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Program Description

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.

Finalists will be honored during the Cinequest Writers Celebration, a day filled with a dynamic collection of Writer Meet Producer events, Business of Writing forums, Pitch Training, VIP Writers Lunch, and an awards ceremony announcing the winners of the competition.

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

Top 50 and Top 10 Notified in December 2020.
Top 10 Finalists listed on Website January 22nd, 2021.
Top 3 and Winners Announced in March 2021 at Script to Screen Event and in the Festival Awards Press Release.

 

Deadlines and Fees

Early
July 09, 2021
Regular
Sept. 17, 2021
Late
Oct. 08, 2021
Extended
Nov. 05, 2021
Final
Nov. 30, 2021
Category 1
Standard Fee
$45
$55
$65
$70
$100
$40
$50
$60
$65
$95
Category 3
Standard Fee
$30
$40
$50
$55
$85
$25
$35
$45
$50
$80
Category 12
Standard Fee
$30
$40
$50
$55
$85
$25
$35
$45
$50
$80
Category 13
Standard Fee
$40
$45
$55
$50
$90
$35
$40
$50
$45
$85

Program Benefits

Feature-Length Winner

  • $5000 Cash Prize. The winning script by more than one writer will have the prize split evenly among members of the writing team.
  • Presentation of an inscribed Crystal Award during Writers Celebration.
  • Amenities listed above for Finalists.
  • InkTip Prize membership package to help promote your script.

Short Film Winner

  • $1,000 cash prize. A winning script by more than one writer will have the prize split evenly among members of the writing team.
  • Presentation of an inscribed Crystal Award during Writers Celebration.
  • Option to screen winning short film at future Cinequest Film & VR Festival (runtime no longer than 20 minutes and must be independently produced, Cinequest is not responsible for production).
  • Amenities listed above for Finalists. 

Teleplays (60 minute) Winner

  • $1,000 cash prize. A winning script by more than one writer will have the prize split evenly among members of the writing team.
  • Presentation of an inscribed Crystal Award during Writers Celebration.
  • Amenities listed above for Finalists.

Teleplays (30 minute) Winner

  • $1,000 cash prize. A winning script by more than one writer will have the prize split evenly among members of the writing team.
  • Presentation of an inscribed Crystal Award during Writers Celebration.
  • Amenities listed above for Finalists.

Top Three Finalists (Feature, Short, Teleplays):

  • Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producer and writers. Jury will be announced in Sept. 2020.

Top Ten Finalists (Feature, Short, Teleplays):

  • Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival 2021 Website (live on January 24, 2021).
  • Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) in printed Cinequest Film & VR Festival Guide
  • Invitation to Cinequest Film & VR Festival with two (2) Artist festival passes (passes valued at $1,000).
  • Participate in Writers Celebration (March 2021), which includes:
    • Pitch Sessions
    • Business of Writing Forums
    • Industry Mixer for Finalists, producers, executives, and special guests.
    • Maverick Spirit Event & Competition Awards Ceremony (past Maverick Spirit honorees: J. J. Abrams, Neil Gaiman, Lawrence Kasdan, Denise Lehane, Jason Reitman and more).
    • Special discounts and rates on hotel accommodations.

Announcement Dates

Top 50

Jan. 03, 2022

Finalists

Jan. 30, 2022

Winners

Mar. 21, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

ISA Members may use promo code ISA to receive a $5 discount on submissions online at https://cinequest.org/screenplay_submissions

Promo code valid May 1 - October 11, midnight PST.

Rules

SCRIPT FORMAT

All genres accepted. Especially seeking drama, comedy, thriller/mystery, action, drama, sci-fi, action, bio-pic, rom-com, horror, and highly original material.

Script must be submitted in English and must be properly formatted according to industry standards.

Length (not including title page): 
• Feature-Length Scripts must be between 70 -125 pages 
• Short Film Scripts must be 40 pages or fewer 
• Teleplays (60 minute) must be between 45-70 pages 
• Teleplays (30 minute) must be 45 pages or fewer

Only PDFs will be accepted for submission. Printed scripts are not accepted.

Script must be properly formatted according to industry standards.

Please include ONLY your script’s title on the cover page so that readers may remain unbiased in their decisions. Your FilmFreeway tracking number will automatically be assigned to your uploaded script.

Maintain your full contact information in your FilmFreeway registration. Do not include any contact information on your submitted script.

RESTRICTIONS

Once the entry is received no rewritten/corrected pages will be accepted.

Submission fees are collected by FilmFreeway. Cinequest does not accept payment by cash, check, or money order. There is no entry fee refund for any scripts submitted.

Winning scripts by more than one writer will have the prize split evenly between members of the writing team.

Any script that becomes purchased, optioned, goes into production, or is produced before the final Jury decision on February 19, 2020, will be eliminated from the competition with no entry fee refund. Scripts written as adaptations of other works must have secured rights before being submitted.

Contact Information

screenplay@cinequest.org

410 S. First St.

CA, San Jose

95113

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