New York State Fair Drone Film Festival

New York State Fair Drone Film Festival

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The Great New York State Fair's Drone Film Festival and Competition has opened for entries. This is the second year of the competition and festival, which highlights and complements the state's large investment in growing the unmanned aerial vehicle industry. The competition is open to all amateur, professional and corporate filmmakers who use video from drones in their work.  Rules, categories, and costs for the competition can be found on the event website at, where filmmakers will also upload their videos for consideration.  The drone competition complements Central NY Rising, the region's comprehensive strategy to grow the economy. Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are home to New York State's Drone Corridor, a 50-mile area devoted to cutting-edge research and development for the fast-growing drone industry.

Filmmakers can submit videos in eight categories:

  • New York State Drones, for films made only in New York State;
  • Narrative, in which drone video helps to tell a narrative story;
  • Landscape/Architecture, for videos highlighting beautiful or interesting scenes;
  • Showreel, in which drone videographers show highlights of their best work;
  • Sports, for videos about athletic action;
  • Student, for works created by high school or college students;
  • Corporate/Industrial/Business, for films that feature drones and/or the people who work with them; and
  • News, a new category this year, for videos in which drones contribute to coverage of a news story.


In addition, the competition includes a new category: Drone Photos, for still photographs taken by drones.

Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded in each category. The gold medal winners will also compete for the top prize, Best in Show. In addition, the Best in Show winner will also receive a DJI Phantom Pro 4 drone, provided by DJI. Winning videos will be screened at an evening ceremony in the Wegmans Art & Home Center's Empire Theater on Sunday, Aug. 26.

Last year's Best in Show video, Cargo Drones in Amazon: Behind the Scenes, presented the story of using an unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time to deliver medicine needed to save a snake bite victim deep into the Amazon rainforest.  Other gold medal videos presented new views of the Erie Canal, took viewers inside an expedition to Alaska, and showed the rugged beauty of Iceland.

The competition is managed by Michael Massurin, Managing Director Drone Films Fest. He oversees a team of experienced judges and industry leaders.  Entry fees for most categories are $25. Student entries are $5 and entries in the corporate category are $50.  Entries close July 15.  Most categories require that at least 50 percent of the film was shot using a drone or other unmanned aerial vehicle.