Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

"It’s a perfect film festival in a glorious place." — Neil Gaiman, Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award Recipient
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Cinequest voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers.

The Cinequest Screenplay Competition empowers global screenwriters through discovery, recognition, and opportunity. 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: passes to the Cinequest Film & VR Festival and the exclusive Writers Celebration, plus exposure to leading industry players and inspiring luminaries.

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, Jason Reitman and more at the highly anticipated Writers Celebration during the Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

WRITERS CELEBRATION

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.

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR SCRIPT

Submissions accepted May 1 – November 3, 2017.
Withoutabox submissions accepted May 1 – November 3, 2017 (Extended)
Cinequest direct submissions accepted May 1 - October 13, 2017

See deadlines and fee schedule below.

FEATURE SCREENPLAYS

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, Verve, and Popular Films. (Rules and More Information)

“After the Cinequest Writers Celebration, an angel investor has swooped in and offered to finance my film. WorkingMan will begin immediate pre-production and will be shot next winter/early spring.  Thanks so much to everyone at Cinequest for opening doors to filmmakers and artists everywhere!” -- Robert Jury, Feature Finalist, WorkingMan

SHORT SCREENPLAYS

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 More Information)

“We had an incredible time at the festival, and are very much still in complete awe of the amazing response to the film…pretty much everything you’d ever want as a filmmaker. It was a very surreal experience.” -- Travis Neufeld, Shorts Winner, Tinwife (premiered at Cinequest in 2017)

TELEPLAYS (60 Minutes)

A $2,000 cash prize will be presented to the winning 60 minute teleplay and an opportunity to be read by some of today’s top television studios. (Rules and More Information)

"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, Teleplay Finalist, The Glass Hotel (optioned by HBO in 2016)

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 More Information)

“I loved the artist/writer events. It was a pleasure getting to speak with other finalists— writers who are so very creative, talented and diverse in outlook…The importance of Cinequest is that it brings us together, not despite our crazy aspirations as artists, but because of them… and best of all, their encouragement stokes the fire to keep us going.” -- Ada Lee Halofsky, Teleplay Winner, Throwing Shade

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Top 50 Notified in December 2017.
Top 10 & Top 3 Announced during Cinequest Media Launch and listed in Website – January 24, 2018.
Top 10 Finalists notifications sent week of January 23, 2017.
Winners Announced in March 2018 at Writers Celebration.

TESTIMONIALS

Click here for screenplay finalist testimonials.

2016-2017 SCREENWRITING COMPETITION WINNERS & FINALISTS

Please join us in celebrating this year’s winners and finalists!

FEATURE WINNERS & FINALISTS

WINNER: Rubbish by John Dilley & Seth Corr
2ND PLACE: WorkingMan by Robert Jury
3RD PLACE: Johnny Ace by Moon Molson

Firefall by Deirdre L. Brenner
Live, From The Milky Way by Joe Borriello
LP by Joey Perotti
Reset by Magnus Aspli & Robert Klecha
The Dancing Dodo by David Hyde
The Sculptor by Kris Lippert
The Things He Sees by Philip Buckley

SHORT-FILM WINNERS & FINALISTS

WINNER: Against the River by Dan Ritter
2ND PLACE: Flop by Nick Coleman
3RD PLACE: It Gets Heavier by Sam Davis

Anamnesis by McKegg Collins
Bug and the Fireflies by Rob Holland & Chi Laughlin
In Shadows by Cooper Justus
Isle by Lyndsay Sarah Doyle
Retirement by Beverly Smith-Dawson
The Give and Take by Anna Hopkins
The Lightkeeper by Zach Bandler

TELEPLAY 60-MINUTE WINNERS & FINALISTS

WINNER: Nightingale by AJ Bermudez
2ND PLACE: Company Town by Samantha Levenshus
3RD PLACE: Nevermore by Lilly Slaydon

Clandestine by Geoffrey Campbell
Dick by Jeffrey Hirschfield
Going Reno by Elizabeth Quinn
Portia's Law by Chad Callaghan & Hana Callaghan
Svarga by Chiara Farina
The Quarter by Jenna St. John
Thief Taker by Joanne Lau

TELEPLAY 30-MINUTE WINNERS & FINALISTS

WINNER: Throwing Shade by Ada Lee Halofsky
2ND PLACE: Isaac Newton Gifted by Bo Price
3RD PLACE: Department of Ghouls by Jeremy Dorfman

Badventist by Liz Rivera
Bushed by Robert Ramsey & Scott Sturgeon
Fix by Mariah Wilson
Madam Caraveil's Caravan of Curiousities by Amanda Keener
Shitty Millennials by David Koutsouridis
Talk Therapy by Thomas Moore
Wasteland for White Girls by Jake Morgan
What Would Jesus Do? by Samuel Bernstein

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