Got more questions. Here’s some of the questions others ask all the time.

Day One Shorts

How long can my Day One Shorts film be?

Typically the screen time is between 8 to 12 minutes in duration. One page of script usually represents one minute of screen time, so a 8-12 page scripted screenplay is welcome. Of course, some scripts can be longer or shorter in length and still meet the 8-12 minute required duration.

What ages are able to participate?

Day One Shorts is open to participants aged 4 to 24 years old, however, there are age restriction variations for specific production roles. If you are applying as a sole director or a Director-Writer, you need to be aged between 18 - 29 years during the film shoot.

What if I don’t have a producer?

Please get in touch with us before you apply – we will try our best to connect you with a person who might be interested. You can still apply without a producer, but if shortlisted you will need to find a producer in order to move forward.

If I produce, can I also co-direct?

We encourage lead producers to commit themselves to solely producing. Why? Because experienced producers are hard to find, and we want all emerging producers in our initiative to get as much as they can out of the experience when producing their short film, rather than spreading themselves too thinly. If you are a producer interested in learning to direct then we encourage you to apply as a director - if you meet the age eligibility of course.

How are your films released? Will they be eligible for other film festivals?

All our films are released online through our screen partners Radio New Zealand, Whakaata Māori, and our website, Facebook, YouTube & social channels. There's a 3-month exclusivity period with our partners which means there are limits to further distribution. While this may affect eligibility for some film festivals, many accept short films which are available online. Being part of an annual collection of shorts like Day One Shorts means they are also eligible for web series festival categories. So we encourage you to check the eligibility criteria on a case to case basis.

Does our submitted proposal need to have visuals and/or imagery?

As film is a visual medium, we highly recommend that your proposal has a design component that is highly visual and reflects the mood / tone / world you want to convey through the medium of film. Put your best foot forward. A plain word document with no imagery at all makes it very hard for ourselves and our screen partners to imagine.

I’ve written an amazing script that I want to direct but I have no experience with the culture, iwi and/or gender the story relates to. Can I still submit it?

We are big on supporting filmmakers directing and creating films that relate to their lived experience. If a filmmaker is not of the specific culture, gender, iwi perspective they are exploring in their script or documentary concept, we would want a strong justification for why they feel this is their story to tell. Feel free to reach out to have a kōrero with our team to go through any specific questions!

Can I submit multiple submissions?

Individual filmmakers may be involved in more than one application but upon being selected may only participate in one key role (e.g, Producer, Director, Writer etc) within one production team.

Help! I don’t know how to do a budget!

Please just do what you can and submit your application with an attempt at a budget. Depending on the strength of your application and your team, we will support you as best we can to craft a realistic budget. (Hint: if there is a helicopter in your script, it’s likely to blow the budget). Here is a video from our ‘How To’ section, that covers what a film budget is, referring to specific templates available in our ‘Resources’ section.

Day One Challenge

What ages are able to participate and can I get help from anyone older?

The Day One Challenge is open to participants aged 4 to 24 years old, promoting creativity across a diverse age range. While collaboration is encouraged, if someone over 24 assists a young filmmaker or team, it’s crucial that their support is guiding rather than decision-making. We encourage parents or guardians to support participants (especially for our younger filmmakers) but it's essential to note that the young filmmaker must retain creative and editorial control.

Anyone operating necessary equipment (e.g., camera or editing computer) must be of an eligible age (4 to 24 years old) to enter the challenge.

Can my actors be over 24?

Anyone of any age can appear in a film for the Day One Challenge.

How will judging be fair for such a broad age range?

Our judges focus on creativity, storytelling, and technical skills, considering each age group's context. The Judging Team are made up of industry professionals with diverse experience. They ask the following key questions to identify the top 10 Winning Films:

  • Are the idea(s) and/or message(s) clear?
  • How well do the visual and audio components support the idea(s) and/or message(s)?
  • Does the quality of the visual and audio components align with the film's content?
  • Is the film original, creative, distinctive, powerful, challenging, inspiring, or funny?
  • Does the film captivate the judges, compelling them to choose it for reasons they can't explain? This wildcard question recognises outstanding films that may not conform to existing ideas, guidelines, or formulas.

Does my film have to be made this year?

No, it’s OK to enter a film that was made in the past – as long as it meets all the entry requirements for the Day One Challenge.

How long can my film be?

The duration of your film depends on the category you choose: it can be up to 1 minute or up to 8 minutes long.

Can I enter my film elsewhere?

Yes, that's fine. We don't mind if you have entered your film into another film challenge or competition (or if you are planning to).

Do I need to translate my film if it’s not in English?

Yes. For example, if your film has Te Reo Māori in it,we encourage you to provide a translation script so that all of the judges can understand the film. The translation script needs to be line-by-line for each piece of dialogue, narration, titles or captions.

Is there a registration fee for participants?

No, participation is completely free! We believe in providing an accessible platform for young filmmakers to express themselves without any financial barriers.