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Free Our People Film Contest & Festival

The Center for Disability Rights announces the second annual Free Our People Film Contest & Festival. The contest launched on February 1 and runs until 11:59 PM ET on March 31! Filmmakers can win amazing cash prizes, and a mentoring opportunity with one of the co-executive producers of EMPIRE! We have more details about the contest below. We hope you will send this filmmaking opportunity  out to all of your film students, for their consideration.
In order to enter the Free Our People Film Contest, filmmakers will want to check out the rules through our website:
They can also find these rules on our Film Freeway submission page. This is also where they will need to submit their finished films:
Films must be 5-7 minutes long, and must feature two items (a cat and candy) in some capacity to make sure all films were filmed between February 1 and March 31. The theme of the contest is institutional bias, an issue that significantly affects disabled people around the world. All films have to feature institutional bias in some way. Films can be narrative, documentary, experimental, mixed-media, or animated.
If you are not sure what institutional bias is, check out our video explaining how it affects disabled people every single day:
Filmmakers DO NOT have to be disabled, but they must be willing to work with others who are. Most disabled filmmakers are excluded from access to working on film sets. To encourage inclusion, at least one major role on each film (writer, director, editor, and/or producer) must be a disabled person (this includes people with sensory, physical, neurological, psychiatric, sensory [i.e. Deaf and Blind], intellectual, social, and learning disabilities). All characters that are written to have disabilities must be played by actual disabled people (whether professional actors or not). With over 95% of disabled characters in television played by nondisabled actors, and similar statistics for film, we hope that this contest will encourage filmmakers to consider disabled people for any role, not just those written explicitly to have a disability.
The first prize film will win $1000, a paid trip to Rochester to show their film, and an hour-long mentoring session with Wendy Calhoun, a co-executive producer of the hit FOX television show, EMPIRE. Ms. Calhoun has also written and produced for shows like REVENGE, NASHVILLE, and JUSTIFIED. The second prize film will win $500, and a paid trip to Rochester to show their film. The third prize film will win a paid trip to Rochester to show their film, and all three winning films will receive a selection of software suited for filmmakers, such as Dramatica, StoryBoard Quick, Persona, and Contour.
In August 2018, the Center for Disability Rights will host the Free Our People Film Festival in Rochester. Winners will have their flight and hotel paid for, so they can show their films at the Festival!
For questions, please email Dominick [] or Leah []. You can also ask questions through our Facebook page located at:

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