Calling All Local Filmmakers

What is the 3-Day Film Challenge?

An opportunity for filmmakers throughout the Bay Area to put teams together, craft a short film and then screen it as part of the San Jose International Short Film Festival with the cast, crew, family & friends in attendance. All films must be a min of 4 minutes & not exceed 7 minutes in length (final run time does not include standard end credits.

Each team will select a genre card at the launch event and must create a HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION or FANTASY short film as the primary genre (these will be selected at random).

Volunteer Teams will have three days to cast, shoot and edit a film – starting on a Friday and returning a finished project by the following Monday. In advance of the weekend, teams can select members, find actors, prepare equipment and shooting locations. All actual production from shooting to post production MUST BE completed during the Film Challenge Weekend (this year Sept 1st – 4th).

Challengers will have a chance to watch their films screen during the San Jose International Short Film Festival at 7:30pm on Sunday October 15th at the CineArts Santana Row.

Register your team

Pre-Registration for the 3 Day Film Challenge is now open.
Please use the QR Code to pay the registration fee, then fill out the Team Registration Form.

All actual production from shooting to post production MUST BE completed during the Film Challenge Weekend.

(Sept 1st – 4th, 2023).

How it works

The first thing you need to do is start thinking of a team name, call your filmmaker friends and be sure to open up your schedule for the designated weekend.

Once you are ready to go, click the link and register your team by paying your entry fee.

  • Team Pre-Registration $125.00 (Ends July 28th)
  • Team Regular Registration $150 (Ends Aug 18th)
  • Team Late Registration $175 (Ends Sept 1st)

Once you make the payment, you will be directed to a Registration Page to submit your team name and team leader’s name/contact info. Paypal is the preferred payment method but Venmo can be accepted – please send a note to for processing info for Venmo.

Scan this QR Code to Pay for your Team’s Registration.

For questions about the Challenge, please send us an email HERE.

NOTE: In advance you can secure locations, equipment, crew & cast members.

Royalty free music can be used, although use of copy-written music is prohibited along with stock footage (stock footage of VFX can be used with the source listed in the credits).


In addition to bragging rights and seeing your incredible cinematic masterpiece on the big screen, there will be an audience award – based on votes from the attending audience. There will be a BEST FILM and a RUNNER UP prize awarded at the end of the screening – those will be voted on by the producers and organizers of the SJSFF.

  • BEST FILM will receive a $300 prize.
  • RUNNER UP will receive a $125 prize.
  • AUDIENCE AWARD will receive a $50 prize.

All awards will be presented to the Team Leader.

Launch Event

Join us for the film elements reveal

It begins with our Launch Event on Friday Sept 1st in San Jose - the doors will open at 6:45pm, then at 7pm we will go over all the rules and begin the selection of eligibility elements that need to be part of your film.

Each team representative will pick a random envelope that has an Element Card with three elements - one of which will need to be used in the film, (an element can be a prop, a costume segment or specific shot or filmmaking requirement), in addition each team will receive a line of dialogue that needs to be incorporated into the short film, and finally you will receive an genre card that will be the creative style for your films - the three genre cards for this event are HORROR, FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION. You may incorporate other genres within your film, but the over-arching genre should be based on the random genre card you receive.

At 7:45pm teams will released and at 8pm they will begin to make a short film in just 72 hours, all films are due back by 8pm on Monday Sept 4th - films will be accepted ONLINE and digital files can be sent via WeTransfer, Google Drive or our provided Hightail link. Along with your submission please send a link to your film as an unlisted YouTube video - be sure to allow time for exports to process and be sent in. Films must be sent and received before 8pm to qualify for prizes. All completed films (received by 11:59pm on Mon Sept 4th) will still be screened whether qualifying for prizes or not.

Note: Films must be playable, it is not the responsibility of the Event Producers for submissions that do not work. Each film will be downloaded and viewed immediately and a confirmation will be sent to all Teams that deliver their film on time. Each film must include the required element, line of dialogue and the genre should be evident to qualify for prizes.

3 Day Film Challenge - Official Rules

A. ELIGIBILITY: The 3 Day Film Challenge (“3DFC”) is open to all and will be held in San Jose, California, based on registration requirements.  Minors participating in the 3DFC must have the approval of parents or guardians.  Individuals that are employees with the advertisers, promoters, SJSFF, Emerging Artist Productions, EAP Creative and affiliated sponsor companies may participate in the event, but will NOT be eligible for ANY prizes.  Void where prohibited by law.

B. REGISTER YOUR TEAM: Entrance into the 3 Day Film  Challenge is easy,  just follow the instructions found on the home page ( Space is limited and offered on a first-come first-served basis.  Pre-Registration is $125.00 (Ends July 28th), Regular Registration is $150.00 (Ends Aug 18th) and late registration is$175.00 (Ends Sept 1st)

C. EVENT PERIOD: The 3 Day Film Challenge will commence on a Friday at 8pm and end on the following Monday at 8pm, as announced on the 3 Day Film Challenge website.  The current event will commence on Sept 1st, 2023.

D. REFUNDS:  If a team leader (“Challenger”) must withdraw from the 3 day Film Challenge, refunds will be paid based on the following criteria: “Challenger” notifies the “3DFC” in writing no less than 15 days before the competition – for a full refund.   No refunds for any teams beyond that 15 day period, whether or not they choose to compete.  All refunds will be paid within 3 days of written notification.

E. ASSOCIATED COSTS: Rental equipment, reimbursed fees for materials used  and all production costs associated with the “Challenger’s” film are solely the responsibility of the participating parties. No reimbursements are intended or implied by the “3DFC”, its sponsors or associates.

