Spring Film Challenge


What is the Spring Film Challenge? It is annual film festival event modeled on the Virginia Film Festival challenge in which participants are given a set of 'challenge items' (for instance, a required theme and prop), after which they have a short period of time to create and submit an original short film. See category descriptions below for examples!

The Spring 2023 Film Challenge was held Tuesday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 29.  Participants had just over two weeks to create a short film using the challenge criteria. There are two submission categories: short-short and short film (see below for descriptions and examples). Screening and awards presentation was held Wednesday, April 26, 5:30pm, in the Bonnie Auditorium on the Radford University campus. Admission was free and open to the public. See below for winners!

The CHALLENGE ITEMS were revealed on the kick-off date:

SHORT-SHORT (FIVE-BY-FIVE) - Theme: Prevention, Prop: choose ONE from rock, paper or scissors.
SHORT FILM - Theme: Accumulation, Prop: use ALL THREE from rock, paper or scissors.

NOTE: for both categories, you CANNOT use the rock, paper, scissors game to depict the prop(s) in your film.


  • Short-Short category: Five-by-Five - create an original short-short consisting of five distinct, different shots, each lasting five seconds, for a total time of 25 seconds (not counting titles and credits). Theme provided upon kick-off. Examples: Old Milk (theme: age, prop: wheels); The Game (theme: sharing, prop: playing cards); Affliction (theme: transition, prop: sunglasses)

    Short category – create an original short film spanning a minimum 1 minute and maximum 5 minutes (not counting titles and credits). Challenge provided upon kick-off. Example: My Worst Enemy (theme: authenticity, prop: water); A Game Of Life (theme: communication, prop: animal picture)

Our 2023 judging panel features Laura Kinzie (2010, B.F.A., Art Education), Stephen Mills (2019, B.S., Communications) and Shea Sizemore (2006, B.S., Communications). There will be separately judged tiers for high school, college and community participants in each category. Movies will be screened by the judges' panel for award consideration.


- All entries must consist of original video/imagery, no stock footage.

- Participants will upload their completed movie to YouTube, after which they will fill out the ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM (link will go live upon kick-off).

IMPORTANT: Check out the updated Spring Film Challenge OFFICIAL GUIDELINES. All films must feature original video, no stock footage. See below for filmmaking resources and a short 'getting started' video.' Please direct questions to citl@radford.edu.



Read the short Film As Curriculum article to learn about interdisciplinary applications of short film.



Producing Your Movie - Resources

McConnell Library - students can checkout camcorders, tripods, DSLR cameras, and audio recorders. The default period is three days, and it's a good idea to make a reservation in advance. You might also consider spending some time with the camera you'll be using before you check it out to shoot your movie.

CITL - on the second floor McConnell Library. If you need to speak with someone about questions you have or how to do something regarding cameras or equipment, media, editing, etc., or if you need access to a computer for editing, then this is the place. Email citl@radford.edu with general questions, or to set up an appointment with one of our staff, or to make a reservation to use a video editing station or learn more about video software.

CITL Studio One - also in the CITL, this is a small audio and video production space for producing voice work, green/black/white screen video, audio and video presentations, VR gaming and other related activities. Training and appointments necessary. Email citl@radford.edu to find out more.


- Hold the phone in landscape (horizontal) mode. ALWAYS avoid portrait (vertical) mode.
- Use both hands
- Use your touch focus to focus accurately on your subject
- To stabilize certain shots, you place your elbows on a table to take the photo, or even put the phone in selfie mode and lean it against a vase, stack of books, etc.
- Make sure you have adequate lighting.
- Avoid pointing the camera at a light source such as a window, lightbulb, sun, etc.

The Free Sound Project - use for hard-to-find audio and sound effects for your movie (you have to sign up to download stuff, but it's free).

FindSounds.com - use for hard-to-find audio and sound effects for your movie. TIP: search for 16-bit/44100 format WAV or AIF files.

Audacity - a really great, freeware audio editor for Windows or Mac. Good for recording voice, mixing multiple tracks together, special audio effects. etc. Click link to download. If you need help getting started, download the Audacity quick reference.

2023 awards:


Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Use of Prop: Paper Airplane Stress Test (Mitchel Hamm and Kristofer Miller)
Runner-Up, Best Use Of Theme, Best ActingCut Your Hair (Denise Kackley)


Best Picture: Ro Sham Bo Scour Power
Runner-UpLearning Step By Step
Best Cinematography: D Is For Duplicate (Tyrese Hallums)
Best Acting: Learning Step By Step (Tyler Barrett)
Best Sound: Ro Sham Bo Scour Power (Patrick Hurt, Gabe Tieskotter and Kristofer Miller)
Best Director: Ro Sham Bo Scour Power (Mitchell Hamm and Kristofer Miller)
Best Use of Prop: Ro Sham Bo Scour Power
Best Use Of Theme: The Magic Box (Juliana Pascarella)
Best Editing: The Magic Box (Juliana Pascarella)


Mitchel Hamm