#IWTMekong Short Film Competition

Win up to $5,000, a trip to London, and to the Luang Prabang Film Festival, by submitting a short film that raises awareness about Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT).

The Mekong region is a perfect storm - a source, transit route and final destination for many of the world’s most valuable and threatened wildlife species. This multi-million dollar trade significantly threatens the survival of endangered species including tiger, Asian and African elephant, and all rhino species, as well as pangolins - the most trafficked animal in the world. Illegal wildlife trafficking represents the third-largest illicit trade in the world, with an estimated value of up to $19 billion per year. As a region, Southeast Asia remains among the most critical in terms of severity and volume of wildlife trafficking. Driven by high demand in East Asia for animal products in the form of food, traditional medicine, and decoration, the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia is responsible for approximately 25% of the global industry.

The UK Government and the Luang Prabang Film Festival, in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), are initiating a short film competition in order to draw attention to this crucial issue for the Mekong region. Here’s what filmmakers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (as well as foreign filmmakers resident in these countries) stand to win:

  • 1st PRIZE: $5,000 USD
  • 2nd PRIZE: $4,000 USD
  • 3rd PRIZE: $3,000 USD
  • VIRAL PRIZE: $2,000 USD
  • 1 of 5 SPECIAL PRIZES (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam): $2,000 USD

The three top winners will be invited to present their films in the UK during the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, which will take place 10-11 October 2018. All prizewinners (except for the Special Prize) will also be provided a roundtrip flight and accommodation to attend and participate in the 9th Luang Prabang Film Festival, which will take place 7-12 December 2018.

Selection Process

A maximum of 15 submitted films (10 from the Main Competition and 5 from the Student Competition) will be chosen to be put on the Luang Prabang Film Festival's Facebook page and compete for the Viral Prize. The film that receives the most shares (only from LPFF’s official upload) within the established window will win the prize. (And is still eligible to receive another prize in the competition, as well.) First, Second, Third, and Student Prize winners will be selected by a jury made up of representatives of the Mekong Region’s British Embassies, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund. Additionally, the British Embassies in Bangkok, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, and Yangon, alongside local experts, will choose a Special Prize for each country. The winners will be contacted by the organizers and will be announced officially at a satellite event during the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, taking place 10-11 October 2018, attended by politicians and leading experts from all over the world. A screening of the top films will also take place during this conference, exposing international IWT experts to these messages from the Mekong Region.


  • Filmmakers must be residents of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, or Myanmar.
  • Expatriates living in these countries will be accepted.
  • The submitted film must be no longer than 6 minutes.
  • Films must have English subtitles. All content in the films (footage, graphics, music) must belong to the filmmaker. Any film with content that was not obtained and used lawfully will not be considered.
  • Film must not be shared online on Facebook or any other website, as this will hurt the film’s chances for the Viral Prize. Any film released online during the competition by the filmmaker will be deemed ineligible.
  • The production of the film must abide by local laws concerning content and permits.
  • The film’s director or producer should be available to attend the Luang Prabang Film Festival on 7-12 December 2018.

Student Competition

As youth are one of the most important groups able to enact change, the organizers have created a separate section of this activity meant for students. Because submitting a film to a competition with professional filmmakers can be intimidating, students currently enrolled in undergraduate college and below are able to compete against their peers for a Student Prize. Filmmakers must choose which competition to enter at the time of submission, and if they choose the Student Competition, their film will not be considered for the Main Competition.


1) To use filmmaking as a tool to raise awareness amongst the public and policymakers about the need to protect endangered wildlife, reinforce wildlife conservation practices and the importance of generating long-term sustainable solutions in the Mekong region.
2) To shed light on and encourage organizations and projects that are already actively involved in combating illegal wildlife trade.
3) To raise awareness globally of the specific IWT issues and challenges affecting the Mekong region.

Judging Criteria

Adherence to the Theme: The video clearly and creatively represents the theme of Illegal Wildlife Trafficking in the Mekong Region.
Originality and Creativity: The content is unique and not derivative of other ideas, and presents the theme in an original, compelling way. Films can be any genre (fiction, documentary, animation, etc.), but inclusion of personal, relatable stories is encouraged.
Potential Viewer Impact: The video has content that is inspiring to viewers.
Overall Execution: The video reflects thoughtful framing and composition, presenting a clear story, is well-paced and focused, and has a well-mixed soundtrack and/or voiceover.
Visual Techniques: The visual content is appealing to viewers through composition and technique. Duration: The duration of submitted video does not exceed 6 minutes.

Film Submission

Fill out the online application form in its entirety. This form will request the following information:
1) Personal details about the filmmaker and their contact information.
2) Whether the filmmaker would like to submit to the Main Competition or the Student Competition. Only one can be selected.
3) A link to a high-quality, private, unlisted screener on YouTube or Vimeo. Be sure to provide the link and the password (if applicable) in the application form. Once selected, the top films will be asked to submit their film files to the Luang Prabang Film Festival using WeTransfer.

Only submissions received by 15 August 2018 will be considered.

Any questions about film submission or the general competition should be sent to Festival Coordinator Jessica Arce at

Supplementary Information

The organizers of this competition have provided detailed supplementary information on the topic of illegal wildlife trade to assist filmmakers in the creation of their film ideas and in their films’ production - including lists with useful contacts to conservation organizations and projects in the Mekong region. This information can be found above. The use of any information provided within these materials does not need to be cited within the submitted films.

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Deadline for Submission: 15 August 2018

Full Call for Submissions:


Supplementary Information:

Fact Sheet

Contact Lists: