Calling all architects and filmmakers

We invite you to collaborate in telling stories of projects done in partnership with civic leaders and the community.

Civic leaders can include anyone from non-profit leaders and librarians, to mayors or local park directors. Anyone who works or volunteers to promote the quality of life in their community is a civic leader.

If you have footage from a project that hasn’t yet been made into a film or an existing film that may be relevant to the Blueprint for Better theme, a few additional interviews or editorial tweaks may be all it takes to make your existing footage or film eligible for the AIA Film Challenge.

Register today and share your Blueprint for Better.

Key dates
Submissions due: August 27
Winners announced: October 2018

Register & submit now >
You can register today and submit your film at a later date.

Are you an architect creating a film on your own? Download our Film Challenge Toolkit for tips and best practices.

Why join the Film Challenge

  • “My experience participating in the AIA Film Challenge has been rewarding in so many ways beyond what I could have imagined.”

    Myles Kramer, Filmmaker
    2017 Winner with Community by Design- Skid Row Housing Trust

  • “Brazen Architecture has used the film at city-wide presentation to help us in developing an infrastructure to support Las Vegas' growing homeless population.”

    Sarah Barker, Producer at Creative Media Hub
    2017 Participant with Brazen Conversations

  • “Donations have poured in to support our work and more people are wanting to get involved all the time.”

    Brad Deal, Architecture Professor at Louisiana Tech
    2016 Winner with Arch 335: Rebuilding Medcamps


View more testimonials >



  • $5,000 cash prize
    Travel and hotel accommodations for two in NYC
    Celebration and film screening at Architecture and Design Film Festival on October 16, 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $500 cash prize
    Film screened at Architecture and Design Film Festival in October 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $500 cash prize
    Film screened at Architecture and Design Film Festival in October 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $5,000 cash prize
    Travel and hotel accommodations for two in Chicago
    Celebration and film screening at Chicago Ideas Festival in October 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal

Each finalist will receive a $500 cash prize and an official film award seal


  • Marlene King

    I. Marlene King is a beloved writer and producer known for her distinct ability to tell coming of age stories that masterfully resonate with audiences of all ages from the classic movie “Now and Then” to the fan favorite “Pretty Little Liars.” Marlene was the creative force driving the latter and served as showrunner and executive producer on the series which received numerous accolades during its 7-season run. Currently, Marlene is delving into “PLL:The Perfectionists” a spinoff, which will introduce us to a new set of ‘Liars’ and mysteries in 2019 and she also has several projects in development through her production company, Long Lake Media.

  • Thatcher Bean

    In 2013 Thatcher helped start an in-house documentary film production arm within the non-profit architecture collective MASS Design Group. Over the last five years MASS has produced over forty short works, including Design That Heals, as well as the feature length documentary MADE IN ILIMA. MASS's films examine the effects of space on society and have screened internationally. He has served as a guest critic at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, workshop instructor at Columbia University and guest lecturer at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University.

  • Tiffany Brown, Assoc. AIA

    Born and raised in Detroit, Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a Master of Architecture, and a Master of Business Administration all from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Tiffany serves on the K-12 Working Group with the American Institute of Architects, serves on the Champions Board of the National Girls Collaborative, and is co-founder of the Urban Arts Collective. Tiffany works diligently to raise awareness on how planning and design makes a significant social impact in urban communities, and seeks to examine the influence of the built environment and its impacts on culture, behavior, and health.

  • Diana Budds

    Diana Budds is a New York-based architecture and design writer and the senior story producer for Curbed video. She's interested in how design affects and reflects culture. Through videos, online articles, print, and live events, she uncovers how the man-made world works and how a deeper understanding can move us toward a better place.

  • Mayor Steve Benjamin

    Since being elected mayor in a record turnout election in April 2010, Mayor Steve Benjamin has made it his mission to create in Columbia the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America. In addition to serving as Mayor of Columbia, Mayor Benjamin also serves as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as Chairman for Municipal Bonds for America, Member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council and Co-Chair of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign. Mayor Benjamin is married to the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, Chief Administrative Judge (Common Pleas) for South Carolina's Fifth Judicial Circuit.

  • Lynn Hirshfield

    Lynn Hirshfield is Participant Media’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Previously, she worked as a development executive for productions garnering various awards, including four Emmys, a Peabody Award and two Television Critics Awards for the PBS series “Wishbone.” She executive produced two documentaries, “Augie” on Hulu and “WiSci”, both directed by award-winning filmmaker James Keach. Lynn is partnering with Monumental Films on a narrative feature about Countess Ada Lovelace that is being funded by Google and SEE (the Science and Entertainment Exchange.) Lynn is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

  • Heather Koury, Hon. AIA

    Heather Koury has served as the executive director of AIA Memphis for 15 years. Heather is guided by her passion for design and social equity, and a deeply held belief that collaboration is critical to broadening the public’s understanding of the architect’s role in bringing innovative solutions to diverse community challenges.
    Heather has forged strategic partnerships and developed innovative programs across diverse public and private sectors to advance the mission of AIA, including the Paul Revere Williams Project, encouraging documentation and publication of research regarding his contributions to both practice and community.


Film Challenge judges share their advice

We had the chance to sit down with two of this year’s judges, Tiffany Brown, Assoc. AIA, architect and co-founder of the Urban Arts Collective, and I. Marlene King, executive producer of Pretty Little Liars, to discuss the Film Challenge and what the convergence of architecture and film means to them.    What inspires you […]

Read more >

Your Film Challenge questions answered

All submissions to the 2018 AIA Film Challenge are due August 27, which means it’s time to start finalizing your film. To help smooth the process, we hosted a Q&A-style creative call to review important Film Challenge information and answer questions from participants.  Keep in mind  Participation is free. You can register today and submit […]

Read more >

Merging architecture and film

The convergence of architecture and film is a growing trend showing no signs of slowing down. The relationship is mutually beneficial and at their best, the films can raise awareness for the most pressing issues in society. Whether people notice it or not, architecture affects everyone and films bring out the underlying story, emotion, and […]

Read more >

Press & events

2017 winners

Community by Design: Skid Row Housing Trust

Grand Prize Winner


Runner Up

A Little Alcove: San Francisco Navigation Center

Third Place Winner

A Roof of Their Own

People's Choice Winner

View more videos >

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