California Student Media Festival

The California Student Media Festival is our nation’s oldest student media festival. For the past eighteen years, the California Student Media Festival has awarded more than $110,000 to California Schools. It has expanded to include the work of more than 6,000 student contestants from schools across the state. The festival exists to celebrate the amazing media and multimedia projects produced by California’s best and brightest students and teachers-rewarding and acknowledging their successful classrom work at an awards event. The Festival showcases what can be accomplished when talented students and dedicated teachers work together integrating media and multimedia into education.

The Festival believes that…

  1. Students are capable of extremely high level work, beginning at very early grades.
  2. Media and multimedia are excellent tools for students.
  3. Video and multimedia should be integrated into the regular subject-area curriculum.
  4. Rewarding exemplary work at good school programs encourages more of both.

Brief Background
The California Student Media Festival (CSMF) is a curriculum-based Festival, celebrating classroom work.  There are occasional special categories, but the submission and judging process is based on the limitations–and celebrations–of real work in real classrooms. which begins with the curriculum.  It has categories for each curriculum area, some non-curriculum school based work, such as School Information, and is broken into categories for Elementary and Secondary Education.  Middle school falls into Secondary Education.  There is no separate curriculum categories for middle school or high school, and they compete against each other.

Non-curriculum Awards
There are Special Awards, such as Best Performance and Best Use of Music, but these are selected by the judges from the curriculum categories.  There is no way for students to submit directly to those special categories.  The curriculum judges select projects for special awards, then these are grouped and judged again against each other in the special categories (Best Performance, Best Writing, Best Camerawork, etc.)

Special Categories
When groups with education initiatives such as corporations, state parks, world language institutions, or individual foundations, want to highlight their programs, special awards are created and reward with prizes supplied by the program providers.  These awards and the work they encourage must be well within the normal school study framework.  They generally touch on one or more curricula.

Teacher Projects Rewarded
Because it was recognized early that teachers are also capable of creative, inspiring work, there is a Teacher-Created category for both elementary and secondary levels.
There is no fee of any kind for submissions. There are monetary awards to schools.  These are provided by donors.  Submissions of student projects are done by teachers, with a sign-off by the site administrator. This is done primarily so that the site administrator knows about the excellent work done by teachers and students at the school.

Teacher Involvement/Support of Student Work
How much teacher participation should be involved in a submission to the CSMF?  Remembering that the festival is a celebration of work done in the classroom, the question is reframed as ‘how much teacher participation should there be in student learning?’  The answer is ever:  Just enough.  Good teachers decide how much students need to be guided to learning. Technology tools are no different.  It is a teacher’s decision.  You will see on the VIC Awards form below, as well as forms from CSMF analog era, that teachers are asked to mark which is their work and which is the students.  This question evolved mainly out of the problem that many judges had believed some of the work was really done by students.  It was!


Judging Rubric

To view the criteria used to judge student entries click HERE.


Film Categories

To view films from the 46th Annual California Student Media Festival categories below click HERE.

  1. Cross-Generational Project
  2. ELD & Bilingual Education
  3. English Language Arts
  4. Fine Arts
  5. Foreign Language
  6. History/Social Science
  7. Independent Student Project
  8. Math
  9. News Show
  10. Physical Education
  11. School Information
  12. Science/Health
  13. Special Education
  14. Student Portfolio
  15. Teacher-Created
  16. Technical Arts
  17. Thematic
  18. Video Yearbook


2011-2102 Entries and Winners


PSA: Spread Happiness. Not Rumors.

Creative Commons License
Spread Happiness. Not Rumors. by Curiosity Films is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License
Meet the Idioms: Raining Cats and Dogs by Curiosity Films is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.