Film Contests


The San Antonio Film Commission hosts a #FilmSA Contest each year with the mission to tell the story of the people, places and shared experiences that make San Antonio a vibrant and celebrated city for visitors, residents, and filmmakers. This contest allows filmmakers to compete for cash prizes, a screening at Mission Marquee Plaza, and to be included in the City of San Antonio's marketing efforts (where applicable).

This year, #FilmSA Contest has a single unified theme for both student and non-student filmmakers alike. It is as follows:


Gastronomy by its strictest definition is the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food. It is also the term used to identify the cooking of a particular area. Gastronomy is one of the most important defining characteristics of a city. It provides a direct link to its citizens, its history and cultural identity. The City of Gastronomy designation celebrates the culinary traditions and innovations of its people.

In the fall of 2017, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy, making the city part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). Recognized for the breadth and depth of the Culinary Arts, San Antonio is only the second city in the U.S. to earn this distinction, and the first in Texas. UNESCO's Creative Cities Network promotes international cooperation and encourages the sharing of experiences and resources to promote local sustainable development through culture and creativity. San Antonio’s culinary heritage evolves out of its history as a confluence and crossroads of cultures, geology and geography. 

In collaboration with the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Office, which oversees this designation for the City of San Antonio, the “San Antonio: A UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy” theme offers filmmakers of two groups, 14 – 17 years old and 18 – 21 years old the opportunity to showcase San Antonio as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. This category allows filmmakers to highlight topics including:

  1. What makes San Antonio’s culinary community so vibrant?
  2. What native ingredients and/or traditional culinary practices and methods of cooking are used that have survived industrial/technological advancements?
  3. How does San Antonio celebrate its culinary history and community? Food markets, festivals, contests, events, etc.?
  4. What does living in a Creative City of Gastronomy where the culinary arts have been recognized on an international scale mean to you as the filmmaker?

The vision of this year’s category is:

  1. To help filmmakers acquire a better knowledge of the UNESCO designation and help promote it.
  2. To convey to our filmmakers a stronger sense of belonging and pride concerning living in a UNESCO Creative City, through their personal vision. 
  3. To allow filmmakers to express themselves on the Creative City of Gastronomy designation and, in particular, on that of their city.
  4. To ensure that filmmakers are involved in the conservation of our heritage and culture, both in how it has made us what we are today and how it shapes our future as we integrate it into our sustainable development.


  1. All entrants must be at least 14 years old to be eligible for entry. Filmmakers will be entered into the age categories of 14 - 17 and 18 - 21 based on the date of birth on the submission form.
  2. Filmmakers must fill out a San Antonio Film Permit prior to filming activities at locations owned by the City of San Antonio (which include, but are limited: City parks, River Walk, Market Square, La Villita, Spanish Governor's Palace, sidewalks, streets, etc.). For more information visit or contact Dago Patlan at the San Antonio Film Commission at or (210) 207-6777. 
  3. Each entrant may submit one film for competitive consideration in this contest.
  4. Each entry must:
    1. Showcase San Antonio as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
    2. Feature at least one culinary establishment, event, dish, cooking style, and/or talented cook in San Antonio.
    3. Be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than seven minutes in length. Any title screens, logos, credits or introductions before and/or after the actual video will count toward the seven-minute maximum limit.
    4. Have a title screen. The film title should be different from the contest theme of "San Antonio: A UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy."
    5. Obtain proper permissions for any music used in the film, if music is used. Other options include:
      1. No music.
      2. Free-use music from sources like Free Music Archive and Moby Gratis
    6. Include the San Antonio Film Commission animated logo and the San Antonio Creative City of Gastronomy logo at the end credits of the film. Filmmaker must email to receive the logos and brand guidelines for use of these logos.
  5. Entries with narration must be in English or Spanish (if in Spanish, English subtitles must be included).
  6. Entries shall not contain obscene material as defined by Section 43.21 of the Texas Penal Code. Any entry deemed as containing such obscene material will be excluded from the competition. 
  7. Entrants must submit the video in a downloadable form via Google drive, Dropbox or Vimeo as part of the #FilmSA Contest application. Films must be completely edited, in final form, and in a .mov file format.
  8. Teams are accepted. In the event that a prize is won by a team, it will be the responsibility of the team to separate equally the amount awarded. A representative of the team will have to be designated by the team to accept the award payment on behalf of the team.
  9. By entering into this competition, entrants permit the City of San Antonio and all umbrella departments full ownership of the entry for marketing and other promotional uses. Uses include, but are not limited to:
    1. Inclusion in social media posts and on channels including YouTube and Vimeo
    2. Online advertising, including national/international media outlets and websites
    3. Inclusion on City of San Antonio webpages
    4. Screenings at festivals/tradeshows with City of San Antonio representation
  10. All submissions must be sent to with the Subject Line: #FilmSA Contest - [Filmmaker Name] and include:
    1. A copy of the #FilmSA Contest entry form. Please verify that your correct email address is on the entry form.


The Deadline for all submissions is Friday, April 24, 2020 at 4 p.m. CT. 

  1. Applicants will receive a confirmation email after the entry has been received and logged.
  2. Late entries will be ineligible for judging and prizes.
  3. Incomplete submissions will be ineligible for judging and prizes.


Judging will be based upon criteria set in place by the San Antonio Film Commission. All entries will be judged by a panel of industry professionals and judging criteria will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  1. Technical merit/production quality (sound, lighting, camera work, cinematography)
  2. Technical merit/post-production (editing)
  3. Storytelling/narrative merit (screenplay/script)
  4. Storytelling/narrative merit (direction) representing/highlighting San Antonio

NOTE: All films will be scored on a 100-point scale and must score 70 points or greater to be considered for an award.

The San Antonio Film Commission and Arts & Culture staff reserves the right to pre-screen films for artistic merit and to submit only those films deemed appropriate and suitable to the judging panel. There is no guarantee that all films will be submitted to the judging panel.


Cash prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to the highest-scoring entries in each age group. All winning filmmakers will also be eligible to work on a contract basis with the City of San Antonio to edit or add elements to the films for further promotional use by the City. Filmmakers will be contacted about these opportunities, should they arise. 


The winning films will be screened at an awards ceremony at Mission Marquee Plaza on May 16, 2020 at 7 p.m., before the screening of "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" in conjunction with the "Celebrating Mission San Jose 300th Anniversary." Winners not in attendance must make arrangements to have their prizes mailed to them or winners may elect a proxy to accept their prize on their behalf.


The San Antonio Film Commission reserves the right to change this program at any time. 

Watch Previous #FilmSA Contest Winning Films Here!