Film Contests


The 2021 #FilmSA Contest is a film competition coordinated by the San Antonio Film Commission, a division of the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture, in partnership with the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Office. The contest is devoted to telling the story of the people, places, and shared experiences that make San Antonio a vibrant and celebrated city for visitors, residents, and filmmakers. The purpose of the contest is to enhance the local filmmaking community by providing an opportunity for young filmmakers to produce new works and have those works showcased through various City of San Antonio marketing initiatives. 

The objectives of this year’s contest are:

  1. To help filmmakers acquire a better knowledge and awareness of World Heritage
  2. To convey to our young filmmakers a stronger sense of belonging and pride concerning living in a World Heritage City. 
  3. To allow filmmakers to express themselves, through their personal vision, on San Antonio’s World Heritage designation 
  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.

In collaboration with the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Office, the “New Beginning. New Vision. New City.” theme offers filmmakers of two groups, 14 – 17 years old and 18 – 21 years old, the opportunity to show their new vision of our historic city while entering two film contests at once. Winning #FilmSA entries will not only receive the #FilmSA prize, but will be automatically entered into the Organization of World Heritage Cities’ (OWHC) International Video Production Competition.

In this pandemic, we have all had to take a different look at what surrounds us. While safety and social distancing parameters have kept us closer to home, they have also given us more time to explore our neighborhoods and city in new ways. This context offers a golden opportunity for a new beginning, for a new way of seeing and appreciating our World Heritage. 

This theme allows filmmakers to highlight topics including:

  1. Has your San Antonio changed since the pandemic? 
  2. How is it different? 
  3. How has your city celebrated its heritage and culture in new ways throughout the pandemic? We encourage you to explore how heritage, culture and arts organizations are providing programming online or in new ways, how restaurants pivoted to provide family meals, online cooking courses, etc. 
  4. How will your city’s heritage be protected and enhanced when life returns to normal.

For participants 18-21 years old – We invite you to push a little further your reflection on this theme. According to the World Tourism Organization, the near-complete lockdown imposed all over the world in response to the pandemic led to a 98% fall in international tourist numbers in May 2020 when compared to 2019. This great lockdown has had direct consequences to World Heritage Cities that typically rely on tourism as an economic driver.

Tell us what you think about this situation.

  1. What are the impacts of the pandemic on San Antonio, specifically its World Heritage Missions? 
  2. Are there any lessons to be learned from this crisis? 
  3. What vision do you have for the future of San Antonio?  
  4. What will be needed to undertake a new beginning?


  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 years old and 18 – 21 years old 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 not limited to: City parks, River Walk, Market Square, La Villita, Spanish Governor’s Palace, sidewalks, streets, etc.). For more information, visit or contact Stephanie Torres at the San Antonio Film Commission at or (210) 207-6777. 
  3. Filmmakers who wish to film at the San Antonio Missions should contact Mike Fager at to request a permit. 
  4. Each entrant may submit one (1) film for competitive consideration in this contest.
  5. 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 themselves. 


  1. Entry must showcase San Antonio as a World Heritage City.
  2. Video must not exceed a maximum time of 5 minutes. Any title screens, logos, credits, or introductions before and/or after the actual video will count toward the seven-minute maximum limit.
  3. Video is required to have an original title and include a title screen. The film title should be different from the contest theme (New Beginning. New Vision. New City). 
  4. Video must represent visual elements of the city. Do not overload them with text. Sound effects and music (with lyrics or not), are allowed. 
  5. Filmmaker must obtain proper permissions for any music used in the film. Or, must use free-use music from sources such as and 
  6. It is mandatory to integrate some text and/or narration in English or Spanish. Videos submitted without text or narration will not be accepted. If narration or text is in Spanish, English subtitles must be included. 
  7. Video must include the San Antonio Film Commission animated logo, World Heritage logo and at the end credits of the film. Filmmakers must email to receive the logos and brand guidelines for their use. 
  8. 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.
  9. Video must be submitted 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.
  10. 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:
    a) Inclusion in social media posts and on channels including YouTube and Vimeo
    b) Online advertising, including national/international media outlets and websites
    c) Inclusion on City of San Antonio webpages 
    d) Screenings at festivals/tradeshows with City of San Antonio representation 


The deadline for all submissions is Friday, March 12 at 5 p.m. CST. All submissions must be sent to with the Subject Line: #FilmSA Contest – [Filmmaker name] and must include:

  1. A completed 2021 #FilmSA Contest entry form. Please verify that the correct email address is on the entry form.
  2. The final video in a .mov format sent in downloadable form via Google Drive, Dropbox, Vimeo, etc. 

Applicants will receive a confirmation email after the entry has been received and logged. Late entries and 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. Quality of the production (20%)
  2. Processing of the content (40%)
  3. Originality and creativity (40%)

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 City of San Antonio 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, with the top scoring entries in each age group automatically entered for competition in the OWHC’s International Video Production Competition

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 2021 #FilmSA contest winners’ films will be screened at an awards ceremony on Saturday, May 1, 2021. More details about the ceremony location or online screening to be announced at a later date. 

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