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 is a film contest that amplifies the stories of architecture projects that are transforming communities through the power of design and collaboration.
The AIA Film Challenge 2021 invites you to share stories of architects, civic leaders, and their communities working together to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable built environment. Learn more about these topics >
This year, participants will produce a 1:30- to 3-minute short documentary film on any device—including smartphones, tablets, and GoPros—for a chance to win $5,000. Winners will also receive exposure on AIA’s online channels, as well as via partner film and architecture organizations.
A panel of judges made up of architects, film/media professionals, and influencers will select the Grand Prize Winner, the Runner Up, and the Third Place Winner based on the films’ adherence to the prompt, storytelling arc, architectural placement, and technical merit.
The People’s Choice Award winner is chosen by public voting that opens on August 30.
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