The Cyberpunk Now Film Festival’s “Challenge Elements” #cyberpunk

A few weeks ago, we reported on the film festival happening for this year’s (virtual) HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference (now happening through August 2nd). Called Cyberpunk Now, the film festival challenges participants to create films from scratch within five days (which started on July 25th). To ensure that participants didn’t cheat and begin their films (on the theme of “cyberpunk now”) before the start date, HOPE built a series of “challenge elements” into the competition, things that had to be in your film to qualify.

The challenge elements were loaded to the festival site on Saturday. They’re not what I expected. I thought they’d likely be thematic prompts. Instead, they are more like watermarks, elements you have to have in your submission to show that you really did create the film after the elements were announced. Here are a couple of the challenges from various submission categories:


If a project submitted to the Animation category is less than two (2) minutes long, the color blue and its many shades may not appear in the first forty-five (45) seconds of the film.

If a project submitted to the Animation category is more than two (2) minutes long, the color blue and its many shades may not appear in the first half of the film’s total running time.

For all projects submitted to the Animation category, participants should prepare a mock cover of a relatively well-known independently published hacker or digital counter-culture publication, such as 2600, Phrack, PoC||GTFO, Hack-Tic, Mondo 2000, Blacklisted 411, etc. Do not use a publication currently owned by a conglomerate, such as Wired. The magazine cover and its title should appear clearly in the foreground of a shot for at least 4 seconds.


In projects submitted to the Drama category, the number “6-5000” (spoken as: “six five thousand”) should appear prominently in the foreground of a shot for at least four (4) seconds or be spoken clearly in dialogue by a main character while they are on screen. Merely including the number on a title card or in a voiceover is not sufficient to fulfill this requirement, it must be used in a scene.

In projects submitted to the Drama category, a character must appear on-screen holding a flashlight backward and be seen turning the flashlight on and off.

Read the rest here.

I think this festival is such a great idea and can’t wait to see what the submissions are like. I’ll report back after the contest is complete.

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