The 11th Annual Screenplay Competition is part of the 43rd Annual Atlanta Film Festival
Now approaching its 43rd year, the Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF)—an Academy Award®-qualifying festival—is the Southeast’s preeminent celebration of cinema and the flagship production of the Atlanta Film Society. One of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country, ATLFF showcases both emerging and established artists’ works. Recent festivals have seen audiences of over 28,000 film-lovers joining over 300 attending filmmakers in support of moving images that push the boundaries of independent cinema.
Every spring, our 10-day festival—recognized as the Best Film Festival by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10 Best, and Atlanta Magazine, as well as the Best Spring Festival by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—presents local and international works selected from over 7,600 submissions representing 50+ countries. ATLFF has been named a “Top 50 Festival Worth the Entry Fee” and one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker magazine.
The Atlanta Film Festival has a four decade long history of discovering and nurturing new filmmaking talent, having shown early works by Robert Rodriguez, Spike Lee, and Victor Nunez. The Screenplay Competition was founded in 2008 to expand this tradition by recognizing the foundation of the filmmaking art form.
The 2019 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is devoted to finding the best screenplays from around the world and offering their authors an opportunity for a once in a lifetime writing workshop and mentorship with professionals in the film industry.
Three feature film screenplays, one pilot screenplay, and one short film screenplay are chosen from submissions to take part in one-on-one mentorship meetings. Not only do they get notes on their winning screenplay, they also get to build lifelong relationships with industry professionals, and network with the diverse and experienced crowd of filmmakers and industry insiders that attend the Atlanta Film Festival every year.
Winners of the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition have gone on to be honored by the Black List, selected for the Sundance Directors’ Lab, sign with representation, option their winning scripts, and write/direct critically and commercially successful indie films.
Diana Ossana - Oscar Winning Screenwriter (Brokeback Mountain)
Kathryn Dean - Producer (Winter’s Bone, Hell or High Water, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
Michael Lucker - Screenwriter/Emory Professor (Vampire in Brooklyn, 101 Dalmatians 2, Mulan 2, Kronk’s New Groove, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron)
Kent Osborne - Head of Story (Adventure Time), Writer (Spongebob Squarepants), Voice Director (Steven Universe, Adventure Time)
Danny Manus - Former Development Executive (Sidney White), Founder No Bullscript Consulting
Diane Drake - Screenwriter, UCLA professor, and former VP of Creative Affairs at Mirage Enterprises (Only You, What Women Want)
Robin M. Henry - Screenwriter (Meet the Browns, House of Payne, East Los High), Producer (East Los High, Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History)
James Ponsoldt - Director (Smashed, The Spectacular Now, End of the Tour, The Circle), Writer (Smashed, The Circle)
**Notable Competition Alumni**
James Ponsoldt, 2008 Feature Screenplay Winner, went on to become a successful writer/director, helming projects such as: The Spectacular Now, The End of the Tour, and Smashed. His most recent film The Circle, starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Jon Boyega, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, followed by theatrical release.
Stella Meghie, 2011 Feature Screenplay Winner, went on to direct her winning script Jean of the Joneses which played at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2016. Her film Everything, Everything, starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, was released in theaters in 2017.
Mike Makowsky, 2016 Pilot Screenplay Winner, went on to become a Blacklist honoree. His feature film I Think We’re Alone Now premiered at Sundance in 2019 under the direction of Reed Morano (Meadowland, Cinematographer for Beyoncé: Lemonade, The Skeleton Twins, Kill Your Darlings) and starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning.
"What sets ATLFF apart is what makes Atlanta itself such a great city -- a sharp sense of humor, a warm sense of hospitality, and a taste for adventure. One of my favorite film festivals."
-Jonathan Mason, 2018 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Pilot Winner
“[The ATLFF Screenplay Competition] gave us the most valuable reward of all. Meetings with three outstanding mentors [...] Atlanta Film Festival provided airfare, lodging and meals for the weekend, so all we had to worry about was taking notes on how to improve our screenplays. We also participated in a table read with SAG/AFTRA actors to hear the words we had written interpreted by professional actors so we could see what was working and what wasn't. The experience was beyond invaluable.”
- Denise Meyers, 2017 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Feature Winner
"The screenplay retreat was a unique and immersive experience in that it not only provided specific unbiased insight into the world of my script, but also refreshingly candid knowledge about the world of the industry itself. The festival truly does a commendable job of nurturing diverse talent and offering the rare opportunity to workshop your material in a concentrated, safe, and fun environment with mentors who genuinely want you to put your best foot forward, both with your script and the industry at large."
- Melanie Schiele, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Feature Winner (2013 Slamdance Screenplay Competition Winner and 2017 NYU Purple List Honoree)
"The ATLFF was absolutely a career high. I was so honored to be a part of such a prestigious festival. From day 1, the staff and volunteers were professional, courteous, and encouraging towards my endeavors in screenwriting. The mentors chosen for the screenplay winners were kind, very knowledgeable of their craft, and accessible. I had a blast laughing, creating, and viewing all the wonderful talent throughout the festival. Thank you again ATLFF for such an uplifting experience!"
