No Malice Film Contest

The No Malice Film Contest creates a platform for Illinois youth and young adults, ages 11-21, to explore the topic of racial healing using the medium of film. We believe youth and young adults have the capacity and desire to use their words and actions to promote fairness, heal the wounds within their communities, and participate in social change for the benefit of all. The No Malice Film Contest encourages you to take a creative and thoughtful approach to these aspirations through the creation of short films.

Tips for Getting Started

Although you have a voice and ideas you're passionate to share, you may not know where to start when making a short film. To help you get started, we've compiled a few resources below.

Watch Filmmaking 101

Presented by Liliane Calfee, this session highlights story development, filming, and editing.

You may also want to check out her presentation and the list of resources she shared.

Liliane spearheaded the launch of DePaul’s summer youth programs in 2016 in partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority. The programs are designed based on her experience employing visual storytelling to raise awareness on important issues affecting marginalized populations and her conviction that a gender approach to community development is essential to creating lasting change. The programs emphasize teamwork and collaboration as equally important to the transfer of career-building skills. This approach was cultivated throughout years of working in regions as diverse as the immigrant-rich projects of Paris, France; local NGOs in Dakar, Senegal; and community-based health clinics in rural villages of Southeastern Kenya. The programs also seek to expose youth to unique experiences, such as visiting production studios and meeting established industry professionals, in order to ignite inspiration and provide a framework for youth achieving their long-term career goals. 

Get Inspired

The New York Times Film Club created a resource for educators called, 26 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias, and Identity with Students. If you're looking for inspiration, you might want to watch a few to see how other youth are talking about race, bias, and identity.

Watch the Expert Sessions

In February and March, we asked five experts, including Troy Pryor, Rita Coburn, Steve James, Pamela Sherrod Anderson, and T. Shawn Taylor, to provide tips for youth interested in participating in the contest. Each of those sessions is linked below. If you don't have time to watch all five expert sessions, be sure to watch our short highlight reel.

Learn from the Experts

As part of the No Malice Film Contest, we invite young filmmakers to join us for five exciting sessions led by expert writers, producers, and directors. The sessions highlight the art of telling powerful stories using the medium of film. All sessions are free of charge; however, you must register to attend each session individually. When you register, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a unique link to join the event.


Create, Don't Wait!, Troy Osborne Pryor - Watch the Recording

Troy Pryor

Troy Osborne Pryor is an American producer, host, and actor. His stage, on-camera, and voice over work has led to award-winning content on multiple platforms including collaborations with ABC, Warner Brothers, HGTV, DIY Network, TV One, and Aspire TV. A Chicago native, Troy is an advocate for connecting local, undiscovered diverse talent to mainstream content and media platforms through his production network, Creative Cypher. Pryor established Pryor Holdings in 2012 to include the brands: Troy Pryor Studios, Creative Cypher, Cypher Foundation, BLACC, and Dark Berry Productions. This ecosystem aggregates hundreds of artists, connecting them to the resources and tools that enable new content production for major brands. Through these production deals, Troy aims to support the expansion of Chicago’s multi-million-dollar creative community footprint, globally.


Directing: The Storyteller, Rita Coburn - Watch the Recording

Rita Coburn

Rita Coburn is a Peabody and Emmy Award winning Director, Writer, and Producer with nearly four decades in radio, television and film. Coburn primarily focuses on the stories of women by uniquely addressing topics from a multi-generational lens through the untold stories of prominent figures and key ideals relevant to our culture. Coburn co-directed and co-produced Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise for American Masters which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and garnered a Peabody Award in 2017. Coburn's notable credits include historical documentaries on black culture, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah Radio, and BET/Centric. Her current project in production is Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands. The documentary is a Co-Production of Coburn’s company RCW Media Productions, Inc and American Masters.


The People in My Films: Portrayal and Relationships, Steve James - Watch the Recording

Steve James

Steve James previous work includes Academy Award nominated films Hoop Dreams and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. Other award-winning work includes Stevie, The Interrupters, No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, and Life Itself. His Starz docuseries, America to Me, was one of the most acclaimed TV shows of 2018. His most recent docuseries, City So Real premiered to rave reviews on National Geographic and Hulu.


Seeds for Story, Pamela Sherrod Anderson - Watch the Recording

Pamela Sherrod Anderson

In this session, learn what it takes to go from an idea to a story for the screen, including finding the who and the what to take you where you want to go with your audience.
Pamela Sherrod Anderson, founder of Graceworks Theater and Film Productions LLC, is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, playwright, educator, and journalist. She is currently Board Chair of Kartemquin Films, which celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2021 and remains even more committed to social justice and democracy through documentary. Her films have been shown in national and international film festivals and are available on streaming services.

