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Make Your Mark Competition - About (2017)
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1st Prize
Beautiful Strangers
Produced By AJ Vargas

2nd Prize
Children of the Revolution
Produced By Michael A. Bina & Shawn Shekarchian

3rd Prize
The Family Robinson
Produced By Emily Wirth



To avoid disqualification, it is recommended that you closely review the Official Rules & Regulations for the PGA Make Your Mark Weekend Shorts Competition. Please ensure that you adhere to all guidelines and specific requirements detailed (in particular, Section 4) prior to submitting your film and forms.

PGA Make Your Mark Weekend Shorts Competition is characterized by a specific assignment, requiring films to include certain story and thematic elements. The degree to which each film organically incorporates the elements of the assignment will dictate judges' evaluation of the films' EXECUTION OF ASSIGNMENT.

The PGA is pleased to honor producer Mike Nichols in this year’s competition.


“The greatest thrill is that moment when a thousand people are sitting in the dark, looking at the same scene, and they are all apprehending something that has not been spoken. That's the thrill of it, the miracle -- that's what holds us to movies forever. It's what we wish we could do in real life.”

-- Mike Nichols


Drawing on the spirit of Mike Nichols’ words above and the signature elements of his filmography, this phase of the PGA Make Your Mark Weekend Shorts Competition will challenge you to create something miraculous. Your short film must incorporate the following specifics:


Setting (choose two)

·      hallway

·      country estate

·      1980s/Reagan Era


Elements/Props (choose three of five; one element must play a significant role within the story)

·      rear-view mirror

·      cream pie

·      personal letter

·      wings

·      sunglasses 

Theme (choose at least one)

Corporate corruption/political activism: Nichols’ films often include characters engaged with corporate or government policy, either in their active drive to shape such policy, or in personal reactions to injustice or victimization.  Often this engagement highlights the characters’ flaws even as it wins our sympathy.  

Dynamics between men and women: Nichols’ films are filled with explorations of the ways that archetypal relationships between men and women play themselves out, as spouses/romantic partners, mothers and sons, teachers and students, and doctors and patients, among others.

No mercy for middle-class sacred cows: Nichols’ work frequently calls into question the value of middle-class status and the signifiers thereof, such as higher education, conventional dating & sexual etiquette, psychoanalysis, distinctions between high & low culture, conforming to traditional/community expectations as they relate to work, family, country, religion, etc. 

- Good luck!


Clear the Weekend of August 25th-27th to make a 3-5 minute film!

You and your work could win one of three “Producers Packages” with prizes totaling over $111,000 and be highlighted on the Producers Guild website to be viewed by over 7,000 members.

Registration Deadline is Wednesday August 23rd
The Competition is open to international entries but the total number of all entries is capped to 500!


  • Producers, regardless of experience, are invited to participate and need not be a member of the PGA to enter.*
  • All entrants will be provided the same assignment and will have exactly 51 hours to make and submit a film. 
    This year’s competition will honor prolific producer Mike Nichols and the competition requirements will be posted on commencing at 5:00PM EDT/ 2:00PM PDT on Friday August 25, 2017. All short films must then be completed and uploaded by 8:00PM EDT/ 5:00PM PDT on Sunday, August 27, 2017. Please note: Previously produced materials will not be allowed.
  • From all submissions, ten (10) Semi-Finalists will be chosen who will then compete for the opportunity to be one of the three (3) Finalists for a Producers Prize Package. 
  • The ten (10) Semi-Finalists short films will be screened at the Awards Show on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the South Park Center in Los Angeles, in association with New Filmmakers LA, when the winners will be announced & prizes presented

Films entered in the Producer Guild of America Make Your Mark Weekend Shorts Competition will be evaluated by celebrity judges and top PGA producers, including:

Kathy Bates Jon Brence Gary Goetzman
Gary Lucchesi Lori McCreary Chris Moore

- Enter at Without A Box:


To see previous years' assignments and finalists:

- 2014 Make Your Mark Competition
- 2013 Weekend Shorts Competition