American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival celebrates the passionate innovations of independent filmmakers, and champions the ideas, perspectives and voices that prove vital to the future of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law around the world.


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


American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival jurors will be well-known writers, lawyers, scientists, recording artists, media specialists, scholars, historians, civic groups and cultural institutions, selected from Philadelphia, national and international locations. 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 may accompany the screening.


Theme: relevant to the topic of Free Speech, Human Rights, 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.


Film submissions deadlines and fees:

Regular Deadline:  April 30, 2020

Email Notification of acceptance or rejection: July 4, 2020

Free Speech Award Ceremony: Sunday, September 20, 2020


– Submissions must be made electronically through FilmFreeway.

– Guidelines must be followed by all applicants, or films will not be accepted.

– Defective submissions will not be accepted into the Festival.

– Multiple submissions are permissible; however, each submission must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and submission Fee.


FilmFreeway Online Screener


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.


No submissions can be greater than 60 minutes in length, or less than 6 minutes.


International submissions will ONLY be accepted through FilmFreeway, 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.

If selected for inclusion in the Festival, you must make available a DVD (NTSC Region 0 (or) 1) for exhibition purposes.


Filmmakers submitting to American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival may submit trailers 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 by a Vimeo or YouTube link, or on FilmFreeway. 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.

Notification of acceptance status will be sent no later than August 1, 2020.


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

Acceptance of a film by American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Film Festival 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.


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 FilmFreeway.

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


Regular Deadline: April 30, 2020

What filmmakers receive:

Six “Official Selection” filmmakers receive Free Passes to the Free Speech Award Ceremony in Philadelphia; and their films are promoted by American INSIGHT on its Free Speech Blog, and all of its social media outlets for a period of one year.

ONE Free Speech Award-winning film and its filmmaker are featured at American INSIGHT’s annual Free Speech Award Ceremony; on its Free Speech Blog; and on all of its social media outlets for a period of one year. The filmmaker is invited to speak on camera for American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Archives; and the winning film remains on American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Storyline in perpetuity.


Entry Fees are non-refundable.

Filmmakers retain the copyright of their film


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, and its 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.

Free Speech Award