Presented by the Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Saul Zaentz High School Film Festival (SZ) rewards the most exciting work by high school filmmakers from around the country. We are committed to finding the filmmakers of tomorrow, bringing them to Baltimore, and showcasing their work on the main screens at the historic Parkway Theatre and the Charles Theatre.

SZ is more than a juried film festival, it’s an experience. We encourage 100% festival participation by filmmakers whose work has been selected to be shown. In addition to screening excellent student films on the big screen, we offer master classes across an array of topics and multiple networking opportunities with other youth filmmakers and those working in the industry. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, there are no fees for submission or attendance at the festival. Travel and hotel assistance are available to those who demonstrate financial need.

We also want to invest in young filmmakers in our home state of Maryland, so there are special prizes reserved for Maryland filmmakers.

Films should not have excessive violence and cursing and a running time of 12 minutes or less. All copyrighted music and images must be licensed.



Best of Festival: $500

Best Comedic Short: $200  

Best Animated Short: $200

Best Experimental Short: $200

Best Film Under $250: $200

Audience Choice: $200


Best Documentary Short: $300

Best Narrative Short: $300

Best Animated Short: $300

Best Advocacy Film: $300

The Mix (everything else): $300


Thursday, June 18, 2020: Opening Night Screening and Party

Friday, June 19, 2020: Screenings + Master Classes

Saturday, June 20, 2020: Screenings + Master Classes + Awards Ceremony