Sony Pictures Television Networks and the United Nations Foundation have launched the Picture This Festival for the PlanetThe short-film competition will be open to emerging filmmakers, everyday storytellers and what the press release labels “changemakers” from more than 70 countries offering their positive visions of the planet’s future.

Starting January 30, creators may submit videos between one and eight minutes in length. They should be inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals backed by all 193 member states of the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and promote prosperity for all. The deadline for submissions, which do not require a fee, is April 30.

Picture This Festival

“At Sony, we are proud champions of the intersection between storytelling and innovation and are incredibly excited to spearhead Picture This,” said Andy Kaplan, President, Sony Pictures Television Networks. “With the support of the United Nations Foundation and our other partners, we look forward to elevating and amplifying these important development goals through the voices of emerging creatives and acknowledge their good work in a meaningful way.”

Partners in the festival this year include the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Association of the United States of America, WeTransfer, Sony World Photography Awards, Sony Alpha Universe, the Environmental Media AssociationSPTN launched a similar contest in 2016 across its channel portfolio worldwide, including its flagship brands AXN, Sony Channel, Crackle and Animax, all of which will participate in this year’s festival

In addition to Kaplan, the roster of judges includes Megan Boone, star of NBC’s The Blacklist and an environmental advocate; Elizabeth Cousens, deputy CEO of the United Nations Foundation; Marie Jacobson, EVP of programming and production for SPTN; Tom Bernard and Michael Barker, co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics; N.P. Singh, managing director and CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India; Glenn Gainor, president of physical production at Screen Gems; Debbie Levin, president and CEO of the Environmental Media Association; and Damian Bradfield, president and CMO of WeTransfer.

“The Picture This Festival for the Planet is an innovative new platform to connect global audiences to what is happening on the ground as people put the SDGs into action in their daily lives,” Cousens said. “The United Nations Foundation appreciates Sony’s deep commitment to sustainability and its willingness to leverage its creativity and reach to bring the SDGs to new audiences. By celebrating individual stories of people around the world actively working to protect people and planet, Picture This will help inspire others to join the effort to realize these ambitious – and achievable – goals.”

This summer, eight regional winners will be flown to L.A. to attend the Picture This Festival for the Planet. They will take part in a day of networking and training alongside industry leaders and social impact partners at the Sony lot, followed by a screening of the regional winners’ films. Regional winners will receive airfare and accommodations for two nights in Los Angeles, along with a Sony RX0 Camera and a one year WeTransfer Plus account, with the grand prize winner honored with a Sony A6500 camera and a SEL1670 lens. 

It is not the first team-up between Sony and the UN. In 2016, the United Nations and Sony Pictures launched Angry Birds for a Happy Planet, a global youth outreach campaign that leveraged online and social media platforms to encourage action to protect the planet and fight climate change. In 2017, supported by the cast of the Smurfs: The Lost Village, audiences were encouraged to join “Team Smurfs” for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign. 

Here is a trailer for the festival: