By Heidi Simmons

Hooking up with the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival this election year is “60 Seconds to Impact,” a really short film competition focusing on why people choose to vote.

In 60 seconds or less, filmmakers are challenged to create non-partisan films that motivate and inspire voters to participate in the up-coming November 2016 election.

Submissions opened May 5th and the competition is an open call to the world.

Limited only by one’s imagination, films can be shot on whatever is handy from a smartphone to 35mm.   As long as the films are original, the genre is wide open.  Films can be animation, live action, documentary, still photographs, interviews or even a musical, but must remain non-partisan.

The University of California, Riverside, partnered with the PSISFF to help promote and educate –as well as entertain –- about the importance of having a voice, exercising the freedom to vote and to generate change.

According to the “60 Seconds to Impact” website the concept is straightforward:  Create a short, compelling film of 60 seconds or less about why you vote, and why others should too.

Also collaborating in this timely and enterprising micro-film fest is Rock the Vote, the Casting Society of America and Pocial.

The final “60 Seconds to Impact” submission deadline is October 10th.

To submit a “60 Seconds to Impact” film there is a five-dollar entry fee and the film must be up-loaded via FilmFreeway to YouTube before the deadline.  No Vimeo is allowed.  The project has to be visible to the greater YouTube viewing public.  Foreign entries must have English subtitles.

This film competition intends to stimulate, encourage and compel young people to register to vote.  Part of the “60 Seconds to Impact” goal is to register one million new voters before the presidential election.

The contest is open to filmmakers of any age, sex, ethnicity, belief system and nation, making it an interesting and fun competition.   Public voting will determine the top video submissions and a panel of judges from the ShortFest and UCR will select finalists who will qualify for cash prizes.

First place will receive a cash prize but as the websites says:  “The real winners are those who influence change at a time when it matters most.”

This may be one of the strangest election years on record, but “60 Seconds to Impact” recognizes that change comes from sharing ideas and encourages spreading the news with #whyivote and #60secondsimpact.

Far too often, people are apathetic and consider their vote meaningless.  The “60 Seconds to Impact” competition reminds us that casting a ballot is a powerful tool.

For more information go to