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 & Creativity 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 & Creativity Festival.


Celebrating the Screenplay Competition's Top 10 Finalists, the electrifying Writers Celebration occurs during the Cinequest Film & Creativity 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.



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. This year the jury will include executives from Netflix, HBO, CBS, Vimeo, Music Box Films, Film Movement, Bond 360 and Women Make Movies. (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


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 $1,000 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


Top 50 and Top 10 Notified in December 2018.
Top 10 Finalists listed on Website January 23rd, 2019.
Top 3 and Winners Announced in March 2019 at Script to Screen Event and in the Festival Awards Press Release.


Click here for screenplay finalist testimonials.


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


WINNER: The Exchange by Jeff Meyers

2ND PLACE: Lenore by Goldie Jones

3RD PLACE: A Prospect of Death by Ash Corristine

In Burton's Shadow by Michael Selditch

Tug by Eli Elbogen

Petrova by Bec Peniston-Bird

Daruma by Kelli McNeil

Pride & President by John Pisano-Thomsen

Speak English by Kieran Angelini

Unidentified Minor by Shannon Walsh


WINNER: Bone Music by Jessica Leonard

2ND PLACE: The Plague Doctor by Jon Mennella

3RD PLACE: Cambodian Lullaby by Anthony Nelson

Cicada by Curtis Matzke

Crossing Dreams by Diego Rojas

Dope Mister Dee by Juliet DeVette

Arthur Summerfield by Alvin Easter

What Goes Up by Jeannette Savage

Protection by Lara Haynes Freed

Strong by Jean Lee


WINNER: The Hunt by Jonathan Redding

2ND PLACE: Pen by Jean Ansolabehere

3RD PLACE: Burning Alive by Garrett Oakley

End of Life by Sean Collins-Smith

Bluebirds by Simon Wilkinson

Between the Eyes by Gregory Levy

Tall Tales by Alex Wilson

Powerball by Fredrik Colting

Yellow by Zara Meerza

Loose Canon by Jennifer Bouani & Jacqueline Schumann


WINNER: Going Under by Harold Schmidt

2ND PLACE: The Trials of Alison by Kyle Art

3RD PLACE: Spider Lane's Rock Logic by Deborah Pearl

Holy Unexpected by Samantha Levenshus

Cloudland by Kincaid Walker

The Assistant by Nicole Rodrigues & Jordan Burbank

Ryders by Brian Koonce & Elizabeth Jordan

To Eddie, From Life by Eddie Mauldin

The Bitch From Season 3 by Carmen Angelica

Alpha Dogs by Joe Cataline

Thank you to our generous sponsors!