Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and the Saint Louis Science Center are excited to announce the third edition of their science-fiction and fantasy short film contest – an opportunity for regional filmmakers to let their imaginations shine. This year’s edition has a Mega Monster Movie focus.

Because of the covid-19 crisis, the original May 1 date of the event, slated for a First Friday program, is no longer viable. The Science Center hopes to reschedule the screening of the selected films and the other related events for the summer, with a date still to be determined.

This juried competition will award cash prizes to the top three entries: $500 for Best of Fest and $200 each for Best Sci Fi and Best Fantasy selections. The winning shorts will then be featured at the Science Center’s First Friday program and will screen in the Science Center’s OMNIMAX® Theater. In addition to the three cash-prize winners, additional works will be chosen to screen throughout the First Friday program. This year’s First Friday theme is Mega Monster Movies. Filmmakers are encouraged to incorporate a mega monster into their films, along the lines of Godzilla, King Kong, or Pacific Rim. 

A four-person jury of film professionals (filmmakers, film scholars, film critics) and a scientist will select the finalists, including both the three cash-prize winners and the additional films. Jury members will be announced on CSL’s website.

Cinema St. Louis will then screen the winning film as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase (SLFS). CSL will also consider other submissions for inclusion in SLFS, held annually each July at Washington University’s Brown Hall.

The cash-prize winners and additional works in the program will be announced at the Science Center’s First Friday: Mega Monster Movies.


Click HERE to go to the submission page and form on FilmFreeway.

Rules & Terms

Filmmakers interested in participating must submit shorts that meet the following criteria:

  • Films must be easily categorized as science-fiction or fantasy.
  • Films must run a maximum of five minutes, including credits (no minimum running time).
  • Films must contain no profane language or offensive imagery; if CSL and the Saint Louis Science Center deem a work inappropriate for viewing 31 audiences of all ages, it will be eliminated from consideration.
  • Films must include sound (e.g., dialogue, ambient sound, effects, and/or music).
  • All conceivable approaches – including experimental, narrative, and animated– are acceptable. The shorts can be shot in any film or video format, in either color or black-and-white.
  • Films must have a production date no earlier than 2014.
  • Films with a monster-film theme are encouraged, but not required.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

  • Filmmakers must have secured rights to any music, words, or images used in the work.
  • Filmmakers will retain ownership rights to submitted works, but by submitting a short to the competition, a filmmaker grants the Saint Louis Science Center the right to screen the work in its exhibition spaces. Submission of a short does not guarantee its use.
  • Filmmakers must live within a specified geographical location, which includes the states Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • All films must be submitted using FilmFreeway with a secure online screener link. No entry fee is required. Submission deadline is May 31, 2020.