She has taught in film and journalism departments at DePaul University and Columbia College of Chicago. Her illustrious journalism career includes editor, reporter and columnist at Chicago Tribune newspaper and United Press International. Pamela is a proud product of Chicago’s South Side and proud of her family’s Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi roots.

Trust Your Gut: The Stories You Were Born to Tell, T. Shawn Taylor - Watch the Recording

T. Shawn Taylor

A self-described nerd who wrote short stories and poems in grammar school and charged kids on the playground a quarter apiece to read them, in 2006, Shawn tapped into that entrepreneurial spirit to found Treetop Consulting, a boutique communications firm, following a successful career in newspapers that spanned the Midwest. Still a journalist at heart, Shawn has employed her interviewing and research prowess to examine the social, emotional and economic impact the early deaths of Black men have on families and communities in the documentary in progress “Gone Too Soon: America’s Missing Black Men.” In October 2019, she graduated from Kartemquin Films’ Diverse Voices in Docs program for aspiring filmmakers.

Shawn has built a reputation as a skilled writer and master storyteller, developing content on a range of topics including social justice; gender and racial equality; equal pay; equity in education; and entrepreneurship, among others. A trained flutist and master Hoola Hooper, Shawn's motto is, “Whenever possible, start at the top.”

Participating in the Contest

To learn more about how to get started and see participant awards and prizes, please expand the tabs below by clicking them. You can also find the complete contest rules in this section. If you want to share information about the contest, please download our No Malice Film Contest Poster.

Have questions about the No Malice Film Contest? Email ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov

Start Here

We invite Illinois youth, ages 11-21, to create a 3- to 7-minute film addressing the topic of racial healing. Animations of at least 45 seconds in length will also be accepted. When you submit your film, you will also be required to provide a Director’s Statement and sign an Oath and Permission form.

You are invited to submit films in one of the following age brackets:

  • 11-14
  • 15-18
  • 19-21

You may enter as an individual or as part of a group. If you choose to make a film with a group, choose one group member to submit the film. To determine the appropriate age category, you must use the age of the oldest member of your group. Additional group members will also be required to complete the Oath and Permission form and email it to ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov

Winning films will premiere at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum's No Malice Film Contest on July 31, 2021. They will be screened again at EbertFest at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2021. Winning films will also be offered to Illinois educators as part of an online curriculum that uses peer films to address topics of racial healing with youth.

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Awards and Prizes

There will be one (1) 1st place winner, one (1) 2nd place winner, and one (1) 3rd place winner in each of the contest age brackets.

  • 11-14
  • 15-18
  • 19-21

All winners will receive the following prizes:

  1. Screening of their film at ALPLM's No Malice Film Contest, at EbertFest at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and at other related and subsequent educational and non-profit events hosted (or co-hosted) by Sponsor. These screenings may occur in person and/or online (recorded or streamed).
  2. Posting of their film on the No Malice Film Contest website. A curriculum that includes their film will also be developed for use in the classroom and posted to the website. (Note: Sponsor reserves the right to utilize submitted films for any promotional materials and online media, at its sole discretion.)
  3. Cash prize: All winning submissions will receive a cash prize. The awards for each place in each age bracket are as follows:
  • First (1st) Place: $2,000 cash prize
  • Second (2nd) Place: $1,000 cash prize
  • Third (3rd) Place: $500 cash prize

NOTE: In the case of group submissions, the prize amount will be divided among members of the group.

Contest Rules and Terms

To download the rules listed below, please open the No Malice Film Contest Rules.

RULES

No Malice Film Contest submissions, from Illinois students ages 11 to 21, are due by midnight, May 31, 2021. All winning films will premiere at the No Malice Film Contest in July 2021.

Questions? Please contact the ALPLM Education Department at ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov.

1. Eligibility

The No Malice Film Contest (hereafter referred to as the “Contest”) is open to Illinois residents ages 11 to 21. Entrants will be grouped into brackets based on their age on April 30, 2021.

No purchase is necessary to enter the contest, but entrants are liable for any taxes or costs incurred for entering.

Employees and family members of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, and The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation (the entities hereafter referred to as “Sponsor” or “ALPLM,” “ALPLF,” “Ebert Foundation”) are not eligible.

In addition to their film submission, all entrants must submit a Director's Statement and complete the Permission Form and Oath on Film Freeway. For entrants under the age of 18 or under a legal disability, the form must be signed online by a parent or legal guardian who accepts responsibility on behalf of the entrant, has read these official rules (“Rules”), and agrees to bind the entrant to the Rules. In the event a winner fails or refuses to execute or provide any required documentation, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to a substitute winner at Sponsor’s sole discretion.

2. Sponsor

The Contest is hosted by:

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, 212 North Sixth Street, Springfield, IL 62701
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, 500 E. Madison Street, Ste 200, Springfield IL 62701
  • The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, 108 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654

The Contest is funded by a grant from Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.

