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Enter the Witnessing Change Video Competition. Because climate change isn't just melting ice caps.


Submission Guidelines
Submission Forms 
Frequently Asked Questions

2018 Competition Judges


The 2018 Witnessing Change Video Competition is asking environmentally and community-oriented filmmakers to make short videos on climate impacts that are happening in the United States. The competition is the storytelling arm of the Climate Cost Project, which is working to increase awareness of the consequences of climate change that are already unfolding in American communities. The first place winner will receive a $1,000 dollar cash prize, and have their video promoted the Climate Cost Project, and two runner-ups will each receive $250. 


The competition is accepting videos in two broad categories list below. Also please visit resources and FAQs. We also encourage participants to have a look at the 2017 competition winners here. For questions about whether a video is eligible, please contact us at

As a note of general guidance, we will be looking for climate impact videos that visually and narratively grab viewers' attention at the beginning, doesn't let them turn away until the last minute of the video, and keeps them thinking and feeling after the video is over. It is hard to get someone's attention, especially in a content rich environment. We encourage you to take risks creatively while maintaining the factual and scientific core of the video's content. The most successful videos will have the potential to be meaningful to people who do not normally think about climate change, and are outside of the usual audience of environmental filmgoers. 

Submission Guidelines 


1. Personal Costs of Climate Change Impacts in United States

These videos should highlight personal stories of people in the United States or its territories who have been impacted by climate change. This can include people whose homes, business, communities, or favorite landscapes have been affected by climate change impacts, such as increased flooding, drought, fire, and sea level rise.

2. Community Resilience to Climate Change in the United States

These videos should include stories of local measures communities in the United States or its territories who are taking measures to become more resilient to climate change, or to reduce environmental factors contributing to it. They can include measures to create resilient landscapes that are more resistant to impacts, or measures to reduce emissions, such as cleaner energy, increased energy efficiency, or better resource and development practices. Measures must be at a neighborhood, community, or municipality level.



All videos must satisfy the following requirements:  

  •  Video length should not exceed 2 minutes and 30 seconds, excluding credits and references.


  •  All videos should be filmed in at least 1080p.  


  •  Videos should not exceed 200 MB in size.


  • All music must either be original, appropriately licensed, or available in the public domain. Where open access licenses require giving credit to the artist, these should be provided in the production references at the end of the film.


  • The link between impacts discussed in the video and climate change must be made clear through narrative, dialogue, or written captions, with supporting references provided at the end of the video. For example, a video discussing fires in the Western United States should point out how climate factors and trends have intensified fires over the years. If a filmmaker is struggling with this, or not sure how an impact is related to climate change, email us at


  • Videos must contain some original footage and/or photography, and tell the personal story of an affected individual or business. In-person interviews will qualify as original footage.


  • All footage that is not original should be available in the public domain (e.g. government photos, or materials with a creative commons license) and given credit in production references where required.  


  • All reference sources used in making the video must be credited at the end of the video.


  • Signed media release forms are required for the creators of the video as well as all persons who appear in the video, either visually, through audio, or personal photographs that are not in the public domain. If the person in the video is under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must sign their release forms. Media release forms can be found below. 


  • If an interviewee provides medical information, a HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) release form will be required. If the interviewee is under 18 years of age, a parent must also sign the release form. HIPPA forms can be found below.

Submission Forms 

All entries should be submitted with with a cover form, media release form, and, if necessary (see guidelines) a HIPPA form. Click on the text to download each of the forms. 

Cover Form

Media Release Form


Resources and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is an example of a climate impact already happening in the United States?


The following links are examples of new stories relating to current climate change impacts:​​​


Can my video be about a future climate impact?

No. We tend to get a lot of videos that talk about impacts from climate changes in the future. These are often great, but they are not what we are looking for. The Climate Cost Project and WCVC are focused on changes, or adaptations to those changes, that are happening now. Examples can include wildfires, flooding, the spread of infectious disease, coastal damage, extreme weather, and industries being impacted by climate change.


Videos must be about impacts that are happening now. Discussion in the film about how these impacts might become more severe, or further affect the community in the future, is fine and encouraged, but videos must be about impacts already being experienced in the United States.


What is an example of a community resilience or adaptation measure?

You can look at the links below to learn more about resilience and adaptation, and find examples of what cities and communities in the United States are doing:


US Climate Resilience Toolkit:


100 Resilient Cities:​


US Geological Survey:


World Resources Institute:

Do you have examples or tips for good storytelling about climate impacts?

A nice guide to on personal storytelling for videos can be found here:


For an excellent example of a recent film on how climate change is affecting a local community, you can view High Tide in Dorchester. The film’s director, Sandy Cannon Brown, is one of the judges for the 2018 competition. High Tide in Dorchester is a feature-length film that we recommend watching in full, but a 16-minute version is available here on Vimeo:


Note that WCVC submissions cannot exceed two minutes and 30 seconds. We encourage you to look at last year’s winners here.

How do I submit my video?

Instructions will be posted at on November 1st, 2018. Please also see the release forms provided at the link that must be submitted with the video.

Can I work with someone to create a video?   

Yes, people may work individually or in teams to create and submit videos. The submission form allows multiple contestants for a single video.

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Stay updated. Get involved.

We'll let you know about future intiatives to document climate impacts in America, including the launch of the Climate Impact Census or the 2018 Witnessing Change Video Competition.

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