Rules and Requirements

  1. HOW TO ENTER: Each entrant should send an email with the subject heading “ESP105 – Name of Director” (for example, “ESP105 – John Smith”) to Put this information in the body of the email:
    The Film’s Title / La Titolo de la Filmo:
    The Director’s Name / La Nomo de la Reĝisoro:
    Their phone number / Ties telefonnumero:
    Their email address / Ties retadreso:
    The country where they live / La lando kie tiu loĝas:

    Give at least one payment address below / Donu almenaŭ unu suban pag-adreson

    Their Venmo address / Ties adreso por Venmo:
    Their PayPal address / Ties adreso por PayPal:
    Their Zelle address / Ties adreso por Zelle:

    Attach the script and all necessary talent release forms to that email. That email will serve as your official entry for this contest.

  2. HOW TO SEND YOUR FILM: Films must be submitted electronically to the above address via Google Drive, Dropbox, or WeTransfer as an *.MP4 or *.MOV file.

  3. FILM TITLE AND FILE NAME: The film should be labeled as follows: ESP105_TitleOfFilm.MP4 (so a film titled La Ĉapelo and exported as an *.MOV file should be labeled ESP105_La_Ĉapelo.MOV). The film’s title must be in Esperanto (Lydia, for example, is not allowed, but Lidia, which only uses Esperanto letters, is permitted).

  4. DEADLINE: The deadline to submit your film is 11:59pm EST on Friday, August 25th, 2023. Any films submitted after that time can still be shown but are ineligible to win any prizes.

  5. FILM RESOLUTION: The film needs to be in high definition with a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels (though 1920 x 1080 or 3840 x 2160 is preferred).

  6. FRAME RATE: Please use an NTSC frame rate of 23.98, 24, or 30 frames per second.

  7. CAMERA ORIENTATION: All films must be shot horizontally instead of vertically.

  8. FILM LENGTH: The film’s total length (including credits) must not exceed five minutes.

  9. NEVER BEFORE SEEN: To remain eligible, the film cannot be available for online viewing before the judges have announced the winners. Do not upload the film to YouTube until after that announcement.

  10. SUBTITLES: Your film must NOT contain any subtitles on screen. These films are meant to be listening practice. You can (but don’t have to) send subtitles to us in SRT or SBV files in multiple languages which we can upload separately. Sending a subtitle file will greatly help speed up the judging process.

  11. SUBMIT YOUR SCRIPT: Attach the script as a PDF with all the dialogue of the film so the judges can understand what is being said in case the audio is unclear. (The submitted script should be labeled ESP105_TitleOfFilm_Script.pdf).

  12. CREDITS: While the title and dialogue must be in Esperanto, the credits can be in any language.

  13. THE REQUIRED DIALOGUE: All dialogue must be in grammatically correct Esperanto and at least 10 audible Esperanto words must be used in the film. Proper nouns or repeating an Esperanto word do not count toward the necessary amount. A person who only speaks Esperanto should be able to understand the entire film.

  14. TALENT RELEASE: A signed talent release form is required for each person who appears (or whose voice is used) in the film. For minors, a parent or legal guardian needs to sign on their behalf. Unidentifiable people such as in a crowd or a passing car do not require a form. Please label them “ESP105_TitleOfFilm_TalentRelease1.pdf” for the first actor and “…TalentRelease2.pdf” for the second actor and so on. Download the release form. If the filmmaker is the only person in the film, this form is not necessary.

  15. THE REQUIRED PROP: A lantern must be clearly visible somewhere in the film. It can be a toy or a drawing of a lantern. The style of lantern, whether it is Chinese or Arabic or European, does not matter. No one has to mention or use the prop; it simply must be visible.

  16. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL: No copyrighted materials may be seen or heard in the film unless the filmmaker provides documentation of all necessary written permission to use that material. Material from the Creative Commons is permitted but all necessary attributions must be listed in the credits. Incidental use of a trademark for its intended purpose (such as a visible Nike logo on a character’s clothing or Toyota logo on a car) is permitted as long as the portrayal of that product is not negative or misleading, whereas wearing a full Spiderman costume or playing a song by The Beatles would not be permitted without written permission. See: The Do’s and Dont’s of TM Use and Product Placement in Productions.

  17. PUBLIC DOMAIN MATERIAL: Material that has entered the public domain in the United States is permitted. That means the material needs to have been published before the year 1928. For example, you could perform a scene from Zamenhof’s translation of Hamlet (Hamleto, published in 1894) or translate and perform a song from 1927 like Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies.

  18. ESPERANTO GRAMMAR REFERENCES: The reference guides for what is acceptable grammatically will be PMEG 2020PIV 2020, and the 2010 edition of the English-Esperanto Dictionary by John C. Wells. Unofficial words like ri and ria are permitted, but not a word or structure listed as “evitinda” with asterisk marks in PMEG 2020 (such as far or graŭ) unless a character is directly commenting on how it is an unusual or improper expression. Use the (Duolingo and Other) Esperanto Learners group on Facebook to find grammatical advice from experts.

  19. HOW FILMS ARE JUDGED: The 5 judges will individually choose their 10 favorite films and the films with the most points from those lists will be the winners. The films will be judged before subtitles are added so make sure your film is easy to understand without needing to read the script or dialogue. The judges will decide how many points to remove if a rule is forgotten but we encourage you to send your film in even if you forget a few things.

  20. JUDGES CANNOT WIN: No one who is a board member of Esperanto-USA during the festival or a current contest judge or any of their immediate family members may be eligible to win a prize, though they can still submit a film for fun and are allowed to assist other filmmakers. They cannot receive payment for their assistance.

  21. INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT: Films containing sexually explicit, excessively violent, offensive, or vulgar content may be removed from consideration at the sole discretion of the judges and not shown on Esperanto-USA’s channels. You can send an email to the above address to check if a given word or scenario would be unwelcome.

  22. ANIMATED FILMS: You are welcome to use figurines or puppets or animation instead of actors on screen. People may appear in or work on multiple films, but a separate director is needed for each entry and that director alone shall be awarded the prize if their film wins.

  23. AGREE TO LET US SHOW YOUR FILM: By submitting a film, you agree that it may be uploaded onto Esperanto-USA’s various platforms such as their YouTube and Vimeo pages and that you possess all necessary rights to allow us to do that. Excerpts from the films may also be used as part of promotional materials for Esperanto-USA and their future film contests. You retain ownership of your film and may post it elsewhere after the judges have announced their final decisions.

  24. TAXES FOR WINNERS: Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes. Any necessary online transfer fees will be deducted from the total prize amount.

  25. JUDGES’ ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners will be announced in September of 2023 on the Esperanto-USA website and the judges’ decision will be final. Esperanto-USA will send payment to each winner within 30 days of that announcement using their preferred payment address listed in their entry email.

  26. EVERYONE CAN ENTER: People from all countries are welcome to participate and are eligible to win. All prizes will be in US dollars and the official rules and announcements will be in English per the bylaws of Esperanto-USA.

  27. TRANSLATION ASSISTANCE: If you do not speak Esperanto and would like help translating your script or guidance on how to pronounce dialogue, send an email to with the subject line “TRANSLATION” and we will try to assist you. We do not promise we will have time to help everyone so request assistance early and keep your script as concise as possible to have the best chance of receiving assistance.