Ashland Independent Film Festival Now Accepting Film Submissions to the 2018 LAUNCH Student Film Competition

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and spending time with family and friends. However, it is a four-day weekend and it gives kids a lot of free time. Rather than see them staring at screens all the time, why not suggest they make their own films? They could even have the chance to see their movie play on the big screen!

Young people who live in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine or Klamath counties in Oregon; Del Norte or Siskiyou counties in California can submit their short films (must be under 5 minutes) for FREE to the Ashland Independent Film Festival’s (AIFF) LAUNCH Student Film Competition. Everyone who submits a film receives two tickets to the festival (April 12-16, 2018)! Winning films are screened during the festival, and the filmmaker receives cash prizes, and a pass to all 100+ films and special events. There they can interact with filmmakers from around the world and attend Q&A’s after the screenings.

The deadline to submit is January 5, 2018 so now is the perfect time to have them get started.

Need some inspiration to get the kids going? Here are seven Thanksgiving themed ideas to spring them into action:

  1. Mom’s hip-hop career leaves no time for baking pumpkin pies this year… and the family is in an uproar about it!
  2. Uncle Dwight is bringing his new Russian girlfriend to dinner – could she be a spy?
  3. How did Granny & Grandpa meet? There might be an epic romance waiting to be told.
  4. What are the origins of that amazing herbaceous turkey gravy? Is there a recipe caper that requires investigating?
  5. The secret life of the family parakeet: perhaps your innocent seeming pet has an exotic past or a sultry secret life in the wild, and hasn’t settled for a gilded cage after all.
  6. How will the kids prevent Great Aunt Zelda from performing her interpretive dance re-enactment of the First Thanksgiving again this year?
  7. Dad snores after dinner in a tryptophan stupor while the rest of the family takes a walk: the baby crawls away, the dog trashes Dad’s office, and the upstairs bathroom floods.

All film genres are accepted: animation, documentary, or narrative—it’s up to the kids! There are five categories with cash prizes: grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12, college undergrads, and PridePrize. The PridePrize is a special prize for outstanding student-made films that speak to the LGBTQ+ experience. All regional student filmmakers, grades 9-12 and college undergrads, are eligible for the PridePrize. This prize is made possible by a generous gift from the LGBTQ Juvenile Justice Fund of the Equity Foundation.

Have a question? Check out LAUNCH FAQs at, or contact the Ashland Independent Film Festival at The LAUNCH program is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust. Prizes made possible by the Rotary Club of Ashland Lithia Springs.