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Rules & Guidelines

High Tide Student Film Festival

Black and white photo of ocean waves crashing on a rocky coast
  1. Participants must be Southern California HS Students currently enrolled in Grades 9-12.
  2. Film/Video may be submitted by individuals or by teams of 2-4 High School students.
  3. Students may enter only one film/video in the contest.
  4. Teams must assign a Team Lead for communications and film submissions.
  5. There is no entry fee.
  6. Film/Video entry must focus on one of the three ocean-themed topics provided.
  7. Film/Video must be 3 minutes (180 seconds) or less in its entirety.
  8. Film/Video must be original and wholly made by the individual or team.
  9. Parent/teacher participation should be limited to coaching or acting in the film.
  10. Film/Video must have closing credits that lists who participated in the film, what their role was, and gives recognition and citations to all media and public domain sources used in the film.
  11. Film/Video must be appropriate for all viewing ages.
  12. No copyrighted materials (music, audio, photos, images, artwork, logos and video clips) may be used for this contest unless you own the copyright or have a license to use the material for this contest. Written permission must be obtained and provided for all copyrighted materials.
  13. Filmmakers must secure the rights to all of the materials appearing in their film/video, using the Student Materials License Agreement Form and must also cite in the film’s closing credits.
  14. Filmmakers must secure the Photo Release Consent Form from all team members and from all the people/talent depicted in their film including the actors, interviews, street performers, wait staff, or anybody with a “face” showing. (We recommend that you carry copies of this form with you at all times when shooting your film to get their written consent).
  15. Film/Video/Forms must be submitted by submission deadline.
  16. Filmmakers give the Aquarium of the Pacific (“AoP”) permission to show and post the full film and excerpts and distribute it to third parties such as the press. AoP maintains the right to distribute, display, or exhibit the film for advertising, publicity, and promotional purposes.
  17. All entries must be submitted in digital format.
  18. All Films must submit the following forms (with parental/guardian signature if under 18 years of age):
    • High Tide Application (each individual submits)
    • Photo Image Release Form for filmmaker (each individual submits)
    • Photo Image Release Form for Film Talens (team lead submits)
    • Materials License Agreement (team lead submits)
    • Copyright Proof of Written Permission (team leads submits, if applicable)
    • Final Film (team lead submits)


  • Finalists will be required to submit W-9 Form to receive cash prizes.
  • Finalists are required to attend the Film Festival Screening and Award Ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2024 to receive their award and prizes.
  • Winners will share the awards and cash prizes equally between all members of their team.

Aquarium of the Pacific Materials Licensing Agreement Form

As the creator of your short film, you/your film team will be required to submit a signed copy of this form. You will also be required to attach documentation for the licensing of any media pieces included in your short film, showing you have the rights to provide those materials to the Aquarium for the High Tide Student Film Festival and Contest. Students under 18 years old are required to submit with parent/guardian signature.

The use of original work or royalty-free music, film clips, pictures, etc. is highly recommended to ensure films are not disqualified due to copyright infringement, as many copyright holders are not willing to provide permission for use.

Public domain images and film clips may be used in the video if the source is appropriately cited in the film’s credits. Written permission from the copyright holder is required to use any copyrighted material.

Original music or music that is in the public domain may be used in the video if the source is appropriately cited in the film’s credits. Written permission from the copyright holder is required to use any copyrighted material.

Photo-Image Release Form

For anyone who is included in the video/film (people who appear in a photo, video, audio recording, or other likeness such as their name), please have them sign this form. You can download and print this form in advance of filming. Students under 18 years old are required to submit with parent/guardian signature.

W-9 Form

All Finalists, including all members of a team, are required to submit this form in order to receive any cash prizes. This form will require the student’s name, address, Tax Identification Number (social security number) and signature. In the case of a minor (students under 18 years old), the W-9 should be completed using the minor’s information. The signature can either be the minor’s signature or the parent/guardian.

By entering the contest, the entrants agree to submit their own original work, do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others, and is in compliance with copyright laws. When using work that is not your own, the entrants agree that those works are part of the public domain or that they have obtained permission to use the work. Where an entrant has obtained permission to use a another’s intellectual property, the entrant agrees to submit proof of permission with the film entry. Entrants will give appropriate credit and citations when a public domain source is used in the film.

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