Official Rules


The Firsts That Last Film Festival (“Contest”) is offered by Visit NC, 150 Fayetteville Street, Suite 1200 Raleigh, NC 27601 (“Sponsor”). Sponsor would like to curate a collection of up to fifteen (15) documentary shorts about a first experience had by the filmmaker, or someone the filmmaker knows, while traveling in North Carolina (“True Story”). Individuals who wish to submit a film treatment of a True Story for consideration must agree to comply with these official rules (“Official Rules”) and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest.

To enter a Contest, individuals must be legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, and 18 years of age or older. Employees, officers and directors of Sponsor, its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, representatives, consultants, contractors, legal counsel, public relations, advertising and promotion agencies, fulfillment, website providers, web masters and anyone involved in the production or administration of the Contest (collectively, the “Contest Entities”), and any members of their immediate families (spouses, parents, siblings and children, and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) and those living in the same household, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter or win. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Between 08:00 am Eastern Time (“ET”) on August 30, 2021 and 11:59 pm ET on September 10, 2021 (“Submission Period”), to enter, visit and follow the directions provided to complete the submission form, which will include selecting one of the following regions in which your film takes place: the mountains, the Piedmont, or the coastal region (each, a “Region”), a director reel/portfolio (if you have one), and your True Story treatment for a film of 3-5 minutes in length in .PDF form (“Treatment”) (collectively, the “Entry”). If the Entry includes any individuals other than entrant, entrant must have permission from such individual(s) to submit the Entry and grant the rights herein. Entrant must be able to provide proof of such permissions in a form acceptable to Sponsor or, if requested by Sponsor and not provided by entrant, Entry will be disqualified.

There is no limit on the number of Entries an entrant can submit; however, each Entry must be substantially different than any other Entry submitted by that entrant, as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion, and an entrant can only be selected as a Finalist for one (1) Entry. Entrants must provide all required information requested on the submission form. Entries will not be returned. All Entries must be received by the end of the Submission Period to be eligible for that Contest. Proof of sending or submission will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Sponsor.

Entry Requirements:True Story must be true and verifiable. Entry must be in English and the original work of the entrant, and may not have been previously published, submitted in any other contest or award program and may not have won previous awards.

Entry may not contain, as determined by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, any content that:

  • is sexually explicit or suggestive; unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
  • promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing); promotes any activities that may be unsafe or dangerous; promotes any particular political agenda or message;
  • is obscene or offensive; endorses any form of hate or hate group;
  • appears to duplicate any other submitted Entries or has been submitted in any other Contest;  
  • defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about Sponsor, its products or services, or other people or companies;
  • contains trademarks, logos or trade dress owned by others, without permission, to the extent permission is necessary;
  • contains copyrighted materials owned by others (including sculptures, artwork, lyrics, or text), without permission, to the extent permission is necessary;
  • contains materials embodying the names, likenesses, voices, or other indicia identifying any person, including, without limitation, celebrities and/or other public or private figures, living or dead, without permission;
  • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which Sponsor wishes to associate; and/or
  • violates any law.

Sponsor reserves the right to allow for minor deviations from the Entry Requirements based on clear intent to comply with these Official Rules, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.  

Sponsor may disqualify an Entry if it determines, in its sole discretion, that the Entry fails to conform to these Official Rules in any way or otherwise contains unacceptable content.

All Entries: Sponsor and its designees, successors and assigns shall have the unrestricted and non-exclusive right to edit, adapt, publish, copy, display, perform, broadcast, modify, and/or otherwise use any or all Entry materials, alone or in combination with other material including but not limited to essays, photos and/or videos in any and all media, whether now known or later discovered (including, but not limited to, display on Sponsor’s websites, publication in print advertising and marketing materials for the Sponsor, social media and online travel website distribution and online highlighting of entries or winners of the Contest), in perpetuity, without restriction of any kind whatsoever, without further compensation to the entrant or anyone else.

Publicity Grant: Entry constitutes permission for Sponsor and its designees to use entrant’s name, biographical information, photo and/or likeness in any and all media, now or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity, for internal, advertising, Contest and other purposes without additional compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

Following the conclusion of the Submission Period, all eligible Entries received for each Region will be judged by one or more qualified judges based on the following equally weighted judging criteria: Presentation of Story Treatment, Emotional Impact, and Ability to Create Film Within the Restrictions (i.e., 3-5 minutes) (“Judging Criteria”). A minimum of two (2) Entries in each Region will be selected as “Finalists.” All decisions of the Sponsor and judges are final and binding. Sponsor will not reveal the judging scores for any Entry.

