Free Speech Film Festival (2024)


01 Feb 2024
Call for entries

29 Feb 2024
Early deadline

31 Mar 2024
Standard deadline

30 Apr 2024
Late deadline

30 Apr 2024
Festival closed

01 Aug 2024
Notification date

13 Nov 2024
13 Nov 2024


Box 347,  19072, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Festival description
Short film festival
Feature film festival

Festival requirements
 Film festival
 Music Video
 Any Genre
 Any Theme
 Has submission fees
 International Festival
 Online and Physical Location
 Production date: Any
 Production countries: Any
 Shooting countries: Any
 Director nationalities: Any
 Debut Films 
 School projects 
 Short Films 
 Feature Films 
 Any language
 Any language
Share on Social Networks

Photo of Free Speech Film Festival
Photo of Free Speech Film Festival

Photo of Free Speech Film Festival
Photo of Free Speech Film Festival


Festival start: 13 November 2024      Festival end: 13 November 2024

American INSIGHT’s international nonpartisan 2024 Free Speech Film Festival encourages independent filmmakers to exercise their right of Free Speech and the power of their films to address issues that are important to them and to their communities.

Championing different perspectives (and understanding other points of view) is vital to the future of Democracy. During the past decade, we have received FREE SPEECH FILMS from hundreds of filmmakers in over 70 countries.

American INSIGHT's annual Free Speech Film Festival is unique in that it showcases and distributes FREE SPEECH FILMS, and also provides networking opportunities, a marketing platform, and educational workshops which give our top 6 Official Selection Award-winning filmmakers exposure, connections and visibility.


Students enrolled in American INSIGHT's online course “Make History Every Day!” will write about your film for years to come, as they discuss how the core values of Free Speech, Human Rights and the Rule of Law emerge in societies around the world through the lens of independent filmmakers.

Help to educate audiences now, by sharing the wisdom of your experience!

Discover more here:

ONE film will be selected as the 2024 Free Speech Award Winner by audiences of all ages from around the world, as well as by residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a "cradle of liberty” for decades before the American Revolution.

The 2024 Free Speech Award-Winning Director receives the Free Speech Award, a $1,000 honorarium, and the possibility of attending the Free Speech Award Ceremony in person in Philadelphia, PA.

Each Official Selection Winner is showcased for a month in our newsletters, Spotlight Blog posts, social media channels, plus a personalized SPEAK EZ recorded interview that will be seen and studied for years to come.

Past Free Speech Award-winning Directors and Speakers include:

Melinda Raebyne, 2023 Free Speech Award WINNER

Eugene Marlow, 2022 Free Speech Award WINNER

Maya Sanbar, 2021 Free Speech Award WINNER

Wanjiru Njendu, 2020 Free Speech Award WINNER

Robert Greenwald, 2019 Free Speech Award WINNER

Team Enough, 2018 Free Speech Award WINNER

Abby Huntsman, American television personality and former co-host of ABC’s The View.

David Kilgour, human rights defender, author, former lawyer and Canadian politician, remains continuously vocal on many human rights violations around the world

Reggie Shuford, Executive Director, ACLU Philadelphia

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America; University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University

Ben Wizner, Director, American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project

Samuel Zhou, Deputy Director, Global Internet Freedom Consortium

Michael Perlman, Producer/ Executive Producer of American INSIGHT's 2012 Free Speech Film Festival Award winning film “Free China: The Courage to Believe,” and Amnesty International official Artist For Amnesty

Discover more:


By agreeing to the terms and conditions stated herein, participants in the Free Speech Film Festival unconditionally accept these rules and regulations:


American INSIGHT's Free Speech Film Festival Judges include well-known writers, lawyers, scientists, recording artists, media specialists, scholars, historians, civic and cultural leaders from Philadelphia, as well as the general public, and the filmmakers who have submitted their films.

Judges will not be prejudiced by film length, subject matter, filmmaker. They follow established Judging Criteria (below) as they select the SIX Official Selection films. Although it is understood that any evaluation of artistic material involves a certain degree of subjectivity, their decisions will be considered final.


THEME: Relevant to the topic of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

EMOTIONAL IMPACT/AUDIENCE APPEAL: Visually appealing and entertaining, engender an emotional response, and create a lasting impression.

STRUCTURE/STORY: Clear, logical and effective plot with a meaningful and unique story line.

AUDIO/MUSIC: Appealing soundtrack, original, consistent volume, no background noise.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Effective visuals, lighting and camera angles.

EDITING: Smooth flow, creates a powerful and emotional response from the viewer


Film submissions deadlines:

Early Deadline: February 29, 2024

Regular Deadline: March 31, 2024

Late Deadline: April 30, 2024

Email Notification of acceptance or rejection: before August 1, 2024

Free Speech Award Ceremony: November 13, 2024


– Submissions must be made electronically through Festhome.

– Guidelines must be followed by all applicants, or films will not be accepted.

– Defective submissions will not be accepted into the Festival.

– Multiple submissions are permissible; however, each submission must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and Entry Fee.


Festhome Online Screener


Restricted to individuals 18 years old or above.

Incomplete films will not be accepted.

American INSIGHT’s selection committee(s) reserves the right to determine inappropriate content, such as violence, hate speech, defamation, or pornography; if any content is deemed by the committee(s) to be such, the film will not be accepted.

Previously broadcasted and/or independently/commercially distributed films will not be accepted.


No restrictions.


International submissions will ONLY be accepted through Festhome, including the Entry Form and Entry Fee.

All non-English films must include English subtitles.

All International film submissions must agree with copyright rules and regulations.


Filmmakers submitting to the Free Speech Film Festival are encouraged to submit trailers along with their signed Entry Form and Entry Fee. Trailers may be included in our online pre-Festival promotional activities. Trailers must be submitted on Festhome only. All terms and conditions regarding the Free Speech Film Festival apply to Trailer content, too.


Submitter is responsible for notifying the Free Speech Film Festival of any and all changes in contact information as soon as they occur.

All communication will be through email to the primary email address provided, including: reception of submissions, acceptance and non-acceptance of submissions into Festival, defective submissions, etc.

Notification of acceptance status will be sent no later than August 1, 2024


The final six films chosen may be promoted in perpetuity by their filmmakers as Official Selections of the Free Speech Film Festival.

Acceptance of a film by the Free Speech Film Festival in no way obligates the Festival to screen or award any film, and such additional actions are done so at the discretion of the Festival and its committee(s).

Official Selections for the Free Speech Film Festival are selected by the Selection Committee, based solely on the Judging Criteria stated above.

Official Selections are in no way an endorsement of the film’s content by any representative of the Free Speech Film Festival or American INSIGHT.


Do not submit press kits until notified (unsolicited kits will not be returned).

Upon notification of acceptance, press kits will be requested and preferably should be submitted through Festhome.

Press Kits should include: still photos (300 dpi); synopsis of the film (100 words or less); Trailer; filmmaker statement, photo, and biography.


Entry Fees are non-refundable.

Filmmakers retain the copyright of their film.


All archival materials used in your film must be credited within the film itself and be included within its run time.

The submitter and/or undersigned expressly warrants that it has obtained all necessary copyright clearances for original works of authorship used in the film, and all rights and clearances necessary to exhibit the film.

The submitter and/or undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless American INSIGHT and the Free Speech Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, fees, and expenses (including but not limited to reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos submitted, and any claims arising out of or in connection with the exhibition of the film.

American INSIGHT is grateful to Festhome for being a Sponsor of the 2024 FREE SPEECH FILM FESTIVAL



Discover great films & festivals, one click away