Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

"It’s a perfect film festival in a glorious place." — Neil Gaiman, Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award Recipient

Please sign up so you can be the first to know when submissions are open.

Cinequest voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers.

The Cinequest Screenwriting Competition continues to empower global screenwriters through discovery, recognition, opportunity, and cash prizes. Cinequest loves writers, and we welcome you to submit your screenplay or teleplay to our renowned competition. The Top 10 Finalists receive many empowering benefits including: VIP All Access passes to the Cinequest Film & VR Festival and exclusive Writers Celebration, plus exposure to leading industry players and inspiring luminaries.

"I was thrilled when Cinequest selected my pilot script as a finalist for the teleplay competition. Writers need all the support they can get and Cinequest gave it in abundance. Not only at the festival, with conferences and events for the writers, but long afterwards, when you’re back at the desk and find an email from one of the devoted people at Cinequest in your box. When they get behind you, they stay behind you and continue to do everything they can to help push your project forward."
— Matthew Dixon, 2015 Teleplay Finalists, THE GLASS HOTEL (optioned by HBO in 2016)

Finalists are presented alongside high profile Maverick Spirit awardees like J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, Philip Kaufman, Michael Arndt, Diablo Cody, Dennis Lehane, and more at the highly anticipated Writers Celebration during the Cinequest Film & VR Festival.


Celebrating the Screenplay Competition’s Top 10 Finalists, the electrifying Writers Celebration occurs during the Cinequest Film & VR Festival and includes opportunities for writers to connect with producers and enhance their careers, networks, and opportunities. Writers Celebration events will include:

  • Business of Writing Forum
  • Writer Meets Producer Mixer to connect with industry leaders
  • Pitch Training with expert pitch coaches
  • Pitch Challenge to a panel of industry powerhouses
  • An inspiring Maverick Spirit luminary event (past honorees: J. J. Abrams, Neil Gaiman, Lawrence Kasdan, Dennis Lehane, and more)


Submissions are currently closed. Submissions will open next Spring for Cinequest Film & VR Festival 2018.


A $5,000 cash prize will be presented to the winning feature-length script. Finalists will also get their scripts read by industry professionals. Previous industry readers have included: ICM Partners, Lions Gate Films, Happy Madison Productions, Entertainment One, XYZ Films, First Light Films, Lupovitz Productions, Echo Lake Entertainment, and Popular Films. (Rules and Information)


Our short-film script category continues to attract a diverse international pool with a $1,000 cash prize and a future screening opportunity at Cinequest Film & VR Festival for the winning script. (Rules and Information)

TELEPLAYS (60 Minutes)

A $1,000 cash prize will be presented to the winning 60 minute teleplay. Finalists will also get their teleplay read by experts from companies like FX Network and PBS. (Rules and Information)

TELEPLAYS (30 Minutes)

Our 30 minute teleplay category offers writers a chance to showcase what could be the next hit series on TV! $1,000 cash prize to the winner. (Rules and Information)


Quarter Finalists notifications sent in December 2016.
Semi-Finalists notifications sent in January 2017.
Top 10 Finalists notifications sent week of January 23, 2017.
Winners announced during Writers Celebration (TBD Date) at the Cinequest Film & VR Festival, February 28 - March 12, 2017.


Click here for screenplay finalist testimonials.



Firefall by Deirdre L. Brenner
Johnny Ace by Moon Molson
Live, From The Milky Way by Joe Borriello
LP by Joey Perotti
Reset by Magnus Aspli
Rubbish by John Dilley
The Dancing Dodo by David Hyde
The Sculptor by Kris Lippert
The Things He Sees by Philip Buckley
WorkingMan by Robert Jury


Against the River by Dan Ritter
Anamnesis by McKegg Collins
Bug and the Fireflies by Rob Holland & Chi Laughlin
Flop by Nick Coleman
In Shadows by Cooper Justus
Isle by Lyndsay Sarah Doyle
It Gets Heavier by Sam Davis
Retirement by Beverly Smith-Dawson
The Give and Take by Anna Hopkins
The Lightkeeper by Zach Bandler


Clandestine by Geoffrey Campbell
Company Town by Samantha Levenshus
Dick by Jeffrey Hirschfield
Going Reno by Elizabeth Quinn
Nevermore by Lilly Slaydon
Nightingale by AJ Bermudez
Portia's Law by Chad Callaghan & Hana Callaghan
Svarga by Chiara Farina
The Quarter by Jenna St. John
Thief Taker by Joanne Lau


Badventist by Liz Rivera
Bushed by Robert Ramsey & Scott Sturgeon
Department of Ghouls by Jeremy Dorfman
Fix by Mariah Wilson
Isaac Newton Gifted by Bo Price
Madam Caraveil's Caravan of Curiousities by Amanda Keener
Shitty Millennials by David Koutsouridis
Talk Therapy by Thomas Moore
Throwing Shade by Ada Lee Halofsky
Wasteland for White Girls by Jake Morgan
What Would Jesus Do? by Samuel Bernstein

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