Still from Gnats Gonzalez short film Echo Echo

Public Domain Day Film Contest Highlights Works of 1927

At Internet Archive we love to see how creative people can get with the material we make available online. As part of this year’s Public Domain Day celebration we asked the greater community to submit short films highlighting anything that was going to be made available in the Public Domain in 2023.

For the contest, vintage images and sounds were woven into creative films of 2-3 minutes. Many of the films were abstract while others educational, they all showcased the possibility when public domain materials are made openly available and accessible for download.

 “The Internet Archive has spent  24 years collecting and archiving content from around the world…now is the time to see what people can do with it,” said Amir Saber Esfahani, director of special arts projects at the Internet Archive. He was an organizer and judge in the January short-film contest along with Yuanxiao Xu, who serves as Counsel at Creative Commons, and Rick Prelinger, who is an archivist and filmmaker, as well as a board member for the Internet Archive.

The judges reviewed 47 entries and chose a winner based on creativity, technique, engagement, and variety of 1925 content (including lists of all sources).

Contest Winners

First Place: Echo Echo by Gnats Gonzales

Second Place: The Public Domain Race by José Domingues and Leonardo Domingues

Third Place: Seeing Cats by Alex T. Jacobs

Honorable Mentions

There were so many amazing films that did not win the contest, so below are a selection of artists that we feel should get honorable mentions for their short films.

View all of the submissions at

Posted in News | 5 Replies

About Amir Saber Esfahani

Amir Esfahani is a practicing Bay Area artist, educator, and curator. Esfahani's role at the Internet Archive is to connect artist with our collections and to show what is possible when open access to information meets the arts. He is also the Director of Special Art Projects at the Internet Archive.

5 thoughts on “Public Domain Day Film Contest Highlights Works of 1927

  1. Hector Manuel

    I would like to see a render/image of the Brewster Awards statue
    All the films were amazing!

  2. Julie Meitz

    Congratulations to the winners, honorable mentions and *everyone* who tried to create something because the effort is just as important ! 🙂

    To the Internet Archive:

    By chance I found out about this remix contest in December and I posted the following question below, but it was never answered and then comments were quickly closed the day after. That had a negative impression on me, so I decided not to make a remix for the contest. Then close to the deadline, I thought, “Why should that stop me?” and uploaded an unfinished work anyway, believing in my comment above about ‘the effort’.

    My message from: December 9, 2022 at 11:49 am


    The winning video, “danse-de-alienes” used 2 soundtracks from 1925 and this post states this:

    Note: Sound recordings published before 1923 are in the public domain. Sound recordings published later than Jan 1, 1923 are NOT public domain, even if the underlying musical composition is, so watch out for this!

    Also it’s not clear to me if certain items in the collection are indeed public domain when there is no license information provided (for example, I don’t see it in the link you provided under “Public Domain” with the 78rpm recordings).

    So where do we find this licensing info (public domain, creative commons, etc.?

    Thanks in advance.
    Sincerely, Julie


  3. Liv Carter


    My submission is still at zero views. I’m wondering if it was received and viewed.


    1. Yuanxiao Xu

      Hi Liv,

      That’s something I noticed, too. There are some videos that I watched multiple times, and the view count still shows as zero somehow.

  4. Kelly Rick

    1st place video is under two minutes? 2nd place video is over 3 minutes? Rules said 2-3 minutes

Comments are closed.