The Star Wars Fan Film Awards 2016 are now fully operational. Lucasfilm's annual contest - in which fans make their own short films based on the stories and characters of a galaxy far, far away - is officially open! Visit StarWars.com's Star Wars Fan Film Awards page to download a sound asset pack of official Star Wars sounds, view helpful Do's and Don'ts, and more to get started and make your Star Wars masterpiece. Submissions are open through April 24, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. PT, and entrants will have the chance to win a Fett-worthy bounty: an award plus a Star Wars Prize Pack consisting of Star Wars-themed merchandise and more.

The Star Wars Fan Film Awards welcome films of varying genres, styles, and tones; award categories include Filmmaker Select, Best Animation, Best Non-Fiction, Spirit of Fandom, Best Comedy, Best Visual Effects, and Audience Choice, and winners will be announced in a special ceremony at Star Wars Celebration 2016, which is being held at the Excel London Exhibition Centre between July 15-17. In addition, the Star Wars Fan Film Awards are open to more filmmakers than ever before, including residents age 13+ from the US and District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), as well as residents 18+ of the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams sent out a new video today announcing that submissions are now open, which also includes footage from previous winners of the Star Wars Fan Film Awards.

The Star Wars Fan Film Awards page's Do's and Dont's page offers a few tips for this fan filmmakers. The films should be no longer than five minutes in length, and filmmakers cannot use any sound materials that aren't from the official assets pack. Fans who are under the age of 18 in the U.S. or Canada must get a permission form from a parent or legal guardian to enter the contest. While fans are encouraged to be original, they can't use third party materials protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights.

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The Star Wars Fan Film Awards were launched by LucasFilm in 2002, and were held every year until its official cancellation in 2012, the same year Disney purchased LucasFilm for $4 billion. The contest was brought back to life in 2014, but now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a global blockbuster, this year's awards could be bigger than ever. Winners will receive a prize pack that includes a commemorative trophy, limited edition signed Star Wars concept art and Star Wars merchandise.

While the judges haven't been announced yet, they will grade each film based on six different aspects. The criteria include "A clear grasp of animation and/or filmmaking as an art form (17%)," "Quality of storytelling (17%)," "Character development and character design (17%)," "Voiceover and acting talent (17%)," "Originality (17%)" and "Overall entertainment value (15%)." Take a look at J.J. Abrams' video below, and visit the Star Wars Fan Film Awards page to sign in and download the official assets pack. Will you be entering a film in the Star Wars Fan Film Awards?