsible for reporting the winners to the awards’ banquet coordinator.
  • Awards will be presented during the Students Awards Banquet.


Registration Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023

To register for this event, please download the application and email Carmen Henan (

PDF Document: Download and REGISTER