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Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Contact

San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 638-0644 (voice)

Web: Click here
Email: screenplay@cinequest.org

Contact: Antonea Colon, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.4/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Report Cards: 33    
Have you entered?
Please submit a Report card.

Objective

Cinequest voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers.

Submissions open May 1st, 2017!

The Cinequest Screenwriting Competition continues to empower 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: All Access passes to the Cinequest Film & VR 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 & VR Festival.

WRITERS CELEBRATION

Celebrating the Screenplay Competition’s Top 10 Finalists, the electrifying Writers Celebration occurs during the Cinequest Film & VR Festival (February 27 - March 11, 2018) 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.

FEATURES

A $5000 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.

“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

SHORTS

Our short-film script category continues to attract a diverse international pool with a $1000 cash prize and future screening opportunity at Cinequest Film & VR Festival for the winning script.

“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 $1000 cash prize will be presented to the winning 60 minute teleplay. Finalists will also get their teleplay read by experts from companies like FX Network, ABC Signature Studios, and PBS.

"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! $1000 cash prize to the winner.

“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

Deadline/Entry Fees

Expired. Previous Deadline: 11/03/2017

WinningScripts Pro $5 Off Coupon

Notification: Finalists will be notified December 2017. Winners revealed at Writers Celebration during Cinequest Film Festival, February 27-March 11, 2018.

Rules

SUBMISSION FORMAT
  • All genres are accepted. Especially seeking drama, comedy, thriller/mystery, sci-fi, and highly original material.
  • Contestants from all countries are eligible.
  • Screenplays must be submitted in English.
  • Length (not including title page):
    • Feature-length screenplays must be between 70 -125 pages
    • Short Film screenplays must be 20 pages or less
    • Teleplay (60 minute) must be between 45-70 pages (approx. 1 hour show)
    • Teleplay (30 minute) scripts should be 45 pages or less
  • Any script over the indicated page limit will have automatic point(s) deducted. Maximum points achievable are 50 per round.
  • Script must be properly formatted according to industry standards.
  • Digital submissions in PDF format only.
  • Title Page Instructions:
    • Withoutabox Submission: Please include ONLY your script title on your title page so that readers may remain unbiased in their decisions. You tracking number will automatically be assigned to your uploaded script.
    • Cinequest Website Submissions: Please include ONLY your script title and tracking number on your title page so that readers may remain unbiased in their decisions. Your tracking number is automatically assigned once you complete the registration and payment process. You will be able to update your script file before submitting.
  • Rewritten/corrected pages WILL NOT be accepted once the entry has been received.
RESTRICTIONS
  • There are no entry fee refunds.
  • Script must not have been previously optioned, purchased, in production or produced. Any script that becomes purchased, optioned, or put into production before the Final Jury decision of February 19, 2018 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.
PAYMENT OPTIONS
  • ONLY Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit and debit cards accepted for submission payment.
  • Please DO NOT send cash or checks.

FEEDBACK & NOTIFICATIONS

All contestants will receive 2-3 lines of generalized feedback for improvement on their script. Full script coverage services are not available at this time.

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

  • Top 50 notified in December 2017
  • Top 10 notified and Invited to Cinequest Film & VR Festival in December 2017
  • Top 10 & Top 3 announced at Cinequest Media Launch and listed on website – January 24, 2018
  • Winners announced at Cinequest's Writers Celebration in March 2018

Awards

PRIZES Top Three Finalists (Feature, Short, Teleplays):
  • Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producer and writers. Jury will be announced in June 2017.
Top Ten Finalists (Feature, Short, Teleplays):
  • Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival 2018 Website (live on January 24, 2018).
  • 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.
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.

Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Contact

San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 638-0644 (voice)

Web: Click here
Email: screenplay@cinequest.org

Contact: Antonea Colon, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.4/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Report Cards: 33    
Have you entered?
Please submit a Report card.

Contest Comments

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Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Contact

San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 638-0644 (voice)

Web: Click here
Email: screenplay@cinequest.org

Contact: Antonea Colon, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.4/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Report Cards: 33    
Have you entered?
Please submit a Report card.

Contest News

Cinequest Names 2017 Winners and Finalists

Rubbish by John Dilley & Seth Corr has been named the Feature Screenplay Winner of the 2017 Cinequest Screenwriting Competition.

Updated: 04/24/2017

Cinequest Names Contest Winners

Wheelman by Jeremy Rush has been named the Feature Script Winner of the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition. Shiva by Vishnu Sekar won the Short Script Competition, and the TV Script Winners were Brooklyn Bus by RJ Marx (60-minutes) and Patient by M. Rowan Meyer (30-minutes).

Updated: 05/16/2016

Cinequest Names Contest Winners

Saint Chloe by Stacie Shellner (Feature), The Yard by Eugenie Carabatsoshas (Short), and Awareness by Sean Corrigan (Teleplay) have been named the winners of the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition for 2014-2015.

