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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: Angela Ostermeier, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.1/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Report Cards: 38    
Have you entered?
Please submit a Report card.

Objective

Cinequest voted Best Film Festival by USA Today Readers.

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. Show More

Deadline/Entry Fees

Deadline Date Entry Fee Days till Deadline
Early Bird July 12, 2019 $45 Features; $30 Short; $40 Teleplay (60min);$30 Teleplay (30min)
Regular September 20, 2019 $55 Features;$40 Short; $45 Teleplay (60min); $40 Teleplay (30min) 1
Late October 11, 2019 $65 features; $50 Short; $55 Teleplay (60min); $50 Teleplay (30min) 21
Extended November 1, 2019 $70 Features; $55 Shorts; $60 Teleplay (60min); $55 Teleplay (30min) 42

Notification: March 15, 2020.

Rules

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.

FEEDBACK & NOTIFICATIONS

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 screenplay@cinequest.org 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.

Awards

FEATURE-LENGTH SCRIPTS:

1st Place
(1) Receives $5000 USD cash prize. Winning script by more than one writer will have cash prize split evenly between members of the writing team. (2) Presented with an inscribed Crystal Award during Cinequest Film & VR Festival. (3) Amenities listed in Finalist sections.
Cash Award Value: 5,000 U.S. Dollar

Top Three Finalists
1) Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producers and writers (Jury will be announced in July 2019)
2) All of the amenities of the Top 10 Finalists

Top Ten Finalists
(1) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival website. (2) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) in printed Cinequest Film & VR Festival Guide (3) Invitation to Cinequest Film & VR Festival with two Artist festival passes (passes valued at $1,000). (4) Exclusive invitation to Writers Celebration (March 2020), which includes a BUSINESS OF WRITING FORUM, WRITER MEETS PRODUCER MIXER to connect with industry leaders, PITCH TRAINING & CHALLENGE to a panel of industry powerhouses, and an inspiring MAVERICK SPIRIT luminary event. (5) Special discounts and rates on accommodations during Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

SHORT FILM SCRIPTS:

1st Place
(1) Receives $1000 USD cash prize. Winning script by more than one writer will have cash prize split evenly between members of the writing team. (2) Presented with an inscribed Crystal Award during Cinequest Film & VR Festival. (3) Invitation to screen winning short at a future Cinequest Film & VR Festival. Film is limited to a 20-minute run time (maximum). Cinequest is not responsible for the production of the film. (4) Amenities listed in Finalist sections.
Cash Award Value: 1,000 U.S. Dollar

Top Three Finalists
1) Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producers and writers (Jury will be announced in July 2019)
2) All of the amenities of the Top 10 Finalists

Top Ten Finalists
(1) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival website. (2) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) in printed Cinequest Film & VR Festival Guide (3) Invitation to 2020 Cinequest Film & VR Festival with two Artist festival passes (passes valued at $1,000). (4) Exclusive invitation to Writers Celebration (March 2020), which includes a BUSINESS OF WRITING FORUM, WRITER MEETS PRODUCER MIXER to connect with industry leaders, PITCH TRAINING & CHALLENGE to a panel of industry powerhouses, and an inspiring MAVERICK SPIRIT luminary event. (5) Special discounts and rates on accommodations during Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

TELEPLAYS (60 MINUTES):

1st Place
(1) Receives $1,000 USD cash prize. Winning script by more than one writer will have cash prize split evenly between members of the writing team. (2) Presented with an inscribed Crystal Award during Cinequest Film & VR Festival. (3) Amenities listed in Finalist sections.
Cash Award Value: 1,000 U.S. Dollar

Top Three Finalists
1) Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producers and writers (Jury will be announced in July 2019)
2) All of the amenities of the Top 10 Finalists

Top Ten Finalists
(1) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival website. (2) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) in printed Cinequest Film & VR Festival Guide (3) Invitation to 2020 Cinequest Film & VR Festival with two Artist festival passes (passes valued at $1,000). (4) Exclusive invitation to Writers Celebration (March 2020), which includes a BUSINESS OF WRITING FORUM, WRITER MEETS PRODUCER MIXER to connect with industry leaders, PITCH TRAINING & CHALLENGE to a panel of industry powerhouses, and an inspiring MAVERICK SPIRIT luminary event. (5) Special discounts and rates on accommodations during Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

TELEPLAYS (30 MINUTES):

1st Place
(1) Receives $1000 USD cash prize. Winning script by more than one writer will have cash prize split evenly between members of the writing team. (2) Presented with an inscribed Crystal Award during Cinequest Film & VR Festival. (3) Amenities listed in Finalist sections.
Cash Award Value: 1,000 U.S. Dollar

2nd Place
1) Opportunity to have script read by top level industry producers and writers (Jury will be announced in July 2019)
2) All of the amenities of the Top 10 Finalists

Top 10 Finalists
(1) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) on Writers Celebration event page on Cinequest Film & VR Festival website. (2) Recognition (script title, genre and tagline) in printed Cinequest Film & VR Festival Guide (3) Invitation to 2019 Cinequest Film & VR Festival with two Artist festival passes (passes valued at $1,000). (4) Exclusive invitation to Writers Celebration (March 2020), which includes a BUSINESS OF WRITING FORUM, WRITER MEETS PRODUCER MIXER to connect with industry leaders, PITCH TRAINING & CHALLENGE to a panel of industry powerhouses, and an inspiriting MAVERICK SPIRIT luminary event. (5) Special discounts and rates on accommodations during Cinequest Film & VR Festival.

Cinequest Screenwriting Competition

Contact

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

Web: Click here
Email: screenplay@cinequest.org

Contact: Angela Ostermeier, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.1/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Report Cards: 38    
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: Angela Ostermeier, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.1/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Report Cards: 38    
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: Angela Ostermeier, Screenwriting Competition Coordinator

Report Card

Overall: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars (4.1/5.0)
Feedback: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Signficance: 4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars4.5 stars (4.3/5.0)
Report Cards: 38    
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

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