USC Students: Enter Student Voices Short Film Contest

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 5:00pm

USC students have until March 16, 2015 to enter this year’s Student Voices Short Film Contest.

Each year, Student Voices encourages students of all majors at USC to create short films incorporating testimony from USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges that include faculty from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, filmmakers, and genocide experts.

This year, Student Voices is led by DEFY, USC Shoah Foundation’s student association, and is being conducted via IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive educational website. To register for the contest and access IWitness, email DEFY President Nitya Ramanathan, or Kia Hays,

To be eligible for the contest, each entry must incorporate content from at least one of the following five Visual History Archive testimonies into a short film.

• Esther Bem (Jewish Survivor, Holocaust)

• Howard Cwick (Liberator, Holocaust)

• Eva Kor (Jewish Survivor, Holocaust)

• Theoneste Karenzi (Tutsi Survivor, Rwandan Tutsi Genocide)

• Xia Shuqin (Survivor, Nanjing Massacre)

Instead of—or in addition to—including content from the testimonies above, USC Shoah Foundation has made available five unindexed testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Armenian Genocide. See below for more information.

You may include testimony from more than one of the listed testimonies. You are also encouraged, but not required, to include content from other testimonies as well.

Submissions can be a maximum of 10 minutes long. There is no minimum length. Your submissions should only be as long as is needed to present your ideas. A brief, concise short is always more effective than a meandering one.

Finished films must be submitted by March 16th, 2015.

The first place winner, selected by a jury of filmmakers and scholars, will be awarded $1000. A “Student Choice” award of $500 will be presented to a winner selected by a panel of USC students. The award ceremony and screening will be held at USC's Ground Zero Performance Cafe during USC Genocide Awareness Week in April.

While contestants are permitted to use any editing software to build their films, final submissions must be uploaded into and submitted via the WeVideo video editor included on the IWitness website. To learn more, check the “IWitness WeVideo Guide” PDF in your Tool Kit, or the “Construct” section of the Student Voices IWitness activity.


The official and student juries will both evaluate submissions based on the following three criteria:

• Features substantive content from at least one of the testimonies

selected by USC Shoah Foundation

• Clear message and narrative arc

• Ethical use of testimony content (see IWitness activity “Ethical Editing” page)

Armenian Genocide Testimonies

In commemoration of April 2015's 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, contest entrants also have access to five of the four hundred survivor and witness testimonies that the Armenian Film Foundation is incorporating into USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.

• Harry Kurkjian (survivor)

• Alice Shipley (survivor)

• Elise Taft (survivor)

• Nium Sukkar (Arab witness)

• Henry Morgenthau III (descendant of important witness)

These five testimonies run considerably shorter than those found in our other collections, and—because they are not yet indexed—it may be difficult to find content pertaining to specific subject matter. These can be accessed at the following Dropbox link:

If you want to use Armenian Genocide testimony but want footage about topics not covered in these five testimonies, email—the Institute can help you find additional testimony to better suit your needs.