Three Rivers Student Film Slam 

Announcing our 2nd
Three Rivers 48-hour Student Film Slam.
Competition happens April 24 - 26, 2020.
Public viewing and judging April 26 at 7:30 pm.

Maximum of 10 teams.
There are - 8 -slots remaining.

What is it?

The Film Slam is a team competition where groups of young filmmakers write, direct, edit and premiere a short film in just two days. In the end, winners will be selected by industry professionals for cash prizes. All scripting, shooting and editing must take place within the 48 hours, so teams must have spontaneity, time management and lots of ingenuity! Although the event is competitive, the environment is welcoming, supportive, and most importantly, fun! Audience members get to watch the delectable results of the pedal-to-the-metal film shooting.

When/where is the Film Slam?

Teams receive their instructions on Friday evening, April 24 at the Franklin Opera House. Teams will work in their home communities to produce their films, unless they have made arrangements to stay in Franklin. The public showing and judging of the completed films is held at the Opera House on Sunday, April 26 at 7:30pm.

Who is eligible to participate in the Film Slam?

Any high school or college student who is interested in participating can participate!  You do not need to have any experience making films (although that would obviously be helpful!) For safety and security, we require that teams of high school age have a team mentor age 21 or older.

How many people are needed for a team?

There is no minimum of maximum number of members for a team, but we suggest 4-5 members. Of course, you may want to think about how the prize money will be disbursed among team members if you win!

What are the requirements for completing my film?

You need to be able to create your film within 48 hours. This includes all “creative endeavors” related to the film. All creative endeavors performed in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. “Creative endeavors” include but are not limited to writing the script, rehearsing, costume/set design, filming, editing, sound work and rendering the film. The only work allowed prior to the competition are organizing your crew, organizing your cast, securing needed equipment and scouting/securing possible locations.

The film must be no longer than 7 minutes long with an additional 1 minute allowed for credits.  

At the start of the slam, you will be given the specific items that must be in your film including:

  • A randomly assigned genre your team will select from a hat at the beginning of the competition
  • A specific line of dialogue
  • A specific prop
  • A local landmark
  • A product from one of our sponsors

Teams will be allowed to trade genres with other participating teams, but may not trade their assigned props or locations. Use these items creatively to score more points for your film.


Is there a registration fee for participating?

No.  There is no registration fee for teams to participate.  However, due to time constraints at the public showing, we can only accommodate up to 10 teams.

What are the prizes?

There are four cash prizes.  The First Place team wins $400.  The Second Place team wins $250.  The Third Place team wins $150 and the People’s Choice Winner wins $100.  In addition, other non-cash award certificates are presented for other categories such as “Best Use of Prop,” “Best Use of Location,” etc.

Who does the judging and how are the films judged?

Judging is done by a panel of film and video professionals and aficionados and is conducted privately during intermission.  Judges discuss each film collectively and then rate each film on a variety of factors. The results are then tabulated and the winning films are determined based on that tabulation. The People’s Choice winner is decided by paper ballot provided to all audience members.  Those votes are also tabulated during intermission and the film with the largest number of votes is the winner of this award. In the unlikely event of a tie, the Executive Director will provide the additional vote needed to determine a winner.

What is the schedule for the filming weekend?

The weekend will begin with a free pizza party on Friday held in the conference room in the lower level of the Franklin Opera House at 6 PM. We will move to the auditorium to initiate the competition at 7 PM. Genres will be randomly selected by teams and other film requirements (line of dialogue, prop, etc.) will be announced at this time. Then, teams will be released to return home (or wherever they plan to spend the weekend) to begin their film production. Completely rendered films must be turned in at the Box Office at the Opera House no later than 7 PM on Sunday. (See? That’s where the “48 hours” comes in!) Final submission should be H.264 .MOV or .MP4 file. Franklin Opera House will provide a thumb drive for participants to submit their films.

Do I need to supply my own video/computer equipment?

Teams are responsible for procuring their own video equipment, computer equipment, editing software, etc.  

What if my team needs area housing for the weekend?

It is expected that teams will return to their home communities to produce their films. But if you prefer to stay in Franklin, teams are responsible for procuring their own housing if needed.

Any recommendations/warnings for new teams who are participating?

The most important thing is to have fun!  Even if you are not able to complete your film within the designated time and qualify for prizes, we will still be happy to present your film at the public showing.  A few things to be aware of that have tripped teams up in the past:

  • Be sure to allow ample time to render your film. This can take a long time and the film must be rendered prior to submission at 7 PM on Sunday.
  • There is no admission charge for the public showing. We encourage you to bring as many of your supporters as possible to the Public Showing on Sunday. This increases your chance to win the People’s Choice Award and makes for an exciting time for you and your team!
  • Secure commitment from your team members, actors, etc. in advance of the competition, if possible. Time is of the essence and time spent working to procure last minute actors will take time away from other vital activities.
  • Prepare for a weekend of little sleep and lots of excitement!

 Do I need to have people in my film supply a Release Form?

Filmmakers are responsible for providing release forms for anyone seen in their films. The Franklin Opera House is not responsible for any lawsuits or litigation arising from including people in a film without their express written consent.

Our first 48-Hour Student Film Slam is now in the history books.

Click on the links below to view the winning entries of 2019.

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