StudentCam is C-SPAN's annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation.

This year students in grades 6-12 are asked to create a short (5-6 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the new 2019 competition theme, "What does it mean to be American? Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience."

With cash prizes totaling $100,000, C-SPAN awards prizes to 150 student documentaries, and over 50 teacher advisors.

Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience.

Your video should evaluate how this right, characteristic or event is upheld in our society, or challenged by current events. Rights or characteristics may include aspects of democracy, opportunity, liberty, justice, equality, diversity, unity, individualism, other rights, guiding principles, or shared values.

Click here for a printable Student Checklist (Google Doc)

  • The competition is open to all students in grades 6-12. Grades 6-8 will compete in the Middle School category, and grades 9-12 will compete in the High School category. For more information, visit our Prizes page.
  • Students may compete individually, or in teams of either 2 or 3 members.
  • Documentaries must include clips of supporting or opposing C-SPAN video that relate to the chosen topic.
  • Winning StudentCam documentaries will thoroughly explore a variety of viewpoints related to the chosen topic, including those that may oppose the filmmakers points of view. We recommend that you interview experts on your chosen subject.
  • Documentaries must be between 5-6 minutes in length. *End credits, if applicable, must begin after the 5-minute mark but are permitted to run longer than the allotted 6-minute time frame.
  • Entries must include either end credits or a works cited list.
For the complete list of competition rules, click here.

Take us Behind-the-Scenes of your StudentCam documentary for your chance to win one of five $100 cash prizes!

  • Share a photograph from the production of your StudentCam documentary on social media
  • Post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat – upload your photo, tell us about it, and include the hashtag #StudentCam2019
  • Send an attached screengrab of your social media post along with the names of all team members and the name of your school to:
  • Must submit by the main competition deadline on January 20, 2019. Five $100 prizes to be awarded in March, 2019. To be eligible to win, you must also enter a documentary in StudentCam 2019 but your documentary does not have to be a winning video in order to win the "Behind the Scenes" prize
  • Limit 1 eligible photograph per team/documentary

When you have completed your documentary and you are ready to submit it for judging, click here to complete the Entry Form for yourself, any teammates, and your teacher advisor (if applicable).

If you are under the age of 18, you will also be emailed a Release Form for your parent/guardian to review and provide their consent. The Release Form may be signed after the upload deadline on Sunday, January 20.

Key dates, including the submission deadline and the announcement of winning videos.

  • Sunday, January 20, 2019
    All eligible entries must be submitted by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) at the end of the day on Sunday, January 20.

  • February 27, 2019 - March 3, 2019
    The public will have a chance to view the top 10 videos (as determined by C-SPAN judges) and cast their vote daily for "Fan Favorite."

  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019
    The 150 winning entries from the 2019 StudentCam competition will be announced.