C-SPAN's StudentCam, now in its 20th year, invites students from around the country to participate in the nationally recognized documentary competition.
This year, student filmmakers should explore one of two prompts:
A) In the next 20 years, what is the most important change that you would like to see in America?
Detail a specific issue that is important to you and the evolution of related policies, laws, and actions that you want to see in the future.
- OR -
B) Over the past 20 years, what has been the most important change in America?
Examine a specific law, event, or invention, explain its impact and why you consider it important.
This project-based learning experience allows students to explore an issue or concern that impacts them and consider how to address the topic through multiple perspectives. C-SPAN and its cable and satellite television partners invite middle and high school student filmmakers of all levels to enter the documentary contest.
The C-SPAN Education Foundation annually awards 150 student and 53 teacher cash prizes, totaling $100,000. The grand-prize winner will receive $5,000, and multiple cash prizes of $3,000, $1,500, $750 and $250 will be awarded to students in first, second and third places, as well as honorable mention categories. This year in honor of the 20th anniversary, C-SPAN is offering an additional $50,000 in award money. The first 500 teachers with qualifying student entries will receive a $100 cash award. For additional details, visit
“For two decades now, the StudentCam competition has provided enterprising students with an opportunity to think critically about topics of national importance and creatively express their opinions with the world," said Craig McAndrew, director of C-SPAN Education Relations. “With this year's theme offering a choice of either looking to the future, or considering a topic in retrospect, our judges are excited to hear a wide variety of perspectives about what is important to this next generation of rising stars.”
Competition Guidelines

  • Middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) may compete individually or in teams composed of two or three members.
  • Documentaries must be the original work of students; however, teachers may provide guidance and critiques.
  • All documentaries must include C-SPAN video clips that support the chosen topic and are used effectively.
  • StudentCam documentaries should comprehensively represent a variety of viewpoints related to the chosen topic, including those that may oppose the filmmakers' points of view.
  • Documentaries must be between 5 and 6 minutes in length.
  • Entries must include sources, either in the end credits or an emailed works cited list.
  • Video submissions and entry forms can be uploaded directly online at
  • The deadline for students to submit entries is midnight PST, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.

The documentaries will be judged by a panel of C-SPAN representatives. Middle school students will be judged on a national basis. High school students will compete on a regional level, with the United States divided into three regions: West, Central and East. The grand-prize winner with the best overall entry will be selected nationally from both middle and high school entries.
Winners will be announced in March 2024, with the top winning videos to air on C-SPAN in April 2024. Competition details are available at