The Fifty Hour Film Contest is a make-a-film-in-a-weekend competition designed specifically for Vermont middle and high school students. Founded in 2005 by two Vermont high school digital arts teachers, Tom Preska and Jim Shields, the contest was envisioned as a fun way to bring top student film makers from around Vermont together to learn from and experience the work of their peers.
The event is open to all Vermont middle and high school students, and in recent years the contest has expanded to include students from Albany, New York. Competitions are held twice each school year. Participating schools are encouraged to open their video editing labs to students on the Sunday of the event. A premiere of the completed films is held at Essex Cinemas in Essex, Vermont, within 5-6 weeks after the filming weekend.