The White House Student Film Festival

A collaboration of the White House and AFI, the White House Student Film Festival celebrated K-15 filmmakers who explored the theme of "The Impact of Giving Back" with their films. This second edition of the festival took place at the White House and the Newseum in Washington, DC on March 20 and 21, 2015, made possible in collaboration with Participant Media.

Watch video of the first day of the festival below.

On the first day of the festival, President Barack Obama delivered opening remarks in the East Room of the White House. Following his introduction, there were premiere screenings of 15 films selected from more than 1,700 submissions from all over the United States. These inspiring shorts showcase the power of compassion, the importance of educators, the influence of service on our communities, the necessity of environmental preservation and much more.

The second day of the festival featured encore screenings of the selected films and professional development workshops made possible through generosity of Participant Media and their TEACH initiative.

At the White House Student Film Festival, President Obama announced that AFI and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) will lead a nationwide call to action to mentor aspiring storytellers pursuing careers in the cinematic arts. Longtime partners in education through AFI Conservatory classes and student mentoring programs, AFI and SAG-AFTRA have answered the president's call and are working toward a goal of one million mentor hours over the next three years.

A Call to Arts: The One Million Mentor Hours Pledge seeks to inspire tomorrow's storytellers through programs, events and other mentorship opportunities — with a goal to reach one million hours of mentorship over the next three years. AFI initiated the program on the second day of the festival where the featured student filmmakers received professional development. AFI will also provide each of the winning students with one-on-one mentorships with AFI Conservatory alumni.


Representing the creative community at the White House were Chad Boettcher, EVP, Social Action and Advocacy, Participant Media; Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO; Ken Howard, SAG-AFTRA President and David P. White, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director. Film and television artists present were La La Anthony (THINK LIKE A MAN), Michael Ealy (THINK LIKE A MAN), Terrence J (THINK LIKE A MAN), director and Oscar®-recipient Steve McQueen (12 YEARS A SLAVE), Emmy®-recipient Joe Morton (SCANDAL), producer Will Packer (THE WEDDING RINGER, UNCLE BUCK), Kal Penn (BATTLE CREEK), Amber Riley (GLEE) and Oscar®-recipient Hilary Swank (MILLION DOLLAR BABY, BOYS DON'T CRY).

Learn more in the official press release.

Join the conversation on social media by using #whfilmfest. To watch the official selections, visit the official White House Student Film Festival page.

Just for fun, revisit the President's video from last year along with messages of encouragement from AFI friends Jessica Chastain, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Norton, Mark Wahlberg and more.

President Obama Video Message

AFI Friends Video Message