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36-Hour Challenge

  • Woodbridge N. Ferris Building 17 Pearl Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI, 49503 United States (map)

A competition challenging contestants to script, shoot, edit, and submit a film in 36 hours. Participants take inspiration from thematic elements revealed at the January 26, 7 p.m. launch reception.

*teams also will be emailed instructions and materials at 8pm. 

The deadline to register was January 20. 


Participants: high school students, college students, and aspiring professionals.
Audience: professors, students, friends, family, experienced filmmakers. 


Teams are launched on January 26, 2018 at 8 p.m. to create their 6-minute short, which must be delivered to the festival's film freeway by 8 a.m. January 28. Those selected by judging panel will be screened before a live audience on February 2. 


Launch:   Woodbridge N. Ferris Building 17 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Screening: Celebration Cinema North @ 2121 Celebration Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

How Much

Teams of three or more members can register for a fee of $100. 
Prizes will be awards for the best films totaling up to $1200!

*Scholarships are offered for High School Teams - Apply Now!

This year's screening on February 2 is Presented by Celebration Cinema! After the screening in Theater 1, teams move upstairs to the Wave Room for networking and awards.

Judging Criteria Every submission is viewed by each of our judges. Full details on the panel of film industry professionals can be found on our website. Films can receive up to 10 stars in each of these categories:

  • Originality / Creativity
  • Direction
  • Writing
  • Cinematography
  • Performances
  • Production Value
  • Pacing
  • Structure
  • Sound/Music
  • Timing 6 minutes

Awards The cash prizes ($1,200) are Presented by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office! ...And, we're so grateful. 
Teams that score the highest will be awarded for their efforts in these areas:

Best of Show $200
Best Professional $400
Best University $400
High School $200

Craft Awards:  

  • Best Acting
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing
  • Best Directing
  • Best Sound
  • Best Script
  • Audience Choice

The winner of the Best of Show will also win:

  • Screening at GRFF on April 14 at the Wealthy Theatre
  • Screening at CinemaLab event
  • Free entry into the Eclipse Awards
  • Played at Celebration Cinema before an independent film 

Register your team using this form

What would you like us to call your team?
Main contact for team *
Main contact for team
Birth date
Birth date
Team member 2
Team member 2
In addition to the main contact, add the names of other team members
Birth date 2
Birth date 2
Team member 3
Team member 3
Birth date 3
Birth date 3
Some teams do not have to pay the registration fee because they have been sponsored by their university or are a high school team who received a scholarship.

After submitting your team registration, please return to this page and pay registration fee.

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Earlier Event: October 13
Later Event: February 2
36-Hour Challenge Screening