Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and the Saint Louis Science Center are excited to announce the third edition of their science-fiction and fantasy short film contest – an opportunity for regional filmmakers to let their imaginations shine. This year’s edition has a Mega Monster Movie focus.

The following films have been selected to screen as part of the Saint Louis Science Center's Virtual First Friday event on Friday, September 4th.

The Bowl (Christina Sittser, 2020, 2 min.) A snack leads to an unusual afternoon when a girl discovers her kitchen bowl has a special power.

CowBot (Rahul Menon, 2020, 3 min.) Based on a rumor, that might just be true. Space…? (Thomas Watson, 2020, 4 min.) 65 million years ago two outer space explorers were sent to earth to capture a specimen and collect the DNA of a dinosaur for scientific study.

EneMe (Lacey Turner, 2020, 2 min.) Jason wakes up and is desperate in trying to run away from something. Will it catch him, or can he escape it?

Exchange (Goldie Vang, 2020, 3 min.) A shaman travels to the spirit world to save his friend.

Just Boom It (Ivon Wuchina, 2020, 3 min.) A young man with a broken heart overcomes his troubles with the magic of music.

Kerosene and Matches (Trevan Jay Hiatt & Chris Stempel, 2020, 5 min.) A glimpse into the life of a Black Ops agent working deep within the CIA.

MAYA the Sacrifice trailer (Maria Brenda, 2020, 1 min.) MAYA the Sacrifice is dedicated to Mental Health.

Monochrome Heart (Angel Stefano, 2020, 3 min.) Breaking their usual routine, two artists invite another friend to collaborate on a much larger project.

N.E.O. 421 (Wyatt Weed, 2020, 4 min.) Two astronauts intercept an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Upon closer examination, they discover that the "asteroid" may not be an asteroid at all.

Period. (Gonzalo Peral Perez, 2020, 2 min.) A fictional story about the evolution of the universe.

Potluck (Jared Goudsmit & Olivia Squires, 2020, 5 min.) Five lovely ladies organize a neighborhood get-together.

Shrine (Julia Koza, 2020, 5 min.) A young girl performs a spell in order to find love. 

Tiffanys (Caitlin Chiusano, Sean Esser & Zhara Honore, 2020, 5 min.) A planet conquering alien mistakes a high school girl for the ruler of Earth and competes against her for the prom queen crown.

This juried competition will award cash prizes to the top three entries: $500 for Best of Fest and $200 each for Best Sci Fi and Best Fantasy selections. The winning shorts will then be featured at the Science Center’s First Friday program and will screen in the Science Center’s OMNIMAX® Theater. In addition to the three cash-prize winners, additional works will be chosen to screen throughout the First Friday program. This year’s First Friday theme is Mega Monster Movies. Filmmakers are encouraged to incorporate a mega monster into their films, along the lines of Godzilla, King Kong, or Pacific Rim. 

A four-person jury of film professionals (filmmakers, film scholars, film critics) and a scientist will select the finalists, including both the three cash-prize winners and the additional films. Jury members will be announced on CSL’s website.

Cinema St. Louis will then screen the winning film as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase (SLFS). CSL will also consider other submissions for inclusion in SLFS, held annually each July at Washington University’s Brown Hall.

The cash-prize winners and additional works in the program will be announced at the Science Center’s First Friday: Mega Monster Movies.


Click HERE to go to the submission page and form on FilmFreeway.

Rules & Terms

Filmmakers interested in participating must submit shorts that meet the following criteria:

  • Films must be easily categorized as science-fiction or fantasy.
  • Films must run a maximum of five minutes, including credits (no minimum running time).
  • Films must contain no profane language or offensive imagery; if CSL and the Saint Louis Science Center deem a work inappropriate for viewing 31 audiences of all ages, it will be eliminated from consideration.
  • Films must include sound (e.g., dialogue, ambient sound, effects, and/or music).
  • All conceivable approaches – including experimental, narrative, and animated– are acceptable. The shorts can be shot in any film or video format, in either color or black-and-white.
  • Films must have a production date no earlier than 2014.
  • Films with a monster-film theme are encouraged, but not required.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

  • Filmmakers must have secured rights to any music, words, or images used in the work.
  • Filmmakers will retain ownership rights to submitted works, but by submitting a short to the competition, a filmmaker grants the Saint Louis Science Center the right to screen the work in its exhibition spaces. Submission of a short does not guarantee its use.
  • Filmmakers must live within a specified geographical location, which includes the states Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • All films must be submitted using FilmFreeway with a secure online screener link. No entry fee is required. Submission deadline is May 31, 2020.