Spring Creative Challenge

Topic: Documentary Filmmaking

NEHS is working closely with Journey’s in Film to widen student access to documentary filmmaking opportunities, to encourage teachers to incorporate documentary filmmaking into their classrooms, and to engage with students interested in film as a story-telling medium. Our documentary filmmaking competition is focused on the efforts being made by organizations to improve literacy within student members’ local communities.


Winning production teams will be notified by email and will have their work published on the NEHS website. All winning production teams will be candidates to receive prizes at the end of the year.


  1. All production team members must be NEHS student memberss enrolled at a school with an active NEHS chapter.
  2. Only one submission can be made per NEHS chapter.
  3. The submission must be made by a student member.

Submission Requirements

Student production teams should plan, write, edit, and submit a documentary film about the impact a local literacy-focused organization or project is having on their community. Films must highlight the problem being faced by the community and how that problem is being addressed by the organization or project.

Student production teams should also submit a one-page essay outlining their social impact campaign for the film, specifically highlighting the ways they will work to increase the film’s reach and the ability of the film to inspire viewers to take action. The text in the document must have a strong title, must be doubled-spaced with 1 inch margins, and should be written in a clear 12-point font.

The documentary film should:

  1. Be no more than 6 minutes long.
  2. Strive to be seamless, engaging, and professional in quality.
  3. Be creative and thought-provoking
  4. Follow copyright Fair Use guidelines

Submission Support/Resources

Filmmaking resources to support student filmmaking teams

  1. Adobe: Types of documentary films
  2. Documentary Australia: Planning your Doco at School
  3. University of Vermont: How to make a mini documentary
  4. Documentary Film Academy: 6 Steps to Editing a Powerful Documentary

Submission Process

  1. All submissions must be made via the NEHS AwardSpring platform.
  2. One student must upload a PDF document outlining the social impact the film will have and include an open YouTube link to the film.
  3. Applicants must complete demographic data questions prior to submitting their documentation.
  4. All production team members must include a brief biography and portrait photo.
  5. Applicants must agree that they are willing to provide a written report and photos detailing the impact the creative process and award has had on them, which can be used by both Journey’s in Film and NEHS to promote this and other competitions in future years, if they receive one of the awards.

Evaluation Process

  1. All submissions will be evaluated by at least two NEHS evaluators.
  2. All submissions will be evaluated against a rubric containing (but not limited to) the following categories:
    • Interviews
    • Engagement
    • Visual quality
    • Editing quality
    • Sound quality
    • Creativity
    • Story-telling skills
    • Copyright/Fair-use