The Golden Lion Awards was an idea first brought to light when Ann Brinkmann – a high school film/media teacher – was approached by one of her students, Katie Price, with the idea of hosting an annual film festival. Together, the two planned and launched the event at Ursuline Academy in April 2007 to an intimate audience with a handful of participating schools.

In 2017, the Golden Lion Awards became an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Based in Cincinnati, the film festival opened to students in the 12 Midwest states (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) as well as areas within 500 miles of Cincinnati including parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Deleware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

In 2018, the Golden Lion Awards High School Film Festival merged with the Academy of Cinematic Arts, a Christian, arts/education nonprofit that is committed to helping students discover their stories through digital storytelling as well as providing youth with educational programming, competition, award recognition, social experiences, and a sense of community. Together, our mission is to educate students in the cinematic arts, empowering them to contribute to and effect change in a world where moving images have the potential to change lives.