Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am a screenwriter and/or producer with an eligible short film project, can I enter the contest?

To enter the contest, you must collaborate with a director of age 18 or over, who has directed at least one publicly screened film but no more than one feature length film. The director will be the contest entrant. If you are the sole producer of the film, you cannot also be its director. As long as there are two or more producers attached to the film, one of them may be the director/entrant. The screenwriter and director can be the same person.


2. I’m a student, can I enter the contest?

As long as you are a director of age 18 or over, who has directed at least one publicly screened film but no more than one feature length film,  you can enter the contest.

3.  I fit the eligibility requirements, but I do not reside in the United States. Can I still enter your contest?

Yes. You do not have to live in the Unites States to enter the contest. This is a global film contest.

4. Is it only the director/entrant who must be 18 or over?

Yes. However, with the exception of cast/actors, everyone else involved with the project in any capacity must be at least eighteen (18) years of age as of the date of contest entry. You must comply with all state and/or federal laws in your jurisdiction concerning the employment of minors if you work with actors under the age of eighteen (18).

5. I meet all eligibility requirements, but my film project will exceed 20 minutes in length when completed. Can I enter the contest?

No, you cannot enter the contest. However, you might be eligible to apply to our film grant program for funding. Please visit the film program website at film.claimscon.org

6. Why do you require a prior work sample?

The director’s prior work will be assessed by the judges to evaluate director’s technical and artistic ability. The director’s prior work will be among the factors considered in choosing the finalists and winner.

7. I  do not have a prior directing work sample, but I have been a producer, screenwriter or director of photography on other films. Can I submit one of those as a work sample?

No. You must submit a prior work sample that displays your directing skills. However, if you were the co-director on your prior work sample, then that is acceptable.

8. What do you mean by “publicly screened” in relation to the prior work sample?

You must have screened your film to the general public at an educational institution, museum, festival, professional film organization, movie theater or other similar venue. We reserve the right to confirm such public screenings. Private screenings for individuals involved in the film and unpublicized screenings such as classroom showcases do not fulfill the public screening requirement

9. May I submit an entry without a publicly screened prior work sample?

No, you may not. Your entry will be disqualified.

10. May  I send you my prior work sample as a DVD or on another tangible format? 

No. You must attach the link for the prior work sample to the online entry form. You can password-protect the online work sample and enter the password in the appropriate field on the entry form. The link should be accessible for six months. We will not accept your prior work sample in any other format or after the submission of your contest entry.

11. Does my prior work sample need to be a short film?

No. Your prior work sample can be a publicly screened short or feature-length film. However, please be advised that if you have directed more than one feature-length film, you will be disqualified from the contest.

12. My prior work sample is not in English. Is this acceptable? 

Your prior work sample can be in a different language as long as it has English subtitles.

13. How do you define the Holocaust focus of the contest?

The Holocaust, defined as the systematic persecution and murder of Jews by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945 (and in the immediate post-war period), must be the main focus of your film project for the purposes of the contest.

While your film cannot use the Holocaust as a backdrop to discuss other issues, you are not limited to the World War II period itself. For example, your film may portray the experiences of Holocaust survivors after the war up to the present day, or focus on a topic such as current issues in art/property restitution. You are also not limited to the use of Jewish protagonists/main characters to portray the Holocaust experience (for example, a film might focus on a rescuer).

14. How can I learn more about the Holocaust?

We recommend the following websites as a starting point:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Yad Vashem

Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation (Centropa), Austria

Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, California

Center for Medicine After the Holocaust, Texas

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Illinois

Holocaust Museum Houston, Texas

Simon Wiesenthal Center (Museum of Tolerance), California

Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, New Jersey

Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, New York

Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center, Japan

POLIN: Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Poland

Kazerne Dossin, Belgium

Forum for Dialogue, Poland

Cape Town Holocaust & Genocide Centre, South Africa

Polish Center for Holocaust Research, Poland

Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, Poland

Museo del Holocausto Buenos Aires, Argentina

Memorial de la Shoah, France

15. My short film is fictional and/or is not based on real people or events. Is my project eligible for contest entry?

As long as your project is historically accurate and portrays the Holocaust realistically, it is eligible for contest entry. The events or characters portrayed in the film can be fictional.

16. My short film will be animated or feature animation. Is my project eligible for contest entry?

Yes, it is eligible for contest entry. If you film includes animation, you will need to provide a sample of the animation style.

17. I have a great idea for a narrative short film about the Holocaust, but I do not have a screenplay yet. Can I enter the contest with a synopsis or treatment instead of a screenplay

No, you cannot enter the contest in the narrative category without a screenplay. A screenplay not exceeding twenty (20) pages and in standard industry format is required for all narrative short film entries. Treatments are acceptable only for the documentary category.

18. I have multiple short film projects that fit your eligibility criteria. Can I submit all of them to the contest?

You can submit up to two entries for the contest. Each entry must be for a different project; the second entry cannot be a revision of the first entry. If you submit more than two entries, we will consider only two and the rest of your entries will be disqualified.

19. I revised my screenplay/treatment or budget after the initial entry. Can I submit a new entry with the revisions or send you the revised documents?

No, that is not acceptable.

20. I adapted my short film script from another work. Is this acceptable?

We allow adaptations only if the original work is already in the public domain or if you adapted the screenplay from your own original work in a different format or if you are able to demonstrate that you have acquired the rights to the underlying material. Entries featuring any other kind of adaptation will be disqualified.

21. I  am a writer/director, and I wrote a short screenplay that has already been optioned by another individual or entity. Can I enter the contest with that screenplay?

No. You cannot enter the contest with that screenplay unless the option expires and has not been renewed by the time of entry, or the individual/entity that has the option is one of the producers of the film and you are attached to the film as a non work for hire director.

22. Can I enter the contest with a film project that is already in production or post-production?

No. Principal photography cannot begin before the winner has been announced. For documentaries, no more than 20% of the film may be shot.

23. My film budget exceeds $40,000. Am I still eligible to submit my entry? 

Yes, the budget of your film can be over $40,000. However, at the time of the winner is announced, you must document that you have secured the necessary additional funding commitments.

The winner must sign all documents required by the Claims Conference in order to receive any of the prize money and to proceed to production stage of the short film

24. Must my screenplay and/or film be in English?

No, it can be in any language. However, screenplays in other languages must be accompanied by English translations at the time of entry. If the prize winning film is in a language other than English, it must have English subtitles.

25. If  I win the contest, do I have to give up ownership of my film when it is completed?

No. You retain ownership in the film.

26. I have another question that is not addressed here. What should I do?

Please contact us at filmcontest@claimscon.org before the entry deadline. We will not respond to inquiries over the phone, fax or in person.