The Ashland Independent Film Festival has a suggestion to chase away kids' winter-break boredom: Make a short film and submit it to the festival.

Kids and young adults can submit films that are less than five minutes long to the festival's free LAUNCH Student Film Competition. Winning films will be screened at the festival, which runs April 6-10 in 2017.

To spark students' imaginations, the festival suggests seven holiday-themed ideas, although films can be on any subject:


Inspired by the tradition of caroling, students can get out and explore their neighborhoods. A story idea may be waiting just around the corner. 
The holidays are often a season for traveling. Students could make a film about a place they would love to travel — real or imagined — and how they would get there.
Whether students like to ski, skate or hike, they could document their next outdoor adventure.
With thoughts of Frosty the Snowman, students could make a "snowmation" film, as opposed to more common claymation films.
Whether kids are wishing for their two front teeth for Christmas or not, they could answer the question, "If you could wish for anything, what would it be?"
Inspired by the holiday classic song "Silent Night," students could make a film about dreams. 
Although Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer may be too far away, kids could get the family pet involved in a film. 

Kids don't need high-end movie cameras to enter the contest. Films can be made using smartphones and tablets. 

The LAUNCH Student Film Competition is open to students living in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties in Oregon, and Del Norte and Siskiyou counties in Northern California. 

Everyone who submits a film receives two tickets to the 2017 Ashland Independent Film Festival. 

Winning films will be shown at the festival, and young filmmakers will receive cash prizes and a pass to attend any of more than 90 screenings and special events during the festival. They can interact with other filmmakers from around the world and participate in question-and-answer sessions after screenings.

Filmmaker submissions will be judged in the categories of grades kindergarten through fifth; sixth through eighth; high school freshman through senior; and college undergraduate students.

The festival also has the PridePrize — a special prize for an outstanding student-made film that speaks to the LGBTQ+ experience. All regional student filmmakers from high school freshmen to college undergraduate students are eligible for the PridePrize.

Before they start filming, students should visit the AIFF LAUNCH page at www.ashlandfilm.org/launch to make sure their film is eligible and to understand the guidelines. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page to answer common queries. 

After filming, students post their mini movie to YouTube or Vimeo. They then fill out the entry form on the LAUNCH website to officially submit their film.

Winners will be announced Feb. 1, 2017.

Students inspired to make films longer than 5 minutes can enter the festival's Locals Only program, which also is free.

To see what types of films have won the LAUNCH competition in past years, visit the festival's website.

In 2016, winning student films focused on global warming, the high cost of video and arcade games, film noir and a story about a waitress who meets a charismatic robber.