Papaya Young Directors is a one-of-a-kind competition for young filmmakers in Europe that facilitates direct access to the world of professional filmmaking. It is organized by Papaya Films – a top Polish production company with offices in Warsaw, London, Lisbon, and New York.

If you think you’ve got a story to tell, then visit the Papaya Young Directors website:

Papaya Young Directors creates a unique opportunity for young filmmakers — opening the door to the industry for creative talents. Thanks to the competition’s Main Partners, the contestants get the chance to make a film for a big international brand with a basic budget coverage, learn from the film, music and commercial experts and get access to a wide networking hub.

The whole initiative is driven by a mission to create an inclusive network for creators. Papaya Young Directors is able to do so thanks to the support of the Main Partners. The briefs they provide are the starting points for each young talent to make their film. And by talents we do not mean just directors—the organizers advice their contestants to team up in duos where screenwriters and copywriters can work alongside aspiring directors.

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This year the organizers decided to add a new subcategory to the competition. Women’s Stories/Vertical Stories by Facebook is a place where the talents may narrate the story of one of three partnering charitable trusts focused on girls and women.

And for the third time Papaya Young Directors introduces a Music Stories category. This year contestants will be choosing from a variety of different music genres: from folk, through dance and pop to alternative sounds. They are free to pick from the songs and styles presented in the creative starters. 

Submissions open on February 15th.

About the submission process
To apply you must be: 20–35 years of age and a submission of your idea in the form of a director’s treatment inspired by any given Main Partner’s brand brief or music shared by the artists (for music videos). Filmmakers can take part in three categories:

  • BRANDED STORIES for commercials ad branded content
  • MUSIC STORIES for music videos
  • VERTICAL STORIES by Facebook with additional subcategory WOMEN STORIES – videos made in 9x16format

The submission window for this year is Feb. 15, 2021 - March 14, 2021. Applications can be submitted individually or by two people working together. According to the contest rules, an individual or two-person team may submit no more than two entries per brand (regardless of category) and a maximum of two ideas in the Music Stories category. For the past seven years Papaya Young Directors has been searching for new directors, but this year the competition has opened up to more talents – with a closer look on editors, composers, set designers, production managers, animators and others.

The authors of the best treatments (containing script, photo references, characters and location description) are chosen by the jury and invited to participate in further stages of the competition – the workshop stage and the shooting board stage.

The finalists are then given their budget to shoot their film. The films are judged by a jury consisting of a couple dozen creative directors, copywriters, cinematographers and directors. Alongside a budget to shoot their films, they provide the finalists with a list of companies that support: equipment rentals, post-production studios, as well as professional filmmakers who are willing to help the finalists - cinematographers, set designers, costume designers, production managers, stunts and composers.

The premiere screening of the films, as well as the award ceremony will take place during The Final Gala in June 2021. The prize pool is 25 000 EURO.

Throughout the seven editions of the competition, PYD has gathered over 40 different bands as their Main Partners (brands such as H&M, Durex, IKEA, Mastercard, Coca-Cola and DPD among others). A few dozen new filmmakers have been introduced to the industry, many of which are now working on feature films, various commercial campaigns and music videos for various musical talents around the world. The organizers have received over 5000 submissions, and over 100 films have been made.

On top of that, Papaya Young Directors produces podcasts, video content, organizes workshops and live sessions about filmmaking, production and music industry.

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