Student & Emerging Filmmaker Competition

The March on Washington Film Festival is pleased to continue its short film competition to elevate emerging and student filmmakers. Our panel of esteemed judges will review both narrative and documentary short films that focus on civil rights movements, the civil rights era and social justice issues. For 2018 filmmakers are asked to focus on the following topic: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.  

All shortlisted films will be recognized and screened during the March on Washington Film Festival in July with a one Grand Prize awarded in each of the four sections. 

2018 Winners

Emerging Documentaries
An Act of Worship | Directors: Nausheen  Dadabhoy, Sofian Kahn | GRAND PRIZE WINNER
A Space For Growth (and Cuts) | Directors: Conduet (Maritza Navarro and Devon Thompson) |SPECIAL MENTION
The Petition in Boots | Director: gleichenhaus

Emerging Narratives
Interference | Directors: Robin Rose Singer, Ruya Koman  
Our Nation | Director: David Mallin | SPECIAL MENTION
Pagg | Director: Nardeep Khurmi | GRAND PRIZE

Student Documentaries
Born to Stay | Directors: Daniela Cruzat, Farrah Lopez  | GRAND PRIZE
Two Steps Back | DirectorR. Kayeen Thomas   | SPECIAL MENTION
When Mother Goes to Work| Director: Azar Kafaei

Student Narratives
Crick in the Holler | Director: Ursula Kay Ellis  | SPECIAL MENTION
Life After| Director: Ria Tobaccowala
Riverment| DirectorShayla Racquel -- GRAND PRIZE

Past Winners

Student Narrative
LAWMAN, directed by Matthew Gentile set in 1875, Oklahoma Territory | SPECIAL MENTION
Vitiligo, directed by Cliff Notez | GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Time is the Longest Distance, directed by Bryan Powers

Student Documentary
A Life Before This, directed by Steffie van Rhee | SPECIAL MENTION
Unheard, directed by Erin Kokdil
FEARLESS, directed by Jasmine Cannon, Branden Hampton, and Yingxu Hao | GRAND PRIZE WINNER

Emerging Documentary
They Took Them Alive, directed by Emily Pederson | GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Honk: A Festival of Activist Street Bands, directed by Patrick Johnson
Seven Dates With Death, directed by Mike Holland | SPECIAL MENTION

Emerging Narrative
LA OPOSICION, directed by Zoey Martinson | GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Heterodox HDS, directed by Michaux Muanda
Honor Council, directed by Scott Simonsen | SPECIAL MENTION


Zoey Martinson 2017 Winner for Emerging Narrative Film.
Zoey Martinson (Writer, Director) works at the crossroads of Arts & Advocacy.  Co Founder of Smoke & Mirrors Co. producing Arts Mission for the U.S. Consul General to South Africa’s informal settlements. She is the 2016/17 Directing Fellow at the Broadway company MTC and Dramatist Guild Playwriting Fellow. She has directed across the globe. Her plays have appeared internationally and Off Broadway winning the NYC Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award for Best Play. Her work has been published, nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, and she has been featured on BBC World Service.

Theo Dumont
Dumont has over 15 years of experience working in entertainment publicity. He is the co-Founder/Co-Director of the Oscar-Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival and co-founder of the Mammoth Film Festival. Dumont spearheads media relations, publicity and strategic marketing communications campaigns for entertainment industry clients at Buffalo 8. Prior to teaming up with Buffalo 8, Dumont founded Dumont Marketing Group (DMG) a company he led for seven years, working with production companies, filmmakers, independent films, comic book publishers, authors and digital entertainment companies. Prior to launching DMG, Dumont was with Miller PR, where he worked on strategy and counsel for the agency's premiere clients. Before joining Miller, Dumont was Director of Corporate Communications at MGM Studios. Dumont studied Communications and received his BA from Florida International University in Miami, FL.

