The Cameraman – 1928 – Buster Keaton
We are looking for filmmakers and artists of all levels to create and upload short films of 2–3 minutes to the Internet Archive to help us celebrate Public Domain Day at our celebrations on January 24 (in-person screening & party) & January 25 (virtual celebration), 2024!
Our short film contest serves as a platform for filmmakers to explore, remix, and breathe new life into the timeless gems that have entered the public domain. From classic literature and silent films to musical compositions and visual art, the contest winners draw inspiration from the vast archive of cultural heritage from 1928. We want artists to use this newly available content to create short films using resources from the Internet Archive’s collections from 1928. The uploaded videos will be judged and prizes of up to $1500 awarded!! (see details below)
Winners will be announced and shown at the in-person Public Domain Day Celebration at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco on January 24, 2024, as well as our virtual celebration on January 25. All other participating videos will be added to a Public Domain Day Collection on archive.org and featured in a blog entry in January of 2024.
Here are a few examples of some of the materials that will become public domain on January 1, 2024:
- Books: e.g. Orlando by Virginia Woolfe, Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, and Black Magic by Paul Morand
- Periodicals: E.g. issues from Life, The New Yorker, and Time
- Music! E.g. Dorothy Field’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” and Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave”
- Movies: E.g. Steamboat Willie, The Fall of the House of Usher and Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. and The Cameraman
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
- Weird Tales of 1928
- Sleuthing the Public Domain
- What can 1928 teach us about 2024?
- Steamboat Willie re-imagined
- Make a 2–3 minute movie using at least one work published in 1928 that will become Public Domain on January 1, 2024. This could be a poem, book, film, musical composition, painting, photograph or any other work that will become Public Domain next year. The more different PD materials you use, the better!
- Note: If you have a resource from 1928 that is not available on archive.org, you may upload it and then use it in your submission. (Here is how to do that).
- Your submission must have a soundtrack. It can be your own voiceover or performance of a public domain musical composition, or you may use public domain or CC0 sound recordings from sources like Openverse and the Free Music Archive.
- Note: Music copyright is TRICKY! Currently sound recordings published up to December 31, 1922 are public domain; on the upcoming January 1 that will change to sound recordings published up to December 31, 1923. Sound recordings published later than that are NOT public domain, even if the underlying musical composition is, so watch out for this!
- Mix and Mash content however you like, but note that ALL of your sources must be from the public domain. They do not all have to be from 1928. Remember, U.S. government works are public domain no matter when they are published. So feel free to use those NASA images! You may include your own original work if you put a CC0 license on it.
- Add a personal touch, make it yours!
- Keep the videos light hearted and fun! (It is a celebration after all!)
All submissions must be in by Midnight, January 17, 2024 (PST)
How to Submit
- Create an Internet Archive Account
- Upload your film to archive.org with a subject tag field of “public domain day film contest 2024” in the upload form
- Link all your sourced materials from 1928 in the upload description
- 1st prize: $1500
- 2nd prize: $1000
- 3rd prize: $500
*All prizes sponsored by the Kahle/Austin Foundation
Judges will be looking for videos that are fun, interesting and use public domain materials, especially those from 1928. They will be shown at the in-person Public Domain Day party in San Francisco and should highlight the value of having cultural materials that can be reused, remixed, and re-contextualized for a new day. Winners’ pieces will be purchased with the prize money, and viewable on the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license.
- Amir Saber Esfahani (Director of Special Arts Projects, Internet Archive)
- Rick Prelinger (Board Member, Internet Archive, Founder, Prelinger Archives)
- BZ Petroff (Director of Admin & HR, Internet Archive)
- Special guest judges
For reference, check out the 2023 Entrants