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April 12-18, 2021


2023 Reel Spirit

Winning Films Announced: February 27, 2023 - Showcase is Saturday April 1, 2023

Truman Forum Auditorium – Plaza Library – 4801 Main St. KCMO

Reel Spirit Logo in Small Size

Categories Grades 2-9



Create a sense of movement through stop motion or computer animation
to bring inanimate objects, drawings, or clay to life to tell a story

Maximum length: 3 minutes


Advertisement for a student-created product or a real event in your school or community (Inspires the audience to buy the product or attend the event)

Maximum length: 2 minutes


A nonfictional film that presents factual information about real people, places, and/or events in a narrative format. Must include an interview with an “expert” (someone knowledgeable on the film’s subject matter)

Maximum length: 5 minutes
narrative (comedy/drama)


Fictional comedy or drama that tells a story. It must be a series of events with cause and effect relationship, (Narrative can be original work or adapted from public domain material)

Maximum length: 5 minutes
news feature


A factual or fictional news feature in newscast format, featuring only ONE topic
(Interviews and footage of subject matter are encouraged)

Maximum length: 3 minutes
public service announcement (psa)


Public Service Announcement, in an original presentation, must have factual information that supports, educates, or inspires solutions to community or student concerns

Maximum length: 2 minutes
science, technology, engineering, art & math


A nonfictional film that provides and explanation of science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics in an artistic, entertaining and knowledgeable way. The film must be presented in the form of a Narrative, Animation, News Feature or Music Video; or a combination of these.
Films will be judged for both technical and creative content.

Maximum length: 3 minutes


Filmmakers of winning films will be invited to the 18th annual Reel Spirit Young Filmmaker Showcase to see their films on the big screen.

Young Filmmakers Showcase  for Divisions I, II, and III will be held: Saturday April 1, 2023 at the Truman Auditorium at the Plaza Library.  

All films must be submitted through FilmFreeway.  We are unable to process films in Youtube and WeVideo unless you upload the film directly from your computer to FilmFreeway.

Sponsor/Mentor must complete the online forms and read the copy right information at the BOTTOM of this page.  Those films that don’t follow copyright guidelines will result in point deductions. Contact and Copyright Form  BELOW:


Entries are judged by professionals from film and media fields. First, Second, and Third place Certificates  are given in the various categories and divisions according to the judges’ decisions.  Decisions of the independent judges are final.

One trophy for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place is awarded to the winning film for grades 2-9. Additional trophies may be purchased at the expense of the individual.  Filmmakers whose films place first, second, or third will receive a cetificate of excellence and a theater screening of his/her film in front of a live audience.

Certificates will be emailed to filmmakers unable to attend the Showcase.

Those individuals wishing to receive a trophy, must prepay the shipping costs, and/or arrange local pickup by calling: 816-806-7036

 Trophy, mailed at the request of the Sponsor/Mentor, requires an additional shipping fee.

evaluation criteria & scoring

  • Technical ability: audio, camera work, lighting, and editing completely student created
  • Expression of creativity
  • Ability to communicate message or story line
  • Specific criteria related to the different categories
  • All music, pictures, and video clips must conform to the Reel Spirit Copyright rules.
  • Credits include only the actor/s first name
  • Teacher names should not be included in credits
  • Film credits should NOT include submitting school name
  • Maximum length of film includes titles, sources and credits
  • Subject matter must be appropriate  – no violence or inappropriate language
  • Entries with extraneous materials, such as “bloopers” will not be accepted.

submission fees

Fee: $8 non-refundable fee is required for each film submitted through Film Freeway


If your film or video selected as a WINNER, you agree to and understand the following:

  • FORMAT: You agree to give Reel Spirit Young Filmmakers permission to download a full version of the film from FilmFreeway, or provide Reel Spirit Young Filmmakers  with a DVD.  DVD’s must be received no later than than February 1, 2023 to allow time for building the program reels.
  • SHIPPING: If Reel Spirit Young Filmmakers is unable to download a full version of your film from FilmFreeway, you are responsible for the time and expense to send a full version of the file via the internet or to ship a DVD copy.
  • LOSS & DAMAGE: Every precaution will be taken to safeguard films; however, if loss or damage occurs, Reel Spirit Young Filmmakers cannot accept or assume responsibility.
  • SIGNED RELEASE FORM:  Sponsor or Mentor of a winning film is responsible for acquiring a signed parental release form for all students age 18 and younger involved in the film and emailing to Reel Spirit.

submission deadline

Division I, II, III (grades 2-9) entries must be received by   February 1, 2023

Failure to submit by the deadline will result in disqualification of entry.

Submission of a film automatically gives consent to Reel Spirit Young Filmmakers and Kansas City FilmFest International to use film entry and likeness for promotional purpose


The following must be source referenced in credits at the end of the production:
* All music, sound effects, pictures and reference footage, whether original and/or non-original
* Original third party music, sound effects, pictures and reference footage may be used if permission by the owner/author is documented in writing and sent in with entry form
* Music, sound effects, pictures, and video clips purchased or available through filming or editing software is acceptable and must be referenced in the credits

Penalties due to Copyright Infringement:
* Other resources/websites for music, sound effects, pictures and reference footage that indicate “copyright-free” may not be completely and legally free for public or commercial use; the use of other so-called copyright-free websites will result in a three point penalty
* Winning productions failing to comply with copyright requirements will result in the film not being shown at the Reel Spirit showcase, website or other public screenings