Cinema Culturas invites all elementary, middle and high school students to participate in its Storytelling and Film Student Competition "Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times" (Submission deadline: June 29th, 2020).

This call for films and stories seeks to encourage and enhance our K-12 students’ 4 C’s of 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication. Cinema Culturas expands on this learning model by incorporating two additional C’s in its educational program: Culture and Community. By providing fun and educational forums for all students to participate in, and having local communities come together via a digital platform, Cinema Culturas encourages students to “Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times.” students may submit their stories on fiction, nonfiction and science themes. 




(We will be accepting submissions from May 15th - June 29th, 2020)

ALL students from 1st to 12th grade may participate.  

Please refer to the Competition Categories below.


YOU DECIDE! You can film or write your story.

You may choose to submit a short film or written story on one of the following themes:

Artistic theme:

  1. During challenging times, we must adapt and continue moving forward. Tell us a story that shows we must “Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times.” 

  2. Tell us a story based on an activity you do with your family that helps bring the family closer and "Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times."

Science theme:

  1. Tell us a story on how science helps our world to continue looking forward towards a brighter future, to “Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times.”

  2. Human beings are said to adapt to change in order to thrive in life. In science this concept is known as “neuroplasticity”, the brain’s capacity to change and adapt according to a person’s environment. Tell us a story about how you help your brain stay resilient during challenging times.


For both, short film and written story:

  • The most basic organization of a story is the 3- part structure: beginning, middle and end. You can use this structure to tell your fictional story (based on your imagination) or nonfiction (based on a true story and/or facts). Show us your artistic and scientific skills!

Things to keep in mind

  • Put to use your multiple skills: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication as well as highlight culture and community. Also, don’t forget you can enhance your story by making use of multiple talents: dancing, humor, illustration, singing, writing, research and more.

  • You may involve your family members/ friends in the creative process and have them be part of your story by using technology that allows you to stay connected while practicing social distance and being safe.

  • You can enhance your story using graphics, drawings, and images both digital and created by yourself.

  • You can send your story by hand or on a computer.


Regarding films or written stories

  • Must be original: Never before published/ screened or presented as a completed assignment for school or outside of school to be able to participate in the competition and have its premiere at Cinema Culturas, material must not be shown, exhibited or published on Internet or other media before the conclusion of this competition.

  • Can be creative stories, own experiences and/or based on facts that incite activities within the home and not outdoors. 

  • Must be on one of the themes above related to the overarching theme of this competition “Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times."

  • Must include the sources of information (if data from a specific source is presented, please include it).

  • Films or stories can be presented in English, Spanish or Purépecha.

  • Duration/ length of your film or story will be determined on the director/author’s age group. Please see below “competition categories.”

  • By registering your story or short film, you give Cinema Culturas the right to exhibit your material both for the selection of this competition and for the promotion of educational programs.


If your film/written story is selected, you will be notified via email and/or telephone at

least 10 days prior to showcasing it on Cinema Culturas’ Platform.


  • Short films must be submitted in original files in digital format (.mp4 or .mov) to  via

  • *Please see below instructions for submitting your material via the wetransfer platform.

  • The written stories (including images) may be submitted via email to . You can use applications to carry out your narration such as Book Creator or some other application that helps you write your story.

  • Include two still photos from the film or written story (screenshot that is representative of the film/story) and one headshot photograph of the director (creator of the film) or author (written story creator).

  • Your submission will not be processed without your completed submission form and materials requested. Please download the form here:

  • Your entry will be disqualified if you choose to make your film or story public (publishing it on line or any other form of publication).    

  • We are looking forward to receiving your wonderful story and remember:
    Give it your best! FROM HOME. “Keep on Dreaming in Challenging Times.”


  1. Go to

  2. If website prompts you to create an account, click on the “No thanks” button at the very bottom.

  3. When website asks if you agree to their terms of service, click on “I agree.”

  4. Click on the “+” button in blue circle to upload your edited/finished film file, or drag and drop onto site.

  5. In “Email to” enter 

  6. In “Your email” enter your email address

  7. In “Message” enter your film title, your full name, a phone number where you can be reached

  8. Once your video file has finished uploading, click on “Transfer.”

  9. You will receive an email informing you it was sent successfully and another once Cinema Culturas has received and downloaded your video file.


For both, short film or written story:


  • Early Elementary School students from 1st to 3rd grades
    Film duration: 3 minutes maximum. Written story maximum length: 1 to 2 paragraphs (1 page)

  • Upper Elementary School students from 4th and 5th grades:  
    Film duration: 3 minutes maximum. Written story maximum length: 5 paragraphs (1 - 3 pages)

  • Middle School students from 6th to 8th grades:
    Film duration: 3 minutes maximum. Written story maximum length: at least 500 to700 words.

  • High School students from 9th to 12 grade:                                                                          
    Film duration: 5 minutes maximum. Written story at least 800 to 1000 words (*Must be typed).


Cinema Culturas' jury will present the following prizes based on


1st Place    $150.00 (Gift card)

2nd Place   $100.00 (Gift card)

3rd Place    $50.00 (Gift card)


*In addition, winners will be receiving a Cinema Culturas certificate via mail*

CINEMA CULTURAS will showcase all winning films and semifinalist written stories.

Dates will be announced.           


The information of the selected films will be available as soon as it is defined.


Information on the winning films and awards will be available as soon as it is announced.


Dr. Cony Martínez,
Cinema Culturas' Director
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