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Mar 15, 2014

Festival Association

Festival Association

Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition


The Nashville Film Festival is one of the top film fests in the U.S. Now, NaFF is opening the doors to screenwriters for film and TV. 24 categories! Winners in each category! Cash prizes in every category! Winning scripts are passed on to major studios and film execs. Semi-finalists and finalists earn festival laminates. Final deadline extended to 2/3/2014. Festival: 4/17 - 26.


The NaFF Screenwriting Competition offers more than $55,000 in cash and prizes, including NaFF Festival Laminates (worth $250 each) to semifinalists and finalists. 

Cash awards to winners:

  • Feature Drama $1,000; 
  • Feature Comedy $1,000;
  • Feature Action/Adventure $500; 
  • Feature Thriller/Horror $500; 
  • Feature Family Film $250; 
  • Feature Inspirational Film $250; 
  • Feature Animated Film $250; 
  • Feature Science Fiction $250, 
  • Feature Historical Film $250; 
  • Feature Music-Inspired $250;
  • Short Drama $250; 
  • Short Comedy $250; 
  • Short Action/Adventure $250; 
  • Short Thriller/Horror $250;
  • Short Family Film $250; 
  • Short Inspirational Film $250; 
  • Short Animated Film $250; 
  • Short Science Fiction $250; 
  • Short Historical Film $250; 
  • Short Music-Inspired $250; 
  • TV Drama Pilot $250; 
  • TV Comedy Pilot $250; 
  • Young Screenwriters $250;
  • Tennessee Feature Screenplay $500; 
  • Tennessee Short Screenplay $250. 
NaFF names a winner and runner-up in each category. Winners receive cash awards. Runners-up win an exclusive certificate award printed at Hatch Show Print. Semifinalists win a NaFF Silver Laminate, valued at $250. All finalists win two NaFF Silver Laminates worth $500.

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Feedback Type

Additional Fee Added to Entry

Feedback Type Description


1. Eligibility: The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) Screenwriting Competition accepts screenplays and teleplays that have not been previously sold or optioned.


2. Judges Decisions Final: Awards and selections of the NaFF Screenwriting jurors are final. Judges determine the overall merit of the entries using the official NaFF criteria.


3. Complete Works: NaFF considers all entries to be complete and will not accept any revisions or additional pages once the screenplay or teleplay has been submitted. Do not submit a script for a feature that is under 40 pages with a notice: "to be continued."


4. Multiple Categories: Entrants may submit the same entry to more than one category. Each category entered requires an entry fee for that category.


5. Not Optioned or Sold: Entries must not have been optioned or sold prior to April 17, 2014.


6. Copyright Protection: All entrants are encouraged to register their screenplays with the Writers' Guild of America, East or West:, or


7. Refunds: Submissions are final. NaFF does not offer refunds.


8. Exclusions: NaFF employees, including seasonal staff, board members, sponsors, and their immediate families, are not eligible to submit in any category.


9. Original: All entries must be original works by the applicant.


10. Co-Authors: If a screenplay has more than one author, it is up to the authors to decide how many authors to list on the application and who will be the primary contact e-mail.


11. Withdrawal from Categories: NaFF does not allow changes to the categories after submission. All submissions are final.


12. Multiple Scripts: Writers are more than welcome to submit as many different scripts as they would like to our competition, in as many different categories as they would like.


13. Multiple Authors Award Divisions: NaFF awards are made per entry, not per author. Therefore, groups of authors associated with one entry are responsible for the division of awards, including laminates. (Semifinalists win 1 NaFF Silver Laminate and Finalists win 2 NaFF Silver Laminates.) NaFF does not assume responsibility for arrangements with regard to laminate or cash divisions. NaFF will provide an exclusive Hatch Show Print award to each writer.

Format Rules


14. English: All entries must be submitted in English.


15 Formatting Standards: Please format your screenplay according to the sample screenplay reference on our website. MovieMagic Screenwriter, Final Draft, or Celtx are programs you may use. Use 12 point Courier font. Pages must be numbered.


16. Submissions: Only through our web-site as PDFs. No mailed or emailed entries are accepted


17. Pages:

  • Screenplays: 80 - 130 pages (approx.)
  • Short Film Scripts - 40 pages or less
  • Half-Hour Comedy Teleplay: 22-45 pages (Format for single camera. The sample on our web-site is an example.)
  • One-hour Drama Teleplay: 45-65 pages (approx.)

18. Title Page: Include title only on title page. The author's name should not appear on the title page or anywhere on the script, to preserve anonymity and fairness.


19. Author's Name: The author's name should not appear anywhere on the script. The name should only be provided on the entry form.


20. Not Accepted: novels, short stories, stage plays, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, scripts for existing TV series, work that is not original. 


