Top Menu


DAFT Festival


The 48th Michigan Student Film Festival

What: The 48th Michigan Student Film Festival
When: 10am – 3pm, Saturday April 23, 2016
Where: The Detroit Film Theatre @ The Detroit Institute of Arts
Eligible: Students Grades K-12
Entry Deadline: Deadline: March 4, 2016

IMPORTANT:  Copyright Guidelines for Festival Entries

Photos, art and other such visuals plus various forms of music—on the Internet and elsewhere—are copyrighted, even if they don’t include the copyright character, “©” and the owner’s name. Getting the owner’s permission to use such materials is important unless the material qualifies as Fair Use or is in the public domain.

Audio or visuals entered for competition should include a statement certifying it is original student work, used with written permission or is believed to fall under fair use in copyright law.  Fair Use refers to the ability to print or broadcast materials that are copyrighted based on four factors:

  1. Purpose and character of use (i.e. non-commercial use like news reporting, teaching or reviewing);
  2. Nature of the work (e.g. factual work is more likely to fall under fair use than creative work, and published works are more likely to be used fairly than unpublished works);
  3. How much is used (i.e. looking at both quantity and quality of what is used; NOTE: There is no law stating music of less than 30 seconds is permissible to use.);
  4. Effect of the use on commercial value of the original.

Use of apparently copyrighted materials without permission or a fair use argument as explained on the entry (e.g. photos from or or an artist’s soundtrack) will result in disqualification of the entry.

DAFT - Celebrating Young Filmmakers

Celebrating Young Filmmakers

The Michigan Student Film Festival is unique in the nation for providing a public venue for the work of students in grades K-12, as well as giving recognition and significant awards to young media artists. DAFT is proud to present The Michigan Student Film Festival, now in its 47th year.


Find out about the rules,
specifications and prizes of the festival.

Enter the Festival

Beat the deadline.
Submit your entry online today.


Support the festival by volunteering
as an usher or judge.

Sponsor the Festival

Festival Sponsor Farm

Festival sponsorship not only provides individual, corporations and grant organizations an opportunity to support young media makers, each sponsor is acknowledged in a number of very special ways.

2015 Gold Sponsors

IBEW Local 58
Specs Howard School of Media Arts
Festival Sponsor MCACA
MPI Motion Picture Institute

Festival Prizes & Awards


2015 Festival Prizes include

  • Full Scholarship to Specs Howard School of Media Arts
  • Full Scholarship to MPI: Motion Picture Institute

Encouragement & Support

The main goal of the Michigan Student Film Festival is to provide encouragement and support to young people who are already creating media by acknowledging their efforts, rewarding their finest accomplishments and offering opportunities for study and advancement.

Each entry is reviewed by educational and media professionals and their feedback is sent to student filmmakers to prompt growth and reflection on their filmmaking skills and approach.

Festival Junior Winners
Film Festival - Crystal Gallery

Michigan-focused, National Reach

In recognition of its work, DAFT was awarded the 2006 Governor’s Award for Arts & Culture. DAFT’s mission is to promote media literacy through the creative use of film and video.

The American Film Institute says that DAFT’s Michigan Student Film & Video Festival is the oldest festival in the nation providing public recognition for the work of students in grades K-12. In fact, many young people who got their first public exposure through this Festival have gone on to professional careers. And a few of them have even gotten awards at that really huge film festival known as the Oscars.

Poster & Program Design Contest

Festival Program Cover Design Demo 002

For the first time in 46 years, DAFT is opening up the design of the official festival poster and program cover to students. A totally separate contest with its own prizes, the poster and cover design contest is now accepting entries.

2015 Special Entry Category

Entry Categories

IBEW Local 58

Students are encouraged to create a new film for the festival inspired by our Special Entry Category. The 2015 Special Entry Category is underwritten by IBEW Local 58. To learn more about entry categories and prizes, please view our Festival Rules.

DAFT accepts entries in the following categories:

  • Animation
  • General Entertainment
  • Instructional
  • News/Magazine Programs
  • Comedy
  • Documentary
  • Commercials/Promos
  • Motion Graphics
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Sports/Events
  • Music Videos
  • Artistic/Experimental
2015 Festival Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

35mm Sponsors

DAFT Festival

Comments are closed.

Design by Van Star Media