Cinequest Screenwriting Competition
"I think the most important thing about Cinequest is it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever come to a festival where my immediate reaction is, ’What do I have to do to be invited back?’ and that’s not normally my reaction. It’s a perfect film festival in a glorious place." — Neil Gaiman, Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award Recipient
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.
"Cinequest was thrilled to connect 2015 Competition Winner Stacie Shellner’s writing with an Executive Producer to produce her fabulous screenplay. Additionally, 2016 Competition Winner Jeremy Rush is having his winning script produced by The Solution Group and Netflix." — Halfdan Hussey (Cinequest Co-Founder & Director).
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)
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR SCRIPT
Submissions accepted June 1 – November 4, 2016.
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.
2015-2016 WINNERS & TOP TEN FINALISTS
WINNER: Wheelman by Jeremy Rush
2ND PLACE (TIED): Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous by Jay Natelle and Martyn Hobbs
2ND PLACE (TIED): Sardis the Merciful by Christian Thomas
3RD PLACE: Donaldina: Based on True Events in the Life of Donaldina Cameron by Carol Lee Hall
Crime Extraordinaire by Howard Fridkin
Diamonds in the Rough by George Mastrogiorgis
ECNESERP by Allison Phelan
Nothing to Do by Mike Kravinsky
Please Close the Gate by Rhys Wakefield
Ribbons by Brian Abrams
WINNER: Shiva by Vishnu Sekar
2ND PLACE: The Klawg by Rob Rex
3RD PLACE: Yours Always Death by Geoffrey Campell
Asymmetric ’Usury Maze’ by Ira Rosenblum
Entrenched by Joseph Chebatte
Funeral on Snake Island by Tyrell Mills
Geodesic Life by Laura Sophie Helbig
Season of Sacrifice by Nick Hatton Jones
The Amazing Luck of Aunt Carmela by Luis Miguel Arce Romero
The Joans’ Killer by Jimmy Kelly
TELEPLAY 60-MINUTE FINALISTS
WINNER: Brooklyn Bus by RJ Marx
2ND PLACE: Durango by Robert Brickman
3RD PLACE: Girl In Trouble by Alan Porter
Bayou City by David Harris
Gilded Cages by Trish MacEnulty
Six Counties by John Millikin
Star Power by Benjamin Hurvitz
Static by Keith Davidson
The Empress by Brennan Elizabeth Peters
The Last West by Lou Iovino and Evan Young
TELEPLAY 30-MINUTE FINALISTS
WINNER: Patient by M. Rowan Meyer
2ND PLACE: Heavenly Bonds by Laurelei Ballard
3RD PLACE: Earth On Heaven by Micah Paisner
Go Fork Yourself by Laurelei Ballard
Layover by Adam Toltzis
News/News by Lindsay Duke
Sawyer by Spencer Reed
Self Help by Julie Livingston
The All-American Mini-Mall by Buzz Belmondo
The Muffia Family by Esa Nurminen