Updated: 03/12/2015

CineQuest Announces Screenplay Competition Winners

Breathe has been named the winner of the 2014 CineQuest Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Travis Neufeld's The Tinwife was the winner of the Short Screenplay Competition.

Updated: 05/15/2014

Cinequest Announces Screenwriting Contest Winners

Cinequest has announce that The Imperfect Cell, Mister Dunbury’s Exotic Lunatic Caravan, and Marcus were the winners of the Cinequest 14 Screenwriting Competition.

Updated: 04/14/2004

Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Contact

San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 638-0644 (voice)

Web: Click here
Email: screenplay@cinequest.org

Contact: Antonea Colon, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.4/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.2/5.0)
Report Cards: 33    
Have you entered?
Please submit a Report card.

Interviews

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter A. J. Bermudez

An interview with screenwriter A. J. Bermudez regarding the Cinequest Writing Competition.


A. J. Bermudez
Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: NIGHTINGALE is a one-hour drama that follows a rising star surgeon, Joseph (Jose) Reyes, who has ascended from abject poverty to the height of the medical profession. When the ill-fated surgery of a New York senator costs him his medical license, he returns to the dark, crime-ridden neighborhood of his past, only to find a new outlet for his skill set: as resident surgeon for the brutal gangs of inner Baltimore.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: From the onset, Cinequest struck me as a creatively innovative, forward-looking film festival. I’d been drawn to their VR component (purely as a fan) after producing some writing for a VR-focused visual artist at Art Basel this past year. As a writer, I was also attracted to the festival’s phenomenal awards alumni roster (Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, J.J. Abrams, etc.), all individuals whose work I’ve admired since I was a kid.

I’m fairly new to the festival and competition scene, but before winning Cinequest, the script was a finalist in the WeScreenplay TV Competition, and received a diversity award nom from Fresh Voices.

Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: The Cinequest staff was surreally fantastic. Antonea and the whole crew took excellent care of all the writers involved, both before and during the festival. To answer the latter question, yes, the award check was given out instantly and did not bounce (nor did the crystal award).

Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?

A: The story concept, which centers on a mixed race, Ivy League educated protagonist with a complex past, was inspired in part by my husband, the very talented actor Joshua Bermudez, so that element of the script had been simmering for years. I completed the screenplay after moving to LA, but at that point the story was aching to be written down, so it happened pretty quickly.

The script has undergone a handful of iterations, but the tone, themes, and arc have remained consistent from the first draft. At the time, I had never outlined a script before (though I did run it up against the classic industry “beat sheet” and was pleased to find that it checked out). Before I was hired to write my first feature - in which case I contractually had to write an outline if I wanted to get paid - I had totally underestimated the value of outlining. I’ve realized since that there’s really no other way (and no glamor to eschewing organization).

Some indispensable advice from filmmaker friends Dana Nachman, John Burd, and Dana Sorman (and Ruth Miller, who is hands-down the best non-union proofreader in the industry) yielded a gorgeous new draft at the beginning of the year.

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: I feel like I’m sort of obligated to plug Final Draft here, but they really are the best. The only other writing software I use is Daiso spiral notebooks and Pilot V5 pens.

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

A: I think it’s important for a writer to write virtually constantly (you are what you do and all that), but honestly, I find the reverse to be nearly as valuable. I write six days a week, but I also try to find plenty of time for reading: scripts, essays, the news, books. My bedside table looks like a Jenga tower. As important as it is to produce good content, it’s also essential to take in good content.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?

A: Everyone gets writer’s block. It’s like a drummer getting callouses or an offensive lineman getting concussions. But in my experience, getting past the myth that it’s only possible to write well when you’re “inspired” is a major weapon against writer’s block. And whenever I can, I get out of town to write - Los Angeles is the perfect place for writers to live, but it’s also a breeding ground for demons. Of course, the main idea is to kill the distractions and cultivate self-discipline, which you don’t have to drive all the way to Baja to do. Though if we’re being honest, the best way to deal with writer’s block is an ocean view and two ounces of Oban.

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: I cut my teeth playwriting on the east coast, then converted to screenwriting when I moved west. There are also a lot of unusual jobs in my past, from working as an EMT to boxing to music to working with refugees while living in Moscow. All of these experiences have helped to shape my work, which tends to skew dark, playful, language-driven, and diverse.

I currently have a feature in pre-production, and a couple other scripts in earlier phases of development. Meanwhile, Nightingale is still up for grabs and getting some positive buzz, so I’m excited to see where that goes.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: I currently live in Los Angeles. It’s mad fun (and a virtual necessity for a writer), but I’ll know I’ve really made it when I can just take Skype meetings from an undisclosed location.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: Absolutely. I’ve got a couple of TV projects in the works as well as a new feature, a professional sports-centric family drama. (Incidentally, if anyone has a +1 insider pass for any west coast NFL games this season, please contact me.) I’ve also been dabbling in literary writing across multiple genres, and am hoping to find a solid rep here in LA.

Overall, it’s an exciting time. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Posted Friday, May 5, 2017