3. Details of Official Rules

Participation in the Contest constitutes entrants’ full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Selection for awards and receipt of prize money are all contingent upon complying with the Rules and fulfilling Contest requirements. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who fails to comply with all official Rules.

A. Eligible Age Brackets

To enter the contest, entrants must be residents of Illinois and fall into one of the following age brackets:

  • 11-14
  • 15-18
  • 19-21

Contest officials reserve the right to not name a winner in any given bracket, pending the volume and quality of entries.

Contest entries may be submitted by an individual, or by a group of any size (examples: a group of friends, an entire class, etc.). In the case of group submissions, the submission must be entered into the age bracket represented by the oldest member of the group. For example, if a class of 14- and 15-year-olds creates a film, it will be entered into the 15-18 bracket or if siblings, ages 17 and 19 create a film, it will be entered into the 19-21 bracket.

B. Topic

As part of the Healing Illinois initiative, the No Malice Film Contest asks entrants to submit videos addressing racial healing. Entrants will be judged on their ability to address the topic through an engaging, informative, inspiring, and creative approach.

C. Film Length

Entrants may submit a film of no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 7 minutes.

Sponsor will accept and consider short, animated (including 3D, hand drawn, stop-motion, etc.) films. The minimum length for animated submissions is 45 seconds.

D. Director’s Statement

All entrants will be required to submit a Director’s Statement. The Director’s Statement is a short (no more than 500 words) explanation of your vision and intent for the film. In the Director’s Statement you may want to address the story you are telling, the themes it covers, your vision for the film, and your purpose or intent in telling the story.

While we expect your film will speak for itself, the Director’s Statement helps us to create marketing materials and the supplemental curriculum we are sharing with students and educators after the Contest.

E. Prizes

There will be one (1) 1st place winner, one (1) 2nd place winner, and one (1) 3rd place winner in each of the age brackets.
All winners will receive the following prizes:

1. Screening of their film at ALPLM’s No Malice Film Contest, at EbertFest at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and at other related and subsequent educational and non-profit events hosted (or co-hosted) by Sponsor. These screenings may occur in person and/or online (recorded or streamed).
2. Posting of their film on the No Malice Film Contest website. A curriculum that includes their film will also be developed for use in the classroom and posted to the website. (Note: Sponsor reserves the right to utilize submitted films for any promotional materials and online media, at its sole discretion.)
3. Cash prize: All winning submissions will receive a cash prize. The awards for each place in each age bracket are as follows:

  • First (1st) Place: $2,000 cash prize
  • Second (2nd) Place: $1,000 cash prize
  • Third (3rd) Place: $500 cash prize

NOTE: In the case of group submissions, the prize amount will be divided among members of the group.
Prizes are subject to state appropriation and can change without notice.

F. Judging Criteria

Sponsor will check all submissions for adherence to these Rules, including eligibility, compliance with all terms (legality, conduct, etc.), film length, format, etc. before a film is submitted to the judges. Films will be judged by professional film critics. They will evaluate films based upon quality and content of the film and its ability to educate, inspire, and raise awareness of the race-related topics supported by the Contest.

Entrants who do not conform to policies and Rules may be disqualified at the discretion of Sponsor. Any disqualifications are the decision of Sponsor and are final.

4. Entrants’ License to Sponsor

Entrants retain all intellectual property rights in their submissions, including copyright rights. As a condition of participation in the Contest, however, entrants grant Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual right to show, display, distribute, and market all film entries, in their entirety, in part (film clips) and still shots, to live audiences, online (recorded and live stream), and in written materials. This permission also includes but is not limited to Sponsor’s right to use all film submissions in screenings, showcases, workshops, educational activities and curricula, and marketing efforts with third party partners.

5. Contest Submission Period

All submissions for the 2021 film contest must be submitted and received by midnight May 31, 2021.

6. How to Enter – Submission Rules/Guidelines

There is a limit of one (1) entry per person or per group. Individuals who participate in a group submission may not submit an individual film. Any additional entries will be void and only the first entry will be considered during judging. All film submissions must be made electronically. If you have any issues with submission or a special circumstance and need to submit a hard copy DVD, contact ALPLM’s Education Department at ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov. If you submit a DVD, it will not be returned.

All entries (hard copy or electronic) become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. As a condition of participation, entrants agree that their entry can be downloaded by the Sponsor and used for marketing purposes and future events held by Sponsor and/or hosted on Sponsor’s website. If entrants do not agree to the download, their submission will be disqualified.

A. Submitting an Electronic File

All films must be submitted to Film Freeway unless they meet the extenuating circumstances discussed above. To do so, visit the No Malice Film Contest page on Film Freeway, upload your film, and fill out the online form.

Be sure to complete the customized oath and permission form within Film Freeway.

