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.



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 January 2020.
Top 10 Finalists listed on Website January 22nd, 2020.
Top 3 and Winners Announced in March 2020 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 finalists!


FIRST PLACE - Mica by Ilisa Aaron Parrish

SECOND PLACE - Splashdown by Don Stroud

THIRD PLACE - Ship of Lies by William Colella

Astrea by Clarissa Vokt

A Family Affair by Tim Bartell

Conquist by Dirk Strasser

Desenescence by Ali Weinstein

Misfortune Cookies by Don Stroud

The Hammer by Jason Hunter

The Tao Of Chao by Emile Hirsch


FIRST PLACE - Invisible Monster by Matt Harris-Freeth

SECOND PLACE - Page Turner by Marc Roussel

THIRD PLACE - I, Sphere by Andrew Gay

Babirusa by Debra Hill

Blind Man Bounty by Shiva Ramanathan

Divinity by Nelson Downend

Love-Love by Sabrina Hofkin

Recurse by Lucas Vossoughi

Second Acts by Travis Viera-Liden

Zero by Jared Smith


FIRST PLACE - Gemini Baby by Janalyn Steele

SECOND PLACE - Fix by Jeff Bower

THIRD PLACE - The Divinity Cycle by Nelson Downend

Apache by Cameron Barsanti

Macabre by Kelly Krause

Space Captain Smith by Bruce Hanson and John Palfery-Smith

Tears of the Angels by Charles Musser

The Father by Johnny Pickavance

X by Christian Canterbury

Zero Sum by Matthew OConnell


FIRST PLACE - Gentrifried by Edward Coffey

SECOND PLACE - Unplugged: Assemble The Trolls by Adam Toltzis

THIRD PLACE - Ultra/Violet by Jennifer Mondfrans

The Great Gay Hope by JB Berg

Beadwindow by Paul Mooney

Cheap Thrills by Jaime Osnato

Going Viral - Pilot by Jordan Pick

Savior by William Horace

The Last Abortion Clinic in Kansas by Tammy Caplan

The Paw Firm by Brady Guy and Jonathan Giles

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