Registration Fee ---


Top 50

Dec 20, 2019


Jan 20, 2020


Mar 15, 2020

Festival Association

Festival Association

Cinequest Screenwriting Competition


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 2019.
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.



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. 2019.

Top Ten Finalists (Feature, Short, Teleplays):

  • Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival 2020 Website (live on January 24, 2020).
  • 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 2018), 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.

« Back to Contests
MORE BY AUTHOR: Articles Podcasts Classes Contests
Looks like you are already a registered member!! please login to add comment. You will be redirected to login in 10 second(s) or click here to login
  • :

Feedback Type Description

Contestants will receive 3 lines of consolidated reader feedback on their script if requested.

Writers will be notified on their status in the competition via the email address provided at time of registration. Please include in your contact lists to receive these notifications. See below for selection process:

• Top 50 and Top 10 notified in December 2019. 
• Top 10 Finalists listed on Website end of January, 2020. 
• Top 3 and Winners Announced in the March 2020 Festival Awards Press Release.



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.


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.


ISA Members may use promo code ISA to receive a $5 discount on submissions online at

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

Christina Pamies' The Girl From Mars - Cinquest 2nd Rounder

The Girl From Mars, a family drama by Christina Pamies, qualified for the second round in the 2014 Cinquest Screenwriting Competition.
read more »

Christina Pamies' THE GIRL FROM MARS advances at Cinequest 2013-2014

Christina Pamies' THE GIRL FROM MARS advanced to the 2nd Round of the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition 2013-2014!  LONGLINE: Lena, a girl growing up on an isolated Mars colony, is devastated when her scientist...
read more »


After a semifinalist award in the Final Draft Big Break Contest, Bill Mitchell's screenplay A DISTANT CROSSING garnered a quarterfinalist placement in the 2014 Cinequest Screenplay Competion. The high energy, fast...
read more »

THE EXPERIENCERS by Kevin Taft places in the Top 10 of Cinequest Competion

The original pilot The Experiencers was a Top Ten finalist in the teleplay category of the Cinequest Screenwriting competition in 2015. The Experiencers is an ensemble thriller about a group of people in Los Angeles who meet in an alien abduction...
read more »

Julie Livingston's Self Help

Self Help, a single-camera comedy about an ambitious book editor who lies about her interest in Self Help to get a job with a famous relationship guru, finds success at competitions! It is a finalist at Cinequest in which winners will be announced...
read more »

"The Space Drifter" by Shaun M Jooste praised by Cinequest Judges

Even though the screenplay did not make it through to the finalist listings due to string competition, Shaun Jooste's script "The Space Drifter" was still received high praise from the judges: "Sci-fi is notorious for being...
read more »

NIR SHELTER is an award winning writer/director.

Over the last 7 years, Nir Shelter's projects have been officially selected in over 40 international competitions and festivals around the world, often achieving finalist status. Nir has won first place at The London Film Awards 2014, won second...
read more »

Mark William Moore Quarter Finalist 2015 Cinequest Screenwriting Comp.

Mark William Moore is a Quarter - Finalist in 2015 Cinequest Screenwriting Competition with two (2) of his feature dramas... 'I Am Champion' - the historical, true story of a slave turned boxing hero, and 'Only Make Believe' - about...
read more »

"Secret & Confidential" Quarter Finalist in Cinequest Screenwriting contest

"Secret & Confidedtial" has placed as a quarter finalist in the 2017 Cinequest Screenwriting Competition. This pilot has previously placed in the 2016 Launch Pad Pilots Competition and the 2015 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.
read more »

LUCY @ 2016 Cinequest Script Contest (Top 40)

LUCY script (English version) reached round of Top 40 @ Cinequest Screenwriting Competition (2016)  
read more »

The Exchange

In a future where most of the U.S. lives in poverty and relationships are transactional, a young woman survives by letting wealthy clients download into her body. But when her lover is murdered, she discovers that the technology that pays her bills...
read more »

ALPHA DOGS takes home 3 finalist awards in two years!

Since 2018, Joe Cataline's ALPHA DOGS, a children's action adventure animation Television Pilot, has brought home three Top Finalist awards (Cinequest, California Film Awards, & Creative Screenwriting Competition)!
read more »

MESCALERO - Cinequest, ScreenCraft and LA International Screenplay Contest!

Boyd's Western Adventure MESCALERO awaits further consideration as a Top 50 selection with the Cinequest Screenplay Competition and Finalist within the ScreenCraft Action & Adventure Contest. MESCALERO also finished as a Top 20 Finalist within...
read more »

Jeffrey Howe's drama FLAT RATE FRANK in feature top 10 at Cinequest

Jeffrey Howe's historical coming-of-age script, FLAT RATE FRANK was announced as one of the top ten finalists in the feature screenplay competition at this year's Cinequest screenwriting competition. He will be attending the event in San Jose, CA in...
read more »

Finalist at Cinequest

MICHAEL WANTS TO MARRY by Jennifer Bieser, was selected as a finalist in the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition.
read more »

There are no judges bio linked to this contest.