Qasim Basir
Qasim “Q” Basir is an award-winning filmmaker who often weaves autobiographical elements into his movies. He directed his first feature film in 2010, MOOZ-lum, starring Nia Long, Evan Ross and Danny Glover. The coming-of-age tale about a Muslim boy going to college around the time of the September 11 attacks has received much critical acclaim, with nominations from the NAACP Image Awards and the Black Reel Awards. It won Best Narrative Feature at the 14th Annual Urban World Film Festival in New York. Qasim's most recent film  A Boy, A Girl, A Dream, was an official selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film is a romantic drama set on the night of the 2016 presidential election and stars Omari Hardwick and Meagan Good with a small role for “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris.

Katie Buckland
Katie Buckland is the Executive Director of the Writers Guild Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 2013, Katie served as Executive Director of the California Women’s Law Center, a legal advocacy group targeting the civil rights of women and girls. Prior to working with nonprofits, Katie enjoyed a career in politics and government, serving on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. As communications director for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, she created the award-winning Neighborhood Prosecutor Project, which places prosecutors in neighborhoods to improve the quality of life in local communities. A licensed attorney, Katie also served as a domestic violence prosecutor for the City of Los Angeles.


Jasmine, Brandon and Xingxu are the co-Winners of the 2017 Student Documentary Award.

Jasmine Cannon
Jasmine Cannon is an award winning filmmaker and journalist. She attended the University of Alabama where she studied broadcast journalism with a focus on sports broadcasting. She has produced, directed and written numerous news and documentary projects for national and independent audiences. Jasmine co-directed, produced and edited FEARLESS, the grand prize winner in the 2017 March on Washington Student Filmmaker Competition. 

Brandon Hampton
Branden T. Hampton is an award-winning film director, producer, writer, journalist and musician. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Branden recently completed a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University with a B.A. Degree in Radio/Television/Film.

Xingxu Jane Hao
Xingxu Jane Hao is a compassionate storyteller for impact. She has a heart for those who suffer, an eye for beauty in the struggle, and a passion for human interest stories. Born and raised in China, she came to the U.S. in 2015 to get trained as a multimedia journalist at the Medill Journalism School. She aspires to use video storytelling to break stereotypes, build bridges and evoke action.  

Dennis Williams
Dennis Williams is senior vice president, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), for Home Box Office, Inc., responsible for the company’s social impact initiatives and philanthropic strategies. 

Professor SJ Murray
Sarah Jane (SJ) Murray is an Irish-born academic and EMMY-nominated and award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. She is also known for researching how story design principles apply to corporate and not-for-profit brand and impact strategy, and has won numerous creative awards for story-driven content and video-based impact campaigns, including bronze and silver TELLY awards, communicator awards of excellence, and the communicator award of distinction.



Student Journalists Fellowship


The Student Journalists Fellowship is an initiative of the March on Washington Film Festival that provides an opportunity for five college-level journalists to learn about the essential role that reporters have in shaping and preserving Civil Rights in a society, while giving them a chance to step into that role themselves. 

The fellows will receive in-depth training on social justice reporting through a series of workshops and professional development sessions, resulting in a final media project on a Civil Rights topic that the country is faced with today. Students will have the opportunity to pitch their final projects to media outlets around the country. Each fellow will also earn a cash stipend. 

The March on Washington Film Festival is proud to invest in the future of journalism and these young journalists. 

2017 Student Journalists

Riddhi Sarkar, American University, Class of 2019
'Project Awareness' looks back at 1961 debate between Malcolm X and Bayard Rustin |Michigan Chronicle
Doc Explores how a Quiet Revolution in Baton Rogue Changed History |NBCBLK

Michael Layer, Goucher College, Class of 2017
Documentary explores how a group of black intellectuals found solace in Paris | The Undefeated

Katherine Gilyard, Howard University
9th Wonder Talks 'The Hip Hop Fellow' at the March on Washington Film Festival | Vibe Magainze

Courtney Bublé, George Washington University, Class of 2018
Rust College and College Activism | The South Reporter