My Israel: Student Short Film Competition


The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (GPJFF) seeks short films, 3 to 18 minutes in length, from high school and undergraduate college students who live or study in Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, or Delaware. The theme of the competition, MY ISRAEL, asks students to examine their relationship to modern-day Israel, expressing what Israel means to them through the language of cinema. The competition is free to enter and open to all.

  • All winners will be invited to screen their films and participate in a post-film panel in June 2019, as part of GPJFF’S first annual student film festival.
  • All winners will receive a one-on-one mentorship meeting with the jury president, a distinguished Israeli filmmaker.
  • All winners will receive a pair of tickets to Opening Night of GPJFF’s annual two-week Fall Fest on Saturday, November 9, 2019.


  • ONE 1ST PLACE winning film receives a $500 cash prize
  • ONE 2ND PLACE winning film receives a $250 cash prize
  • ONE 3RD PLACE winning film receives a $125 cash prize
  • TWO HONORABLE MENTION films receive $75 cash prizes


Submissions will be pre-screened by members of GPJFF’s Screening Committee. The top short film submissions will be viewed by local film scholars, critics, and filmmakers, as well as the jury president.


The deadline for submissions is midnight, May 2, 2019. Winners will be announced on and GPJFF social media.


  • One entry per student filmmaker or filmmaking team.
  • Films can be narrative, documentary, or animation.
  • Runtime of films should be 3 to 18 minutes.
  • Films cannot have been made for a class or screened in any other festival. All work must be created in direct response to this competition.
  • Student filmmakers or filmmaking teams must be available to attend GPJFF’s first annual student film festival in June 2019.
  • Student filmmakers must be a current resident or enrolled full-time in a high school or undergraduate college/university in Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, or Delaware.
  • Films will be judged based on strength of storytelling, originality, diversity of vision, and filmmaking skill.


  • Create a short film, 3 to 18 minutes in length, following the competition guidelines.
  • Upload your short film to either a password-protected YouTube or Vimeo link.
  • Complete the official registration form (will be posted on in early December) and submit the link and password for your film on After submitting you will receive a confirmation.


At the turn of the 20th century, the Zionist movement emerged to facilitate the settlement of European Jews — victims of anti-Semitic violence — to Ottoman-controlled Palestine. Waves of idealistic Jews sought to reinvent their lives in the Middle East. By the 1930s, they were joined by refugees fleeing Hitler’s Europe and later by Jews fleeing hostile Arab countries. After accepting a UN plan to partition the Holy Land into two states — one Jewish, one Arab — the Zionist movement’s leader, David Ben-Gurion, declared the “Jewish and Democratic” State of Israel in May of 1948.

Today, Israel is home to over 40% of the Jewish people, a multicultural society including Jews from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Israel’s citizens include a sizable non-Jewish minority of Arabs, Druze, and others. Though facing a range of challenges to its democratic character — its tensions with its neighbors and political conundrums distinct to its history — tiny Israel means much to millions around the world. Known for its natural beauty, innovation in technology and medicine, culture, and cuisine, Israel is a place of sacred significance for Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.

This program is funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Israel Cultural Grant.