Upcoming Screenwriting Festivals in 2023

As we are slowly wrapping the year of 2022, you might be wondering what are the screenwriting festivals that will take place next year. 

The good news is that there are plenty of interesting screenwriting festivals taking place in 2023 in various places over the globe. 

In this article we will take a look at the upcoming screenwriting festivals for the year 2023.

The most notable film festivals for 2023 are the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition and the Austin Film Festival.

Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition

The Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition (ATLFF) accepts features, documentaries, pilots, shorts and short documentaries.

It has been running for 47 years and is an Academy Award-Qualifying Festival (Oscar Qualifying). What does that mean?

It’s a very important qualification since every short film that has ever won an Oscar was first a winner in a festival that is part of a list the Academy has greenlit. 

Out of 7,000 film festivals in the world, only 63 have Oscar-qualifying accreditation. And Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is an Oscar-Qualifying festival.

Almost 30,000 people attend the Atlanta Film Festival. 

Screenplays submitted to the competition come from over 50 different countries. 

It’s worthy to note that Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition was named a “Top 50 Festivals Worth Entry Fee” and one of the “Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine and USAToday’s. 

James Ponsoldt won in 2008 with his feature and went on to become a successful writer/director. His credits are: The Spectacular Now, The End of the Tour and Smashed

Stella Meghie won in 2011 and directed a movie that played at the festival a few years later. Her credits include: Everything, Everything with Amandla Stenber and The Photograph starring Issa Rae.

The Deadline to enter The Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is November 17, 2022.

Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival is known by everyone in the industry. It’s a big deal. In fact, the pilot friends of mine wrote is currently placing high in the festival. It’s really exciting to see that happening since it’s not only a super legit competition, it’s also a really cool festival to attend.

The Austin Film Festival has been up and running for almost thirty years. It’s one of those few festivals that has gone on to change the winning writers’ careers. 

Additionally, all who enter the competition receive discounts to attend the festival. During the festival, the writers get access to over 175 panels specifically geared towards screenwriting and filmmaking, roundtables, pitch sessions and workshops. 

The deadline for the Austin Film Festival starts in March 2023 and the festival usually takes place in October of the same year. 

Script Pipeline First Look Project

You most likely have heard of Script Pipeline. It’s a great festival aiming to discover new voices in Hollywood with high-concept marketable projects that can either be Features or TV pilots.

The winner gets a piece of the $15,000 divided between several categories. 

It’s important to note that Script Pipeline First Look Project is supported by BelleVue Productions, QC Entertainment, Zero Gravity Management and Destro Films. All big production and management companies. 

Script Pipeline is a great opportunity not only to get your script produced but also to sign with a prestigious management company. 

According to the festival’s statistics, the writers of Script Pipeline have sold for over 8 million dollars in movies and TV pilots since 1999.

A couple of years ago, Legendary bought the finalist screenplay Bring Me Back by Crosby Selander for over a million dollars. Script Pipeline finalists have optioned screenplays, sold shows, or were staffed on streaming and network series. 

The deadline to enter the Script Pipeline First Look Project is October 30, 2022.

Shore Scripts 

Shore Scripts grants $15,000 in cash to its winner. Short films are commissioned every season. It’s a great festival to get financing for your script and to get into production.

According to their website, there are over a hundred success stories from Shore Scripts winners and finalists.  

Shore Scripts Writers have gone to work on Netflix, ABC, AMC, Syfy, 20th Century, Amazon Studios and many more.

Most of their mentors are Emmy-Nominees or Oscar-Nominees. Since connections are crucial in this industry, that is a valuable asset of Shore Scripts.

The deadline to enter Shore Scripts starts in May, 2023. The Winners are usually announced in December.

Los Angeles Crime and Horror Film Festival

As the name indicates, this festival takes place in Los Angeles, California. It’s an incredible festival for high quality crime and horror screenplays, including mystery, psychological horror and other sub-genres. 

Additionally, it is worth noting that this festival is IMDb qualifying and the results can be posted officially on your IMDB page. 

It’s amazing to see a competition put such an emphasis on screenwriting as an art. They truly want to see horror writers shine!

The deadline is fast approaching: October 29, 2022

Screencraft Horror Screenwriting Competition

As I’m sure you know, ScreenCraft is an institution. Everyone knows and loves this competition. IndieWire even describes it as the best for horror.

Screencraft’s Horror competition has an amazingly scary jury, featuring showrunner Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) and screenwriter Guy Busick (Scream 5) to name a few.

It’s a truly phenomenal way to get your horror script noticed and potentially produced.

Every writer that ends in the finale, will be invited to an exclusive Finalists workshop on how you can best position yourself and your writing to the industry. Additionally, the finalists  also receive a free membership to The Tracking Board, an awesome online ressource for filmmakers.

The Deadline to enter ScreenCraft Horror Screenwriting Competition is October 31, 2022 – a great deadline for a horror competition!

San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition

An extremely prestigious competition taking place in San Francisco and created by a group of true film lovers. Their goal is to support serious writers who see their craft  as  a job versus only a hobby.

It’s worthy to note that the San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition is the only international competition in the Bay Area.

This competition awards its winners with consultation packages from another one of my very favorite resources: Roadmap Writers. These consultations include one-on-ones with talent managers and production execs. 

The grand prize winner will receive an hour consultation and script notes from Roadmap Writer and the winner also receives notes from the competition’s jury. 

The Deadline to enter the San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition is November 9, 2022. 

Table Read My Screenplay Competition

Table Read My Screenplay Competition is an amazing competition where your screenplay gets read aloud by actors live. Additionally, the winner gets $6,000 in cash.

Through a professional table read, the winner gains valuable notes from established working directors and trained actors. 

If you’re unsure about the  value of a table read, I suggest you read this article on the subject.

Table reads are a fantastic way to see an audience’s response to your words, characters, dialogue lines and stories. It’s one of the coolest things you can do as a writer and if you haven’t yet, you should sincerely consider hosting your own table read.

The deadline for Table Read My Screenplay Competition is November 10th, 2022.

BlueCat Screenplay Competition

The BlueCat Screenplay Competition has discovered talented voices for over 25 years.

They accept features, TV pilots and short film scripts. 

When you submit your script to BlueCat you get a detailed read and a well written analysis for no extra fee (that’s quite rare, let me tell you!)

And that’s not it… there’s also a cash award of $7,500 for the Grand Prize Winner. Additional cash prizes are given to different genres. 

Some of the winners are Amy Wang (Crazy Rich Asians), Ben Philippe (Only Murders in the Building), Kimi Howl Lee ($ugar) and many more. 

The Deadline to enter the BlueCat Screenplay Competition is October 30, 2022.

Vail Film Festival

The Vail Film Festival is a screenwriting festival where the scripts are read and selected by judges from leading Hollywood Studios, production companies and management companies. Some of these high level companies include Cold Iron Pictures, Anonymous Content, Warner Brothers and many more. 

The festival accepts feature screenplays, short screenplays and TV pilots. 

The winner, finalist and semi-finalist will get featured in a national press release announcing the festival’s winners and their screenplays will be recommended to producers and managers for a specific period of time. A pretty cool perk if you ask me! 

Those perks are also very valuable given that the Vail Film Festival is an independent film festival that takes place annually in Vail, Colorado. It usually runs in December of each year and has been successful since 2004. 

The deadline for the Vail Film Festival is October 21, 2022.

Now that you know about these 10 great screenwriting festivals happening next year, it’s time to get writing to hit those deadlines 🙂 Best of luck with your application!

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