Design has the power to solve some of the biggest issues facing cities today. We believe these stories are among the most important stories we can tell. The AIA Film Challenge amplifies these stories—architects partnering with communities and civic leaders to design a healthy, sustainable, just world that improves peoples’ lives.  

The AIA Film Challenge 2021 has closed. We asked participants to produce 1:30- to 3-minute short documentary films telling stories of architects, civic leaders, and their communities working together to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable built environment.  

Our esteemed panel of judges—made up of architects and film and media professionals—reviewed the top 10 films to select the Grand Prize Winner, the Runner Up, and the Third Place Winner based on how well films adhere to the prompt as well as the storytelling arc, architectural placement, and technical merit. Additionally, dozens of films competed for your votes for a chance to win the People’s Choice Award. 

Watch the 7th Annual Awards Ceremony to see who won! Stay tuned for more information about the 2022 challenge.



Why join the Film Challenge

  • "Participating in the film challenge opened up so many doors for me, specifically doors into the minds of others. In some way, it gave me reason to make connections I wouldn't have made on my own."

    – John Gordon, filmmaker, Grand Prize Winner 2020, Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum

  • “My advice for someone who wants to participate in the AIA Film Challenge would be to look for places where architecture and people intersect. Maybe it’s someplace in your community that you’ve noticed already has improved the quality of life for people, or maybe it’s someplace where you see an opportunity for architecture and design to improve people’s lives. Ultimately, it’s about where that design element and people interact. That’s where your story is.”

    Hana Waugh, architect, Grand Prize Winner 2019, The EastPoint Project

  • “The prize money enabled us to be able to tell more stories and create more videos for community groups on the east side [of Oklahoma City]. There are a number of projects that are in the works right now that I’m really excited to share. And I’m just so thankful for AIA and the AIA Film Challenge for giving me the opportunity to do that.”

    Weston Waugh, filmmaker, Grand Prize Winner 2019, The EastPoint Project

  • "Winning the People’s Choice Award and a screening at Chicago Ideas was a breath of fresh air. I now feel like people want to see and learn more about the Hawaiian culture and indigenous architecture."

    MarQ Morrison, Filmmaker
    2018 People’s Choice Award winner with Ka Hale: A Revival