Eastman Kodak Scholarships

Leader in Film Development Targets Film Students

George Eastman was an American inventor born in 1854 who turned his hobby of photography into world leadership in the film sales and processing business. Although Eastman dropped out of school when he was thirteen, his continued work as an amateur photographer taught him everything he needed to devise a process that did not rely on wet chemicals, but used first dry plates, then paper, and finally film to capture images.

The use of transparent film, sold on rolls that fit into an end user’s camera, permitted amateur photographers to develop their own pictures. Eastman started selling the portable Kodak camera in 1888, which came loaded with film. The consumer sent the camera containing the used film back to the factory, and the developed pictures and reloaded camera were returned by mail. The Eastman Kodak Company was founded in 1892, and incorporated into the Dow Jones Industrial Average index in 1930.

Competition from manufacturers in post-war Japan, and later China, cut into Eastman Kodak’s share of the consumer photography market. Apple’s 1994 digital camera, the QuickTake, was designed by Eastman Kodak, but Eastman Kodak never achieved the same dominance in digital sales that it had achieved previously. Eastman Kodak stopped selling cameras in 2004, and is cutting back on the types of film it manufactures, since many consumers no longer use that product.

kodak scholarships

Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January of 2012, in an effort to keep the company alive while completing the transition to digital. The company is currently shedding lines of business, pension obligations, and employees as part of its reorganization, but the information posted on its website about scholarships appears below. The fate of the company, and the scholarship program, is of course uncertain.

KODAK Student Scholarship Program

The KODAK Student Scholarship Program consists of two awards given to students, the KODAK Student Scholarship Award and the KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Award. There are separate requirements for entry, and you may download both entry forms from Kodak’s website.

Both undergraduates and graduate students are eligible, but your college or university’s film program must nominate you. Winning entries are shown at the annual University Film & Video Association (UFVA) conference.

KODAK Student Scholarship Award

The KODAK Student Scholarship Award is an excellent opportunity, combining money for tuition (the Scholarship Tuition Award) and money to produce a film (the KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant). Here are the award amounts:

  • Gold: $4,000 tuition, $5,000 grant
  • Silver: $3,000 tuition, $4,000 grant
  • Bronze: $2,000 tuition, $3,000 grant.

There will be three judges: a Kodak employee, a judge from the UFVA, and someone involved in the filmmaking industry. Your entry will be judged on not only the film you enter, which must be a completed product and not a vignette or short, but also your academic achievement. You’ll need to display exceptional creative and technical skill, the ability to communicate your concept effectively, and breadth of filmmaking experience.

Kodak calls this competition the Excellence in the Craft of Filmmaking Category. Here is the scoring breakdown:

  • Visual imagery, 50%
  • Creative and technical skills, 25%
  • Criteria described above, 25%.

The competition is international, so bring your best work.

KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Award

The KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Award, in the Excellence in the Craft of Cinematography Category, has two rankings and the same type of monetary awards as the Student Scholarship:

  • First Place: $3,000 tuition, $5,000 grant for filmmaking. Your work, which must fit the same description as what you submit for the Student Scholarship, will be judged on your cinematography skills and nothing else.
  • Honourable Mention: $1,500 tuition, $3,000 grant,

If you excel at filmmaking rather than in academics, this is the award nomination at which you should aim. Both applications must be accompanied by every item on this checklist, so be prepared:

  • Nomination from your school
  • DVD of your work, which will be a full treatment rather than a clip or vignette
  • Reference letter from a teacher
  • One-page resume focusing on your film experience, and
  • Information about you and your education to date.

Even more alluring than the UFVA screening of winners’ films is the screening given at the annual International Short Film Festival, held in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Kodak presents the winning entries as the Kodak Showcase of Student Films, and the importance to your future film career of securing a spot in this highly competitive international event cannot be overstated.


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