Capturing the Future: A Smartphone Mini-Documentary Competition

At the AAAS Annual Meeting, we are committed to featuring a diverse range of scientific media. For the 2020 Annual Meeting, we have partnered with the American University School of Communication to launch a Smartphone Mini-Documentary Competition.


Capturing the Future: A Smartphone Mini-Documentary Competition. Submit by January 10, 2020

The competition is open to individuals aged 18 years or older who, at the time of entry, are enrolled full- or part-time in community college, liberal arts college and/or university. While individuals from any country are eligible to enter the competition, entrants must be able to travel to the United States to receive the prize, and the prize is non-transferable. This competition is void where prohibited.

For the inaugural year of this competition, we invite submissions related to:

  • our organization’s mission of advancing “science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people”;
  • our Annual Meeting theme, Envisioning Tomorrow’s Earth;
  • or our disciplinary sections, which include natural and social sciences, as well as medicine and engineering

As smartphone documentaries are an emerging format, these materials should provide basic training and tips on how to successfully create a film for this competition:

Submission guidelines

  • Documentaries must be created on a mobile phone
  • No more than two minutes in length
  • Created and filmed by a current student
  • Appropriate for a family audience
  • Formal Terms and Conditions


  • Five finalists and an overall winner will receive complimentary conference registration
  • Overall winner will also receive two complimentary nights at a hotel during the conference period
  • Top 6 films will be screened publicly at 2020 Annual Meeting
  • Opportunity for finalists and overall winner to conduct livestreamed interviews of Topical Lecturers on Expo Stage at Annual Meeting

Important dates

November 25  Formal launch of competition
January 10  Submission deadline
January 15  Notification of judging results
February 15  Overall winner and finalists screened at Annual Meeting

2020 Competition judges

Sarah Crespi, Senior Multimedia Producer at Science
Valerie Thompson, Senior Editor at Science
Larry Engel, Associate Professor, American University School of Communication
Terence Bryant, Senior Professorial Lecturer, American University School of Communication

Film & Media Arts. School of Communication. American University. Washington, DC.
SOC Division Logos Film & Media Arts
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