Potential Finalists will be notified via email by no later than September 22, 2021 and will be required to execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and, unless prohibited, Publicity Release within seven (7) days of date of issuance. In addition, Sponsor reserves the right to conduct a background check of any criminal or civil records of potential Finalist and disqualify the potential Finalist based on the results of the background check. To the extent necessary and as permitted by law, the potential Finalist shall authorize such a background check. Return of a notification as undeliverable, failure to sign and return requested documentation within the specified time period, failure of a potential Finalist to respond to the initial notification within the time period stated therein, the failure of potential Finalist to agree to a background check and/or pass a background check, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, or noncompliance with these Official Rules by potential Finalist may result in disqualification and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, a runner-up for the Region at issue may be notified.


  • Finalists agree to hand over all RAW media and post-production materials (including all agreements/releases) (“Post-Production Materials”) to Sponsor by no later than three (3) days post production wrap (“Post Production Delivery Date”). Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of Post Production and Final Film Delivery Payments (as defined below).
  • Finalist must deliver the final film (“Film”) as well as any additional post-production materials not included with the Post-Production Materials, such as additional releases for individuals or materials, such as music, included in the Film, to Sponsor by no later than fourteen (14) days post production wrap (“Final Film Delivery Date”). Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of the Final Film Delivery Payment.
  • Sponsor will work with each Finalist to book the production based on their Story Treatment.
  • Finalists will be allowed three (3) days to complete filming. Allowances and adjustments maybe made due to weather, at Sponsor’s discretion.
  • Production insurance and a COVID safety officer will be provided by Sponsor for each Finalist.
  • Finalists must follow all applicable federal, state and local laws, including, but not limited to, Federal drone rules, Sponsor’s Leave No Trace policies, and COVID protocols.   
  • Finalists will be required to collect all agreements/releases, including talent and location agreements, using the forms provided by Sponsor.
  • Any music included in the Film must be taken from the free music library or all necessary rights and permissions to use the music included in the Film must be obtained by Finalists and provided in a form acceptable to Sponsor.  
  • Finalists will have two (2) weeks immediately following production to edit their Films.
  • Films must be 3-5 minutes in length.
  • Finalists must follow specs by provided by Sponsor, which include:    
    • Codecs: H.264 and Apple ProRess 422
    • Resolutions Accepted: 1920 x 1080 or 3840 x 2160
    • Frame Rates: 23.98, 24, or 29.97
    • *Additional specs and outputs may be requested for the winning Film for national television placement.
  • Films will be held by Sponsor until release dates (which will be determined by Sponsor).
  • Films must comply with the Entry Requirements set forth above.

Grant of Rights to Films: Sponsor and its designees, successors and assigns shall have the unrestricted and non-exclusive right to edit, adapt, publish, copy, display, perform, broadcast, modify, and/or otherwise use any or all Films and any Post-Production Materials, alone or in combination with other material and in any and all media, whether now known or later discovered (including, but not limited to, display on Sponsor’s websites, publication in print advertising and marketing materials for the Sponsor, social media and online travel website distribution and online highlighting of a Film or the Finalists of the Contest), in perpetuity, without restriction of any kind whatsoever, without further compensation to the entrant or anyone else.

For the avoidance of doubt, Sponsor has no obligation to post any Film for voting and reserves the right to not share any Film or otherwise make use of the rights granted herein. 

Films will be posted online at a URL to be announced at a later date (“Voting Page”) for voting by the public. Individuals will have the opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite Film by the deadline stated on the Voting Page (“Voting Deadline”). To vote, voters must click the “Vote for this Film” button at the bottom of a Film. Limit one (1) vote per person per day for the entire Contest. Any votes received in excess of this stated limitation will be disqualified. Voting is subject to these Official Rules as well as any additional instructions that may be posted on the Voting Page (incorporated herein by reference). Finalists are prohibited from inducing or obtaining votes by any fraudulent or inappropriate means, including, without limitation, offering prizes, cash or other inducements to members of the public, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Use of script, macro or any device to automate voting, hiring outsourced vote-farming services, paying for votes, or engaging in any other conduct deemed inappropriate, disruptive or unsportsmanlike as determined by Sponsor in its discretion, is prohibited, and any Films or votes received through such means will be void. Votes from invalid, non-working, or inactive email addresses will be disqualified. Any attempt by any individual to submit or solicit more than the stated number of votes by using multiple/different email addresses, Facebook IDs, identities or any other method will void that person’s votes and Film (if any), and he/she may be disqualified from further voting and/or participation in any Contest. Number of votes for any Film will not be revealed.

