Welcome to IMTF’s “Lights! Cameraphone! Action!” movie trailer contest. Here’s a chance for you to use your cameraphone or e-tablet to create a video that may win you fame, a (small) fortune, and resources you can use to make a movie.

The Challenge

Using a smartphone or digital tablet, make a movie trailer (also known as a “preview”) for a feature-length movie that you dream of making. The imagined movie represented by your trailer can be fiction (any genre such as comedy, drama, horror, fantasy) or documentary.

Entry Fee

Students enrolled in any school may enter for free. Everyone else pays $15 until November 30, 2012. You may enter up to three trailers. To get more votes, submitting your work early is a good idea.

Technical Details

Camera: The trailer must be shot using a mobile device—either a mobile phone or a digital tablet. If your entry reaches the semi-final round, we will ask you to submit the raw footage so that we can make sure it came from a mobile phone or tablet.
Microphones: You may use external microphones.
Lenses: You may attach lenses to your smartphone.
Editing: You may edit the footage on a computer or other device.

Formatting & Content

  • Rating: The trailer must earn no higher than a PG13 rating. This means no nudity, explicit, violence, or excessive swearing. For the purpose of this contest, IMTF will decide if a trailer fails to meet this ratings guideline.
  • Length: The length of the trailer must be at least 30 seconds and no more than 2 minutes.
  • Dialogue & narration: The trailer may include onscreen dialogue (characters talking) or voice-over (narration) or both. If such dialogue or narration is included, it must be in English or you must provide accurately translated subtitles.
  • Text cards: Text appearing on screen must be in English or translated into accurate English in subtitles.
  • Music & sound effects: You may include music and sound effects.
  • Visual effects: You may add special effects—such as starbursts—but 80% of the footage must be original.
  • Performers: You may use professional talent in your production.

Legal Issues

Entrant elligibility: This Smartphone Movie Trailer Contest is open to everyone around the world and throughout the universe except for the following individuals:

  • IMTF’s owners, paid staff, consultants, and the immediate families (siblings, spouses, children, parents) of the owners, paid staff, and consultants.
  • People living in places where local or U.S. law prohibits this kind of competition.

Note: If you are too young to make a legal contract—under 18 in most U.S. jurisdictions—you will be asked to provide the name of a parent or legal guardian if your entry makes the semi-final round.

Permissions & releases: You must obtain written permission to use any copyrighted material, such as music and art works appearing in the background, and you must obtain written releases from anyone in your trailer who can be identified. (You will not need releases from people in crowds if their faces or other identifying characteristics are not visible.) If you make the semi-final round, we will ask you to submit such permissions and releases.

Ownership of material: Entrants will retain ownership of their material. However, entrant grants IMTF the right to display the entry on its site or on its affiliates sites. If IMTF wishes to arrange financing to make the movie represented by the trailer, IMTF would at that point attempt to negotiate a deal with the entrant, but the entrant would be under no obligation to accept the deal.

Deadline: The current deadline is January 31, 2013. However, IMTF reserves the right to extend the deadline by up to one additional month. Entries coming after the closing date will be included in the next contest.


The Grand Prize will be $3,000 in cash, plus support to make the movie represented by the trailer, plus opportunities to meet industry professionals.


There will be three rounds.
Round 1. Audiences voting online will choose five semi-finalists. The IMTF staff will choose five additional semi-finalists.
Round 2. A jury of movie industry professionals will identify the three finalists. The judges will base their selections on the following criteria:

  • Originality (is there anything new or fresh about your core idea)
  • Technical competence (lighting, camera movement, sound)
  • Persuasiveness (does the trailer make the viewer want to see more)

Round 3. Audiences voting online will choose the Grand Prize winner.

Procedure for Entering the Contest

Step 1. Make your trailer.
Step 2. Upload your trailer to YouTube.com. This is a free upload.
Step 3. After your trailer is posted at YouTube.com, copy the embed code and insert it into IMTF’s online entry form. Then complete the form and hit “Send.”
Step 4. IMTF will notify you when your trailer is playing in the competition. This should happen within 24 hours. If your trailer does not qualify—for example, if it violates our rating rules—you will be given a chance to rework your entry.

If you have questions about entering the contest, write info@imtf.biz.