For group entries, only one entrant (and, as required, parent/guardian) will be able to enter their information with the submission. All other entrants (and, as required, parents/guardians) must download the Oath and Permission Form, follow the completion instructions, and send the finalized form, via email, to ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov. All additional entrant Oath and Permission Forms must be received by May 31, 2021.

B. Intellectual Property

By entering this contest, all entrants agree that their submission is their own original work, does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others, and complies with all copyright laws.

When using sources and works that are not your own, entrants agree that those works are part of the public domain, that they have obtained permission to use the work, or that the use of the work does not constitute a substantial portion of the film so as to comply with fair use laws of USC Title 17 Section 107. Where an entrant has obtained permission to use a substantial portion of another’s intellectual property, entrant agrees to submit proof of permission with the film entry. We urge entrants in their creativity to use their own artistic works or those in the public domain. As to research, please give credit to the owners and authors of scientific, academic, political, etc. works, such as through the credits of the film or when the source is used in the film.

For help finding images that are in the public domain and do not constitute any type of infringement, try starting at the Library of Congress. For free or royalty-free sound recordings and music, an artist typically places their work into the public domain. Try doing a search for royalty-free music, and you can find many songs available for a free and legal download to accompany your video.

Entrants agree to not hold Sponsor or the No Malice Film Contest liable for any intellectual property disputes and to comply with these Rules and all copyright laws.

7. Winner Selection/Notification

During the first two weeks of June 2021, the Sponsor will announce the potential winners after judgment of all eligible entries.

After winners are chosen, Sponsor will attempt to notify the winners via e-mail or telephone during the first two weeks of June 2021. If the winner cannot be contacted within five (5) days after the date of the first attempt to contact, the Sponsor may choose to award the next runner-up in place of the originally selected winner.

Potential winners will be notified by e-mail and/or telephone. If the potential winner cannot be contacted or if the prize is undeliverable, potential winner forfeits the prize.

It is the duty of the winner/s to supply a physical U.S. mailing address to Sponsor to which the prize can be delivered at the time of entry. If this address should change it is the duty of the entrant to inform Sponsor of the updated address. For winning entrants who are minors, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize in the name of the parent/legal guardian. Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of the Rules and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all of the requirements.

If a potential winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor may award the applicable prize to the next runner-up in the age bracket.

8. General Conditions

In the event that the operation or administration of the Contest is impaired for any reason such as, but not limited to, fraud, legality, technicality, or in the event that the Contest is unable to run as planned for any reason, Sponsor may suspend the Contest temporarily or indefinitely. Sponsor may address the issue and resume the Contest or terminate the Contest. Suspension or termination of the Contest is under the sole discretion of Sponsor, and entrants agree not to hold Sponsor liable in these circumstances. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant that it finds to not be in compliance or in violation with the Contest Rules or any entrant who acts in an unprofessional or disruptive manner.

In submitting a film and signing the application form within Film Freeway, all entrants agree to these terms and conditions of the contest and that Sponsor is not liable for any unauthorized or inappropriate sharing of films. Note that violence, profanity, or direct attacks on individuals or organizations will not be accepted. All films must adhere to copyright laws. Any film utilizing copyrighted material that is not the creation or property of the entrant will not be considered unless clear evidence of the legal right to use that copyrighted material is provided with the submission by the applicable deadline (ex: permission by the owner of the intellectual property).

9. Release and Limitations of Liability

In consideration for permission to participate in the Contest, entrants (together with parent or guardian if entrant is under 18 years of age or under a legal disability) expressly release and hold harmless the Sponsor from and against any and all claims, demands, and causes of action arising out of the entrant’s participation in the Contest. Entrant’s release and agreement to hold Sponsor harmless includes but is not limited to intellectual property disputes, cancellation of the Contest, injury, death, harm or losses of any kind, whether or not caused in whole or in part by the negligence or other fault of the Sponsor or its agents. Entrant (together with parent/guardian if appropriate) waives any right to claim any damages whatsoever, including but not limited to consequential, punitive, direct, or indirect damages, and releases and forever discharges Sponsor, its representatives, employees, officers, agents, and affiliates from all such claims, on behalf of entrants, their heirs, assigns, and any other person claiming by, under or through entrant.

10. Disputes

Except when prohibited by law, entrants agree that any and all disputes will be handled individually. In the case of any dispute, entrants agree to attempt resolution with Sponsor. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of the Rules, entrants’ rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection to the Contest, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Illinois, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the laws of any jurisdiction other than Illinois. Any legal fees incurred by Sponsor in the event of a dispute relating in any way to the Contest are the responsibility of the entrant.

Sponsor reserves the right to update these rules.
Last updated: 1/8/2021

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Partners and Sponsors

The No Malice Film Contest is offered through a partnership between the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

It is funded by a grant from Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.


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