Rules & Regulations | Free Speech Film Festival
Free Speech Film Festival

Rules & Regulations


The Free Speech Film Festival’s mission is to provide an online, unbiased framework to promote the principles of free speech through the power of film and social media; and to establish a vehicle of communications for citizens around the globe.


American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival seeks to provide a forum for free expression among individuals who wish to promote a free society, regardless of where they live.

The Free Speech Film Festival is a low-cost, grassroots, sustainable program that unites civic leaders, media specialists, lawyers, scientists, historians, educators, students, artists, writers and the general public in conversations about the history and future of Free Speech.

The Free Speech Film Festival explores all the meanings of Free Speech within socially-acceptable boundaries. We do not promote hate speech or porn, and we reserve the right to define these terms.

Six “Final Selection” films are chosen each year, but only ONE film wins American INSIGHT’s annual Free Speech Award. The winning filmmaker is featured and the film is screened at the Free Speech Award Ceremony. It is then promoted in perpetuity on American INSIGHT’s interactive Free Speech Storyline.

The Free Speech Storyline traces the stories of individuals who have given their lives to promote individual rights and personal freedom since the Rule of Law began when England’s Magna Carta was signed in 1215.

Celebrating 800 years of Freedom … one Free Speech Award-winning film at a time!


Established in 2005, American INSIGHT, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


By agreeing to the terms and conditions stated herein, participants in American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival unconditionally accept the these rules and regulations:


American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival Jurors will be selected from among Philadelphia’s best-known writers, lawyers, scientists, recording artists, media specialists, scholars, historians, civic groups and cultural institutions. Upon their request, jurors may reserve the right to remain anonymous.

Jurors will not be prejudiced by film length, subject matter, filmmaker. Jurors will follow established Judging Criteria (below) as they select American INSIGHT’s six “Official Selection” films.  Although it is understood that any evaluation of artistic material involves a certain degree of subjectivity, their decisions will be considered final.

From the final six “Official Selections,” one film will be selected to receive the Free Speech Award.  The winning film will be announced and screened at American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Award Ceremony.  Comments on the topic of Free Speech by leaders from the fields of law, science, media, art, literature, art, academia, history, and/or civic engagement will precede the screening.


  • Theme: relevant to Free Speech and/or the Rule of Law.
  • Emotional Impact/Audience Appeal: visually appealing and entertaining; engenders emotional response; creates a lasting impression.
  • Structure/Story: clear, logical, effective plot with a meaningful and unique story line.
  • Audio/Music Composition: appealing soundtrack, original, consistent volume, no background noise.
  • Cinematography: effective visuals, lighting, camera angles.
  • Editing: smooth flow, creates emotional response from the viewer.


Restricted to individuals 18 years old or above.

Uncompleted films will not be accepted.

American INSIGHT’s selection committee(s) reserves the right to determine inappropriate content, such as violence, hate speech, defamation, or pornography; if any content is deemed by the committee(s) to be such, the film will not be accepted.

Previously broadcasted and/or independently/commercially distributed films will not be accepted.


International submissions will ONLY be accepted through Withoutabox, including the Entry Form and Entry Fee.

All non-English films must include English subtitles.

All International film submissions must agree with copyright rules and regulations.


Filmmakers submitting to the Free Speech Film Festival may submit trailers of 120 seconds or less along with their signed Entry Form and Entry Fee. Trailers may be included in American INSIGHT’s online pre-Festival promotional activities. Trailers can be submitted YouTube link, or Withoutabox. All terms and conditions regarding American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival apply to Trailer content.


Submitter is responsible for notifying American INSIGHT of any and all changes in contact information as soon as they occur.

All communication will be through email to the primary email address provided, including: reception of submissions, acceptance and non-acceptance of submissions into Festival, defective submissions, etc.


The final SIX films selected may be promoted by their filmmakers as “Official Selections” of American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival.

Acceptance of the film by American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film in no way obligates the Festival to screen or award any film, and such additional actions are done so at the discretion of the Festival and its committee(s).

“Official Selections” for American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival are selected by the Selection Committee, based solely on the Judging Criteria stated above.

“Official Selections” are in no way an endorsement of the film’s content by any representative of American INSIGHT.

Press Kits

Do not submit press kits until notified (unsolicited kits will not be returned).

Upon notification of acceptance, press kits will be requested and preferably should be submitted through Withoutabox.

Press Kits should include: still photos (300 dpi); synopsis of the film (100 words or less); optional 120 second Membership Trailer; filmmaker statement, photo, and biography.

Upon notification of acceptance, three weeks before the Festival Awards Ceremony, these items should also be mailed to American INSIGHT by the filmmaker, if available: posters, flyers, postcards, etc.


What filmmakers receive:

All participating filmmakers are mentioned on American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Award Ceremony Credit Roll, and promoted online.

SIX “Official Selection” filmmakers receive Free Passes to the Free Speech Award Ceremony; and their films are promoted by American INSIGHT for a period of one year.

ONE Free Speech Award-winning film is featured at American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Award Ceremony; the filmmaker is invited to speak on camera for American INSIGHT’s historical archives; and the winning film remains on American INSIGHT’s online, educational Free Speech Storyline in perpetuity.


Entry Fees are non-refundable.

Filmmakers retain the copyright of their film General Information.

All archival materials used in your films must be credited within the film itself and be included within its run time.

The submitter and/or undersigned expressly warrants that it has obtained all necessary copyright clearances for original works of authorship used in the film, and all rights and clearances necessary to exhibit the film.

The submitter and/or undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, fees, and expenses (including but not limited to reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos submitted, and any claims arising out of or in connection with the exhibition of the film.