Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

July 06, 2017

The Great New York State Fair Announces New Drone Video Competition and Festival

National Competition Seeks Short Videos Created Using Drone Cameras

Competition and Festival Complements "Central NY Rising" – The Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

The Great New York State Fair is launching the state’s first-ever competition for videos created using cameras on drones.  Entries for the professionally-judged competition can be uploaded at the event’s site on through July 31.  Videos in eight categories, including a category for films featuring New York State, will compete for medals, with the winners in each of the categories eligible for the Best In Show prize of $250.

“Governor Cuomo’s investment in drone technology is creating a vital new industry in Upstate New York.  We believe this video competition and festival will highlight that investment and show the industry that New York is serious about becoming a major center for drone technology.  This competition and festival will also highlight the amazing creative work being done with drones,” said Troy Waffner, State Fair Acting Director.

Videos must be no longer than 5 minutes, except for the Corporate/Industrial category, where videos can be no longer than 10 minutes.  At least 50% of each video must have been shot using a drone or other unmanned aerial vehicle.  Creators can submit their videos in one of the following categories:

  • New York State Drones: Videos created completely in New York State
  • Narrative: A fiction or non-fiction story told using a drone
  • Landscape & Architecture: Amazing, beautiful scenes shot using drones
  • Showreel:  A compilation of clips from various drone-shot videos
  • Sports: Athletic activity and competition shot using drones
  • Healthcare:  Videos highlight how drones are being used to improve the delivery of health services
  • Corporate/Industrial/Business:  Videos that feature drones and the work they are doing
  • Student: Videos created by an enrolled high school or college student, on any subject.  Students may submit to any other category.

Entry fees are $20 for videos submitted to most categories. The student fee is $5. Entries in the Corporate/Industrial/Business category are $50.  Complete rules are available on the event website.

The competition is being managed by Michael Massurin, executive director of the Syracuse International Film Festival, on behalf of the Fair.  Massurin has assembled a long list of judges with professional expertise in film or technology, including:

  • Lisa Ford: Filmmaker, Professor at Tompkins Cortland Community College
  • Gary Ford: Filmmaker, Professor at Tompkins Cortland Community College
  • Becky Lane:  Award-winning filmmaker, Drone enthusiast, 360filmmaker, Founder of VisionLab360.  
  • Tim Skinner:  Department Coordinator/Assistant Professor for Communications and Media Arts at SUNY Broome Community College.
  • Ed Evans:  Journalist, Documentary Filmmaker, Author, Senior Instructor of Media at SUNY Broome Community College
  • Geoffrey Guerrero:  Founder and Executive Director of the Katra Film Series in NYC
  • Rob Englert:  Founder of Sphere Optics
  • Will Landry: President, NetworKings
  • Timothy A. Bennett:  Owner/President FunFlicks
  • Jason Detrani:  Professor and the Chairman of Communications and Media Arts at SUNY Broome Community College

The winning videos will be screened during the Fair at an evening ceremony in the Empire Theater of the Art & Home Center, where the Best In Show award will be announced.

Accelerating Central NY Rising

Today's announcement complements “Central NY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive plan to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 23 to September 4, 2017. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at

2017 Press Releases