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ARL Film Festival 2021—The “Arlies”—Call for Entries

The Sixth Annual ARL Film Festival (for ARL libraries only)

Online, April 2021, exact timeframe to be determined

View the 2020 Arlies film winners and descriptions of the 20 featured films.


Here is a video of librarians being awesome.
2016 Arlies best performance winner,
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Member Engagement and Outreach Committee will host the sixth annual ARL Film Festival (the Arlies). The film festival highlights and shares multimedia products developed by member institutions to increase knowledge and use of libraries, their spaces, services, collections, and expertise. We encourage submissions that reflect diversity of the student population. Submissions are limited to ARL member libraries and must be received no later than Friday, March 26, 2021.

Only 20 films/videos will be included in this year’s festival. The films will be chosen based on date of submission per category. The goal is to feature four films in each of the five categories, listed below. A later entry in a category that has not been filled will be chosen over an earlier submission for a category that has been filled. Other submissions will be linked from the ARL website but not featured at the festival.

Please read the submission requirements and eligibility categories below. The requirements emphasize that films should be three minutes or less and produced in the past two years (2019 or later). All entries must be accompanied by the completed application form (below). If you have any questions not covered in this document, you may contact Sue Baughman at sue@arl.org.

Submission Requirements

Please follow these entry requirements:

Entries must not exceed a total running time of three minutes each, including credits.

  • Films can be either scripted or improvisational, animated or not.
  • Films produced prior to January 1, 2019, are not eligible for consideration for the 2021 festival.
  • Films viewed at a previous Arlies are not eligible for consideration for the 2021 festival.
  • An application form and a link to the video must accompany each entry.
  • An institution may submit only one film per year.

Submission of the video should include a link that can be accessed by the ARL staff. Links from any web hosted video streaming platform such as YouTube or Vimeo are acceptable. With submission of the entry form, the library gives ARL permission to post the video link on its website.

Festival Submission Categories

Your submission must fall into one of the following five submission categories.

  1. How-To/Instruction Films: In order to qualify for this category, the submitted project must be created for use in a classroom or online course or as an instructional video to learn a new skill (e.g., How to Use Endnote).
  2. Development/Fund-Raising Films: In order to qualify for this category, the submitted project must be intended to raise funds or attract potential donors to the library. A specific goal must be included (e.g., $10,000 or securing the names of at least 20 new friends for the library).
  3. Collections-Focused Films: In order to qualify for this category, the submitted project must highlight book(s), document(s), photograph(s), sound recording(s), collection(s) or other item(s) from the library’s holdings.
  4. Publicity/Marketing Films: In order to qualify for this category, the submitted project must be intended to promote knowledge of and appreciation for the library, services, spaces, or expertise to a particular audience.
  5. Free-Form Films: Other than meeting submission requirements, there are no rules for submitting in this category, either because the project does not fit into any of the other categories or defies categorization altogether. Bring it on!

Awards and Judging

Entries will be evaluated by member representatives and guests who will vote during a timeframe in April. All awards will be announced on a to-be-determined date in April. Awards for best entry will be made for the following:

  • Best of show
  • Best of each category
  • Best reflection of diversity
  • Best performance
  • Best production
  • Humor

Lights, camera, action! We look forward to your participation.