The Finalist who submitted the Film with the highest number of valid votes, as determined by Sponsor, will be deemed the winner. If, for whatever reason, voting cannot continue as planned, Films will be judged by a panel of qualified judges to determine the winner using the following equally weighted criteria: Overall Story Quality, Emotional Impact, Inspiration to Travel to North Carolina, and Technique including Cinematography, Editing, Sound Design, and Color (“Film Judging Criteria”). In the event of a tie, a tie-breaker judge will judge the tied Films using the Film Judging Criteria to determine the winner. All decisions of the Sponsor and judges are final and binding. Sponsor will not reveal the judging scores for any Film.

Winner will be notified via email following conclusion of the voting period.

Grand Prize (1): Grand Prize will consist of: $30,000 check and Film may be aired on national television (exact details to be determined by Sponsor).

Finalist Prize (up to 15) (up to five (5) from each Region): The Finalist Prize will consist of: $25,000 (“Production Budget”), to be used to produce Story Treatment:

  • 50% of Production Budget (“Production Payment”) provided upon verification of Finalist status.
  • 25% of Production Budget (“Post Production Payment”) provided following upon timely delivery and Sponsor’s approval of Post-Production Materials.
  • 25% of Production Budget (“Final Film Delivery Payment”) provided following delivery of Film and verification by Sponsor of receipt of all requirement post-production materials.

Prizes are non-transferable. Any and all applicable federal, state, and local taxes and all fees and expenses related to acceptance and use of prize not specifically stated herein are the responsibility solely of winner. All prize details at Sponsor’s sole discretion.

By entering the Contest, entrant agrees to release and hold harmless the Contest Entities from any liability for injuries, losses or damages of any kind to persons, including personal injury or death, or property caused or resulting, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prize, Entry, or participation in the Contest, any Contest-related activity, or by acceptance or use of a prize (including any travel or activity-related thereto), or any claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, or merchandise delivery. Contest Entities are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, delayed, inaccurate, illegible, garbled, stolen or incomplete Entries, emails, votes, or communications of any kind; or for Entries or votes not received for any reason or for electronic transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alterations of Contest-related materials; or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware or software malfunctions or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive Entry or voting information by Sponsor on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof; or for any other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of Entries, the announcement of the prizes, the tabulation of votes, or in any Contest-related materials, including, but not limited to, the Contest Call-To-Action. Contest Entities are not responsible if any prize cannot be awarded due to cancellations, delays, or interruptions due to Acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters, weather, or terrorism. Contest Entities are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Contest Entities are not responsible for injury or damage to any person's computer or other device related to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading materials from or use of the Voting Page. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the Contest or Voting Page, who act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and all associated Entries and/or votes will be void.

By participating, entrant further agrees that: (i) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Contest, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually without resort to any form of class action; (ii) any claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Contest, but in no event attorney’s fees; and (iii) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than damages for actual out-of-pocket expenses.

Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same email address. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of an entrant, the authorized account holder of the email address used to enter will be deemed to be the entrant and must comply with these Official Rules. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet Access Provider, Online Service Provider, Internet Service Provider, or other organization (which may include an employer) responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Potential winners may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder. Entries specifying an invalid, non-working, or inactive email address will be disqualified and ineligible to win.

This Contest and these Official Rules shall be interpreted according to the substantive laws of the State of North Carolina without giving effect to the principles of conflicts of laws thereof.  Entrant and Sponsor hereby submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts having jurisdiction in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Neither Sponsor nor anyone acting on its behalf will enter into any communications with any entrant regarding this Contest, except as expressly set forth in these Official Rules.

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsor elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsor may award the prizes from among all non-suspect eligible Entries received up to time of such impairment as it deems fair and appropriate.

Information provided to Sponsor in connection with the Contest will be used in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, available at

All participants will be contacted via email after the Finalists and Winner have been chosen.


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