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Seeking Short Films Celebrating Earth Day

National Geographic has invested in bold people and transformative ideas across the globe, with the aim of bettering our understanding of the natural world. As National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jane Goodall once said: “Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.” 

For this year’s National Geographic Wild to Inspire Short Film Contest, we’re asking you to create a short film that celebrates the 50-year anniversary of Earth Day. Launched in 1970, the first Earth Day spurred critical environmental conversations around some of these big problems, leading to efforts to save endangered species, regulate pesticides and harmful chemicals, and reduce single-use plastic. These efforts have become even more critical today. 

50 years after the first Earth Day, how will you use the power of film to inspire viewers to work towards a planet in balance in the 21st century? 

The Finalists

Up to 3 finalists will be flown to the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival for a special screening of their films. 

The Grand Prize

One grand prize winner – selected by a panel of experts after the screenings at the Sun Valley Film Festival  – will receive a National Geographic expedition.


Films must be under 3 minutes long and celebrate Earth Day. Films will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Thirty percent (30%) for connection to the theme 
  2. Twenty percent (20%) for quality of storyline and script
  3. Twenty percent (20%) for creativity and/or content originality
  4. Twenty percent (20%) for production quality (e.g., lighting, shot composition, focus, sounds)
  5. Ten percent (10%) for editing

Only legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry are eligible to enter.

We encourage submissions from indigenous filmmakers, filmmakers of color, filmmakers with disabilities, LGBTQQIA filmmakers, female-identified filmmakers, and filmmakers from other intersectional and marginalized groups. If you identify as one or more of the above and would like to let us know, please include a note along with your film description.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.