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 these stories—architects partnering with communities and civic leaders to design a healthy, sustainable, just world that improves peoples’ lives.

The challenge is open to everyone. You’re invited to share your story, highlighting architecture projects that are transforming communities through the power of design and collaboration. Learn more about this year’s theme.

We’re introducing a new format for this year’s challenge—the mini documentary—to help you stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and comply with various stay-at-home orders. We’re looking for submissions that are 60 to 90 seconds long and are produced using a personal device such as your smartphone or laptop. You only have 60 to 90 seconds to tell your story, so make it count! You could win up to $7,000, have your winning mini documentary screened online, and receive exposure on AIA’s online channels and through partnering film and architecture organizations.

Our esteemed panel of judges includes architects and film and media professionals. They’ll 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.

The People’s Choice Award winner is chosen by the public. Voting opens August 31.


Why join the Film Challenge

  • “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


View more testimonials >