The Judging


21. The Readings: In Round 1 and 2, the first 30 pages are read. Beginning with Round 3, each script is read completely.


22. The Judges: 

  • Round 1 & 2: Readers are selected, trained and tested according to NaFF Criteria.
  • Round 3: Industry pros, including professional screenwriters, literary agents and managers.  
  • Round 4: The NaFF Screenwriter Competition Jury of industry professionals, including producers, production executives, professional screenwriters, literary agents, and managers.

23. NaFFSC Criteria: 1-10 points in four categories: premise, story, character, dialogue. Premise: who & what the story is about, setting (where & when), primary action. Story: arrangement of events. Characters: distinctiveness, relationships. Dialogue: feel, sound, relationship to storyline.


24. The Rounds:

  • Round 1: The first 30 pages are read by two readers and judged pass/fail. Scripts that pass once are read by a third reader. Scripts that pass twice move on.
  • Round 2: The first 30 pages are read by two readers and judged on a 10-point scale on four criteria (premise, story, character and dialogue.) Scores are totaled. Top scripts in each category move on to the next round. Number moved forward: Feature & Short Comedy & Drama: top 20; Feature & Short Action & Thriller, top 10; all other categories: top 3 move directly to final round.
  • Round 3 Semifinals: Scripts are read in their entirety twice. Scores are totaled. The three top scores in each category move on to the Final Round.
  • Round 4 Finals: Each screenplay or teleplay is read by each juror for that category.

25. Disqualifications: Submissions are not disqualified for minor formatting errors (title page, software, length.)


26. Notifications: Each submission will receive a confirmation email once it is processed. We plan to post a list of advancing screenplays for the first three rounds on our web-site by late February. We plan to email finalists by late March.


27. Feedback: Constructive written analysis of submitted screenplays will be provided to all entrants. We plan to email all entrants with feeback by Mid-June.


28. Return Copies: We are unable to return scripts.


Young Screenwriter Competition


Young Screenwriters are subject to all NaFF Competition rules. To enter, applicant must be 19 or under on April 16, 2014. Young screenwriters are not to submit features. Only screenplays (40 or fewer pages) for short films are accepted. 


1.  When is the NaFFSC?

The NaFFSC closes for entries February 3, 2014. Events for screenwriters run concurrently with the Nashville Film Festival, April 17 - 26th, 2014.


2.  When and where are the awards announced? 

Awards are announced at the Nashville Film Festival Awards Ceremony, usually the final Thursday of the festival.


3.What events are planned for the screenwriters? 

Screenwriters with laminates who attend the Nashville Film Festival enjoy NaFF member benefits. In addition, there are dozens of NaFF- partner events at live music venues, bars, and restaurants with special benefits for screenwriters as well as several panel presentations for screenwriters.


4. Who are the jurors? 

The jurors are top-level film industry pros. See our web-site for our latest listing. Jurors are subject to change due to events outside of NaFF's control.


5. What networking opportunities are available? 

Numerous screenwriters and filmmakers from all over the world come to NaFF. It's one of the few great places to hang out with people in the industry.


6. Do Semifinalists win a pass? 

Yes. They win a NaFF Silver Laminate.


7. Do Finalists win a pass? 

Yes. They win two NaFF Silver Laminates. For descriptions of laminate benefits, see get-involved/become-member/.


8. What are the judges looking for? 

Overall merit of the entries, judged according to four categories: premise, story, character, and dialogue. See "NaFFSC Criteria" above.


9. Do you accept entries from outside the U.S.? 

Yes. All entries must be written in English, however.


10. What is the Nashville Film Festival? 

The Nashville Film Festival is an annual, ten-day extravaganza named one of "25 festivals worth the entry fee" by MovieMaker Magazine and voted one of the Top 5 Film Festivals in the U.S. by the Brooks Institute. Now in its 45th year, the Festival is proud to bring the world to Nashville through a celebration of the diversity of the human spirit expressed through the art of film.


11. When is the Nashville Film Festival? 

The 2014 Festival will be held April 17, 2014 - April 26, 2014.


12. Can I submit a script in multiple categories? 

Yes. Check off each category you would like to submit to on the application form and be sure to include an entry fee for each category.


13. What qualifies a script for the Tennessee Screenplay categories?

The writer must either have been born in Tennessee or currently reside in Tennessee. The entrant is responsible for the authenticity of this claim and any inquiry regarding that authenticity.


14. Are there qualifications for scripts in any of the genre categories?

We leave it up to the writers to choose the categories. No scripts will be disqualified based on category submission

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There are no judges bio linked to this contest.

Nashville Film Festival

The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) is an Academy Award Qualifying Festival.  At 45 years, it is one of the oldest and best in the U.S.  NaFF offers filmmakers and screenwriters nearly $100,000 in cash and prizes each year.


NaFF takes place from April 17 - 26 in Nashville.  Screening more than 250 films in 10 days, it's an amazing chance to network with filmmakers from around the world. NaFF is urban edge meets Southern charm.  Non-stop parties, meet 'n' greets, music-industry events, and workshops.


Contact Information

ISA Members save $10 off entry. Use entry form at to claim your discount.