NEW! Youth Media Challange Deadline Extended to Wednesday, May 1st! 


Click Here For Info Deck

Submit Your Work

Empowering Youth, Inspiring Change!
Nā Leo plays a vital role in nurturing local talent for the emerging creative, media, and tech industries. To advance this, we are launching our inaugural Youth Media Challenge. This challenge aims to elevate Hawai‘i Island youth voice and perspective, providing space for youth to exhibit and publicly showcase their work. Our hope is that this challenge leads to more youth-generated content across our channels and greater opportunities with our studios as well as community partners, opening the door for storytelling careers across industries.

Who Can Participate
Hawai‘i Island creatives, ages 11 to 24 years old, are invited to submit media productions by participating in one of three age divisions:

  • Junior Visionaries: ages 11-13
  • Teen Trailblazers: ages 13-18
  • Emerging Creators: ages 18-24

Challenge Schedule
Mark your calendars for these key dates!

  • Challenge Announced: Friday, March 1
  • Deadline to Submit: Wednesday, May 1
  • Finalists Notified: Monday, May 6
  • Awards Luncheon: Saturday, May 18

Media Production Submission Types
Choose a Themed Category and submit any of the following media productions:

  • Public Service Announcement: Be a force for change and create a PSA that tackles local issues head-on. Select a themed category and in one or two minutes, create a video message that educates, motivates, or moves the audience. (PSA must either be exactly 60 seconds or exactly 120 seconds.)
  • Short Film: Dive deeper into storytelling! Whether you’re passionate about humor, drama, action, culture, or history, select a themed category and explore a spectrum of emotions and characters to deliver a cinematic experience in a five to eight minute format.
  • Digital Art: Use digital tools to visually convey ideas within a themed category. From surreal landscapes fused with typography to abstract concepts merged with intricate portraits, use technology and art to make a visual impact.  There is a vast range of possibilities, with traditional mediums adapted to digital platforms including things like digital comics, digital paintings, digital mixed media, digital magazines, and generative art.

Themed Categories
Showcase your talent and creativity through a PSA, Short Film, or Digital Artwork across any of the 13 Themed Categories. Each category is proudly sponsored by a community partner, and winning entries have the chance to be featured in the organization’s marketing campaigns. Click on each theme for a list of topic ideas to spark inspiration for your media production.

Click here for info deck, which includes info for all Themed Categories.
Click on the graphics below to access video messages from category sponsors. Category themes link to a list of ideas for your media project. 

Ocean Preservation
Sponsored by: Division of Aquatic Resources (DLNR)

Financial Literacy
Sponsored by: Hawai‘i Community FCU

Disaster Preparedness 
Sponsored by: Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency

Energy Resilience 
Sponsored by: Hawaiian Electric

Safe Transportation 
Sponsored by: Hawai‘i Dept. of Transportation

Fentanyl Awareness
Sponsored by: HI Fentanyl Task Force

Community Safety
Sponsored by: Hawai‘i Police Department

Digital Equity
Sponsored by: Hawaiian Telcom

Visit With Respect
Sponsored by: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

Homeless Awareness
Sponsored by: HOPE Services Hawai‘i

Creating Peace
Sponsored by: Rotary Club of Hilo, Rotary Club of South Hilo & Rotary Club Of Hilo Bay

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can submit?
Eligible participants include Hawai‘i Island youth, ages 11 to 24 years old. Youth do not need to be enrolled in a school institution to participate. Submissions can be made individually or as a small group, with a small group defined as up to five students. All submissions will be evaluated on an individual basis.

How many entries can I submit?
You are welcome to submit one entry for each media type within each Themed Category for your age division. This allows for the submission of a PSA, short film, and/or digital artwork for all 13 Themed Categories. While you have the opportunity to showcase your talents across various categories, we encourage you to prioritize quality over quantity. Select themes that resonate most with your passion and creativity for a truly impactful submission.

How do I submit my work?
Participants can submit their digital media projects by uploading files through a dedicated Google Form. Below, you'll find clear instructions for formatting project submissions, followed by a helpful guide on crafting the submission narrative. Click here for formatting instructions and submission form template.

How much support can adults provide?
Youth should take the lead in all aspects of video production, including filming and editing, as well as the design work for the digital art category. Adult assistance is encouraged to be limited to aspects such as initial planning and brainstorming. Adults can offer guidance in demonstrating how to effectively use production tools and design/editing software. The competition aims to foster independence and creativity among the youth participants while ensuring a supportive learning environment.

Am I limited to creating media according to the topics listed in each Themed Category?
The topics outlined in each Themed Category are designed to spark inspiration and are by no means exhaustive. While these topics offer guidance, all project submissions should align with the overarching theme of the category. Feel free to explore unique angles within the theme. Showcase your original and unique perspective to create a media submission that reflects the essence of the Themed Category.

Are there prizes?
Absolutely! Prizes will be awarded for exceptional entries in all Themed Categories across each age division - Junior Visionaries (ages 11-13), Teen Trailblazers (ages 14-18), and Emerging Creators (ages 19-24). Winning submissions will receive recognition on all Nā Leo channels (TV, streaming, social media, website), and may be featured in category sponsors’ marketing campaigns.

Finalists will be invited to an awards luncheon ceremony on Saturday, May 18, where winners will be revealed and interviewed. The ceremony will be rebroadcast on Nā Leo’s Educational Channel 54 and made available for on-demand streaming at shortly after.

As a token of appreciation, every participating youth will receive an exclusive Youth Media Challenge participant t-shirt, celebrating their contribution to this creative initiative.