DocumentaryCriteria for documentary submissions to the Student Showcase of Films

The Documentary category is sponsored by:
Ms. Suzanne L. Niedland
Please review the following information prior to developing your Documentary

The Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary Scholarship

Open to Florida high school and college students.
Film must be no shorter than 3 minutes and not to exceed 25 minutes (TRT).
$1,000 Award
- INCREASED for 2020!
Funds will be awarded to the submitting student.

Submitted projects will be judged on the following set of criteria:

Ability to effectively tell a story that details Inspiring Health Change
Production Value

DESCRIPTION: Health is so much more than what you eat and how often you exercise, it’s also about the places where you live, work, learn, play and pray. All the many complex social factors within those areas, including access to food, safe neighborhoods to walk, availability of transportation, access to jobs that pay a livable wage, and education, greatly impact your health.

The 2020 Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary Scholarship partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to ask students to seek out examples of Inspiring Health Change within Florida communities and to use their storytelling skills to spark conversation. Stories of health can be found in every neighborhood. A well captured story can plant seeds of change for one individual or one community at a time. As empowered storytellers you can educate the community on health crises, barriers to health, and organizations and individuals working to overcome these barriers with creative health interventions and lifestyle changes to ignite action.

As you think about Inspiring Health Change and what that means to you, consider some of the below suggestions of how you might capture this in your documentary submission:

  1. Barriers to Health – what issues exist within the community that make health more difficult to achieve, and how are community members overcoming those barriers (access to fresh food, safe streets, cost of medical care, access to jobs, access to affordable education, etc.)?

  2. Lifestyle Change – what are individuals doing in the community to improve their personal health and how are they sharing that education with others?

  3. Health Interventions – what are organizations, community groups, and advocates doing throughout Florida doing to improve the overall well-being of the individuals they serve?

  4. Systems and Policy Change – what is being done at the local and state level (hospital systems, legislation, etc.) to make health more accessible to all members of the community?

Student information:

This scholarship is open to Florida high school and college students. $1000 Award.  Funds will be awarded to the winning student.

In addition, because of the partnership with the American Heart Association for this themed documentary category the following promotional opportunities will apply to the winner of this category. 

  • Film submissions are eligible for inclusion within our PROJECT: Community storytelling platform on YouTube and, with the filmmaker’s permission, in either the full version or an edited segment where it aligns with AHA’s mission.

  • Film submissions are eligible for feature on local, state, and national social media AHA channels, in either the full version or an edited segment where it aligns with AHA’s mission.

  • AHA will look for opportunities to include the film in additional settings such as AHA events, conferences, health fairs, etc. where appropriate, in either the full version or an edited segment where it aligns with AHA’s mission.

  • AHA will seek opportunities for earned media through local news outlets.

  • If planning to participate in the American Heart Association’s added opportunity, it is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to secure permission from the owner(s) of any and all copyrighted or trademarked content included within the submitted project. The SSOF expressly disavows any responsibility for, and will not be held responsible for, any unauthorized inclusion of any copyrighted or trademarked content or materials. For more information on this important topic, please visit and read sections 3-6.

The Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary Scholarship was created to honor Ms. Suzanne L. Niedland—a champion of student filmmakers and Florida’s production industry. Ms. Niedland is an esteemed judge for the Student Showcase of Films’ Burt Reynolds Scholarship, giving freely of herself to recognize exceptional Palm Beach County high school students. This scholarship honors her by supporting future filmmakers and encouraging excellence in the field of motion picture education. Ms. Niedland knows that a healthy lifestyle can prevent illness and disease and lead to better quality of life.  She is excited about the possibilities of the stories, which will come out of this competition.  She created the Margaret W. Niedland Imaging Center at Jupiter Medical Center in memory of her mother, who lost her life to breast cancer.

APPLICATION PROCESS: To begin the process of submitting your Documentary, complete the Student Showcase of Films Online Application (CLOSED). Our system will guide you through the necessary steps to completion.

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