New York State Fair Launches Another Drone Film Festival and Competition


New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that 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, highlighting and complementing the state’s investment in growing the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry, says Cuomo. 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.

Specifically, says Cuomo, the drone competition complements Central NY Rising, a comprehensive strategy to grow the central New York region’s economy. Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are home to New York State’s Drone Corridor, a 50-mile area devoted to UAV research and development.

“We are building the unmanned aerial vehicle industry from the ground up in Upstate New York, with the goal of becoming a global hub in drone research and development,” Cuomo says. “This film festival and competition highlights our investment and draws attention to the amazing work being done with drones, while continuing the economic growth seen in central New York.”

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 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, which carries a $250 award. Winning videos will be screened at an evening ceremony in the Art & Home Center’s Empire Theater on Sunday, Aug. 26.

Acting New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner says, “Central New York’s rise as a major center of drone research and development is changing lives around the world, from agriculture to medicine to government and everything in between.  Our competition aims to highlight its importance in the arts while encouraging young people to consider careers in this fast-emerging industry.”

Last year’s Best in Show video, Cargo Drones in Amazon: Behind the Scenes, presented the story of using a UAV to deliver medicine needed to save a snake bite victim deep into the Amazon rainforest.

The competition is managed by Michael Massurin, executive director of the Syracuse International Film Festival. Entry fees for most categories are $25. Student entries are $5, and entries in the corporate category are $50. Most categories require that at least 50% of the film was shot using a drone. Entries close June 30.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from Aug. 22 to Sept. 3.

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