|Genre||Documentary filmmaking competition|
|Location(s)||United States, Guam|
|Participants||Middle school students (grades 6-8)
High school students (grades 9-12)
StudentCam is an annual competition selecting the best video documentaries on current-affairs topics created by middle and high school students. It is sponsored by the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network's (C-SPAN) Classroom project. All winning documentaries are available to watch on the StudentCam website. The top 25 winners are interviewed for television broadcast and have their documentaries aired on C-SPAN.
The aim of the competition, as stated by C-SPAN, is to provide an opportunity for young people to voice their opinions on current events. Middle and high school students can compete alone or in groups of up to three, entering a video documentary between 5 and 8 minutes in length, which presents more than one side to the selected topic and includes related C-SPAN programming. Each year a new theme related to current affairs is provided, and competiors must use this as the basis for their entry. Subjects have ranged from video game violence to illegal immigration.
The deadline for entries is in January each year and the StudentCam winners are announced live on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, usually in March each year. Following the announcement, the top 25 entries are shown on C-SPAN, one documentary each weekday morning, accompanied by a telephone interview with the student filmmakers. All of the winning documentaries are available on the StudentCam website. The winning filmmakers receive cash prizes typically totaling $50,000, with the grand prize-winner receiving $5,000, in addition to being featured on C-SPAN. As of 2010[update], 75 entries each year are chosen as prize-winners, and 11 teacher awards are given to teachers who incorporate the competition into their classes.
The sponsor of the StudentCam competition is C-SPAN Classroom, a free membership organization providing teachers with C-SPAN materials for classes and research. Promotion of the competition is often supplemented by local cable providers.
The StudentCam competition developed from a documentary competition called CampaignCam, run by C-SPAN during the 2004 presidential campaign as a way of including students' views about the election. The StudentCam forerunner won a Beacon Award in 2005, conferred by the cable industry for excellence in communications and public affairs.
In 2006, StudentCam was launched by C-SPAN, adding a requirement that students include relevant C-SPAN programming. The 2009 competition received the most entries to date, when nearly 2,000 students from 41 states, the District of Columbia and Guam submitted a total of 921 submissions. The grand prize winner of the competition, Sawyer Bowman, a 10th grade student from Davidson, North Carolina was congratulated by President Barack Obama via a specially-recorded video message. A first-prize winner in the 2010 competition, Matthew Shimura, met First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in April 2010 during a town hall meeting for her "Let's Move!" initiative, to talk about fighting childhood obesity, which was the subject of Matthew's video.
Grand prize winners
|2006||Anthony Hernandez and Dustin Gillard||Anywhere USA|
|2007||Zach Chastain, Bryan Cink and Ryan Kelly||Jupiter or Bust: The El Sol Solution|
|2008||Scott Mitchell and Nick Poss||Leaving Religion at the Door|
|2009||Sawyer Bowman||Cancer. It's Personal|
|2010||Madison Richards, Samantha Noll and Lauren Nixon||I've Got the Power|
|2011||Carl Colglazier||The Great Compromise|
|2012||Matthew Shimura||The Constitution and the Camps: Due Process and the Japanese-American Internment'|
|2013||Josh Stokes||Unemployment in America|
|2014||Emma Larson, Michaela Capps, and Sarah Highducheck||Earth First, Fracking Second|
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- StudentCam official website