Girls Impact The World Film Festival Is Empowering Women, So Here's How To Submit Your Stuff

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor Ian Somerhalder attends Heifer International’s 4th Annual Beyond Hunger Gala at the Montage on September 18, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Heifer International works to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. . (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Heifer International)
Source: Angela Weiss/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Calling all high school and undergrad students interested in filmmaking and social issues! The Girls Impact the World Film Festival is currently accepting submissions for their fourth annual festival. The event, an initiative of Connecther, co-sponsored by the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative and with Eloise DeJoria as a presenting sponsor, hopes to empower young women to tell their own stories as well as those of women around the world (and it even offers Ian Somerhalder as a judge). So, grab your camera and your friends and get ready to make a movie! Here's everything you need to know about how to submit to the GITW Film Festival.

First, and most importantly, submissions are only eligible from high school or undergraduate college students. So, unless you are currently in high school or a college student under the age of 25, you can't enter the competition. But for you lucky peeps out there studying away and looking to inspire someone with film, this could be the perfect thing for you. Each submission should be in the form of a 3-5 minute short film that has a focus on women's issues — examples listed on the official Festival website include "domestic and gendered violence, poverty, maternal morality, teen and child marriage, sex trafficking and slavery, women and girls in media, women in leadership, education for girls and women, ending FGM" and more.  Below is an example of the kind of projects GITW is looking for — Gloria Hong's short film, "Empowerment Through Integration: A Portrait of Sara Minkara," won the Judges Choice Grand Prize in 2015.

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If environmental issues are more your thing, there's a specialized competition focusing on environment-focused films sponsored by none other than Somerhalder and his IS Foundation. Yep, Damon Salvatore himself will be judging films and awarding one lucky filmmaker with the Green IS Award, a grand prize of $2500. To qualify for the Green IS award, films must either "propose solutions to environmental issues that impact women and girls" or help create awareness for such an issue. Suggested issues include "climate change, green energy, water, and pollution."

The GITW Film Festival will also be awarding The "Honest Beauty" Award, which comes with a $2500 prize. To qualify for the Honest Beauty Award, a film needs to either "propose solutions to illuminate changing ideals of beauty for girls globally" or "create awareness about beauty issues that impact self-image for women and girls." In other words, submissions for the Honest Beauty Award should explore the definition of "beauty" and/or how it is manipulated or misrepresented in pop culture and media.

The GITW Film Festival will determine winners in late February, awarding multiple prizes, including one Judges' Choice Grand Prize of $5,000, Judges' Choice 1st Runner Up Prize of $2500 and a Judges' Choice 2nd Runner Up Prize of $1000. There will also be a People's Choice Winner and a $1000 prize awarded to the Most Innovative Solution.

Apart from containing a specific issue focus, submissions for all categories can be any type of film — narrative, documentary, animation, etc. And contestants are allowed to submit up to two films per year. Of course, each film must have been made entirely after Jan. 1, 2015, so no recycled work allowed. It should also be noted that, to qualify for the Green IS Award, submissions must be entered by Feb. 1, 2016. However, according to the website, all submissions are due Jan. 15, 2016. If you have questions, you can email the festival at filmfest@connecther.org.

The clock is ticking. Now, get out there!

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