How It Works

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How It Works

We know that every experience has something to teach. That’s why your short film can be about any aspect of your journey that captures the spirit of study abroad. Check out the three categories below to decide which one your film will compete within.


  1. A Day in the Life (90 second maximum) 
    Your day is more extraordinary than you realize- show us what it looks like! Submit to this category to give a brief, but vibrant glimpse into your day-to-day life abroad. 
  2. Creative Short (10 minute maximum)
    Creative Shorts can be stories of personal development and reflection, music videos, explorations of social issues and events in your host country, reenactments, and more.
  3. Documentary
    We want to learn from you! What did study abroad teach you about the world? Submit your film to this category if your film provides factual information on a topic or theme, or was created as part of an IES Abroad film course.


Here are some ideas from previous Festivals to get you thinking about your film, but don’t feel limited; we want you to create something distinctively you!


August 1, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. CDT

Students will submit films through the online submission form by August 1, 2018.

The jury will rank each film based on the following criteria: (1) ability to tell a compelling story that captures the spirit of study abroad; (2) production quality; (3) entertainment value; and (4) originality. Finalists will be selected in each category based on the jury rankings and will be notified by email of their nomination on or around September 1, 2018.

The finalist’s films will be made public on Facebook for online voting until the end of October.


Grand Prize: $1,000, awarded to the winner of the public vote on Facebook at the close of the voting period and an invitation to a screening of their film at the IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival in Chicago in the Fall of 2017
First Place (3): $500 (awarded to each of the top three juror ranked films) and an invitation to a screening of their film at the IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival in Chicago in the Fall of 2018


To be eligible for the Study Abroad Film Festival, all films must meet the following requirements:

  • Produced by an IES Abroad student or alum (since January 2016)
  • Fit the time limit specified for each category (Documentaries are excluded from this)
  • Completed after January 1, 2016
  • Non-English language films must have English subtitles


Amy McMillan, AVP of Marketing
[email protected]