F. AGREEMENT & WAIVERS: As a condition of participation, each team will be required to submit a Team Leader’s Agreement that will need to be turned in with the finished film via email, this will include a crew and talent roster.  Agreements will be provided at the Kick-off event and online at – participants under the age of 18 will also need to submit a parent’s or guardian’s signature on your behalf.  Waivers for Talent, Location and Music will be provided to team leaders at the Kickoff event and must be signed and submitted with the finished film in order to be screened and considered for eligible prizes.  No prizes will be awarded without proper paperwork turned in via email by Monday at 8pm, without exceptions. Each team will receive a confirmation email within 2 hrs of the films submission, it will not be the responsibility of the “3DFC” to remind teams to submit both films and required paperwork after the launch event.

H. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:  At the Kickoff event, “Challengers” will receive specific information that must be included in their film, additionally each team will select a genre & element card. It is up to the sole discretion of each teams to determine how best to incorporate the genre and at least one of the three elements must be clearly visible in the film.  Each team will be given exactly 3 days to make a short film “Entry”and deliver a digital version via online transmission.  *See the deliver guidelines for specific rules on delivery.

I. TERMS OF SUBMISSION:  By submitting an “Entry” into this competition, each team warrants and represents that all rights to their “Entry” are owned fully and completely by the “Challenger”and that by entering into the “3DFC” that all materials, including without limitations, and video and/or digital recordings, performances and music contained within this “Entry” with the exception of any digital assets that were provided by “3DFC” for use by “Challengers” in connection with the events, is exclusively owned by the “Challenger”.  Each “Challenger” further agrees that they have obtained required permissions from each person to participate as part of the “3DFC” and holds both The San Jose International Short Film Festival, Emerging Artist Productions, EAP Creative, Cinearts theater and their respective affiliates, officers, directors, agents, sponsors or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the “Challenge Indemnitees”), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the “Challenge Indemnitees” due to or arising out of the “Challenger’s” Entry materials in the event, or the Entrant’s conduct during and in connection with this Challenge, including but not limited to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation. Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless the San Jose International Short Film Festival, Emerging Artist Productions, EAP Creative and Cinearts theater from any and all claims that any advertising, presentation, web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of the “3DFC” or the “Challenger” infringes on the rights of Entrant’s work as contained in any Entry.

J. RIGHTS: All rights to each “Entry” will remain the full and complete ownership of the “Challenger” – non-exclusive rights are granted to “3DFC” in order to present, promote and perpetuate the event in perpetuity.

PLEASE NOTE: “Challengers” may NOT distribute the completed film in its entirety online in any form, PRIOR to the screening event on Oct 15th, 2023 at 8pm.

K. QUALIFYING YOUR ENTRY:  Entries that do not include all required information and adhere to the foregoing and following requirements will be considered void and will not be considered in this event.  Reasonable attempts will be made to rectify any technical/administrative concern, but it is up to the “Challenger” to adhere to the requirements.

L. LEADERSHIP: If any group of individuals elects to collaborate on an “Entry”, they are required to designate one (1) person as the agent of the group to enter the “3DFC”, agree to these Official Rules, sign the Team Leader’s Agreement and accept the prize on behalf of the group. Neither the “3DFC” nor any of the “Challengers” are liable for any disputes between collaborators arising out of or related to the “3DFC” prizes awarded.

M. SELECTION: Each film will be judged on multiple areas of expertise, with two cash awards going to Best Film, Runner Up and an audience award.  Certificates of notice for Best Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Editing, Best Directing may be given out at the screening event. Entries will be judged by a process in which a qualified panel of judges “Judges” will evaluate each eligible “Entry” and award a score for each category.  A tally of all collected points will determine the winners, in the event of a tie, an additional point will be granted to entries that were turned in earliest breaking that tie.  “Challengers” agree that the producers of the “3DFC” and the “Judges” have the sole right to decide all disputes and matters in association to the judging process and that all decisions by the producers of the “3DFC” are final and binding.

N. GENERAL CONDITIONS: By participating, “Challengers” agree to these Official Rules which are final and binding in all respects.

O. LIMITATIONS: Liability & Release – Absolutely no liability or responsibility is assumed by”Challenge Indemnitees”, it’s assigns, sponsors, officers or participating volunteers as resulting from the “Challengers” participation or attempt to participate in the “3DFC”. Furthermore, the SJSFF, Emerging Artist Productions, EAP Creative and CineArts theater are not responsible for any typographical errors in announcements and on the website or official rules in regard to the event. By participating n the “3DFC” each “Challenger” agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless the SJSFF, Emerging Artist Productions, EAP Creative and CineArts theater and the “Challenge Indemnitees” from and against any and all liabilities, obligations, losses, damages, penalties, claims, demands, actions, judgments, suits, costs, expenses and disbursements (including Attorney Costs) of any kind or nature whatsoever which may at any time be imposed on, incurred by or asserted against any such Indemnitee in any way relating to or arising out of or in connection with the 3 Day Film Challenge.

P. WINNERS: Winning films will be announced at the end of the Screening and posted on, their respective sights and used to promote the event.  Checks will be made out to the team leader for any awards, awards not claimed within 30 days are forfeit.

  • BEST FILM will receive a $300 prize.
  • RUNNER UP will receive a $125 prize.
  • AUDIENCE AWARD will receive a $50 prize.

Q. Each team will receive one Sunday pass to all films screening on Oct 15th as part of the SJSFF. They are transferable to any member of the team. Discounted team tickets will be available for $12.50 for the individual screening ticket (Sun Oct 15th, 7:30pm at the Cinearts theater) and $25 for a Sunday Pass – the special Sunday passes will not be eligible to attend the Closing Night screening at 6pm.

Q. CHALLENGE PRODUCER: Emerging Artist Productions LLC a subsidiary of EAP Creative LLC, 1346 The Alameda, Suite 7-329, San Jose CA  95126