- Tonya Holloway, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Feature Winner
“This competition offers you what very few can, a personal and relaxed atmosphere to meet with professionals who are willing to take the time to not only get to know your writing but you as a person.”
-Wenonah Wilms, 2008 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Feature Winner
**Quarterfinalist, Semifinalists, and Finalists**
The ATLFF Screenplay Competition includes the top screenplay submissions in Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists, and Finalists lists. This practice is meant to honor those screenplays of merit that show promise and skill in the medium, but may not advance to the winning round.
**Pilot Screenplay and Short Film Screenplay Winners**
One winner will be chosen in the pilot and short film categories. These winners will receive a one-on-one consultation with an industry professional in their genre. For pilots, we provide consultation with an Atlanta writer working in either the television or web series industry. For short films, we provide consultation with a short film writer/director in the Atlanta area who has extensive experience with production and the festival circuit. These opportunities are designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script, discuss paths for jump starting or furthering their career, and develop a connection with someone who can serve as a mentor on future projects.
**Feature Screenplay Winners**
The three winners of the feature screenplay competition will be given the opportunity to participate in our annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriter’s Retreat. This exclusive, all expenses paid program, offers our winners the chance to sit down with industry members and workshop their screenplay one-on-one during a two day retreat. Our mentors are all screenwriters who have worked in the industry, had festival success with their work, and earned major academic qualifications. This workshop is one of our most lauded successes and gives our winners invaluable experience that will help bolster not only their current screenplay but their future work as well. (Travel is only guaranteed for winners in the US and Canada).
**All Screenplay Winners**
All winners will receive an All-Access Badge to the Atlanta Film Festival where they can network with directors and industry members from all over the world.
All winners will also have the opportunity to take part in a staged reading of their screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG actors, which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.
*Estimated value of Goods/Services: 2,500 U.S. Dollar
Before submitting, please read through all the rules and terms below. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to all of the following. All projects that have been submitted by our final deadline and that adhere to the following terms will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival.
If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ page at atlantafilmfestival.com.
The Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is open to any writer from anywhere in the world. However, the Atlanta Film Festival prides itself on highlighting the work of independent and emerging writers and filmmakers. Therefore, we prefer, but do not require, that our screenwriters have not had previous screenplays produced by non-independent companies or groups.
Submitted screenplays should not have been optioned, purchased, or otherwise produced at the time of submission. If your screenplay is optioned or purchased during the duration of the competition, please contact us immediately.
Writers can submit as many screenplays as they’d like to the competition. Each submission requires an application, payment and original screenplay.
We happily accept screenplays with more than one author or contributor. Please make note of each author’s name in your submission. Should a screenplay with two or more writers be named a winner of the competition, the award will be divided equally among them.
Screenplays should be formatted according to current industry standards. Pages must be numbered and typed in 12 point Courier font with standard margins. All entries must be submitted in English. Brief dialogue in another language is acceptable so long as an English translation is provided.
We do not have a rule regarding title pages. But it is recommended that include the title, author(s) and any relevant registration or copyright information.
Screenplays should be submitted only as a PDF. We WILL NOT accept Word .docs, Final Draft, Celtrix or any other file formats.
Screenplays MUST be submitted to the correct category. Any screenplay submitted to the wrong category (based on both genre and page count) is subject to disqualification.
All screenplays will reviewed by festival staff, but due to the high volume of submissions we will not be able to provide feedback on entries.
DEADLINES AND PRICES
The Deadlines for the 2019 Atlanta Screenplay Competitions are as follows:
Early Deadline: July 12th
Feature - $45
Pilot - $35
Short - $30
Georgia Screenplay - $20
Regular Deadline: September 27th
Feature - $55
Pilot - $45
Short - $40
Georgia Screenplay - $20
Late Deadline: October 25th
Feature - $65
Pilot - $55
Short - $50
Georgia Screenplay - $20
Extended Deadline: November 15th
Feature - $90
Pilot - $75
Short - $70
Georgia Screenplay - $20
Submissions without payment will not be considered. If the submitter fails to pay the submission fee associated with their deadline by 11:59 EDT, their submission fee will be increased to coincide with the new deadline. Any unpaid or partially paid submission at the time of submissions closing will be disqualified. Unsolicited screenplays sent by email or mail will not be considered.
REFUNDS AND REVISIONS
All screenplays are considered complete once the Programming Office receives them. No revisions or updated copies will be accepted. Please be sure to carefully review and edit your screenplay before submitting.
Once a project is listed “In Consideration” on FilmFreeway, we are unable to offer refunds for any reason, including (but not limited to):
Submission to the wrong category
Failure to pay the full submission fee by the final deadline
Failure to provide a PDF
Project’s failure to comply with submission Rules & Terms
Rejection from the festival
Change in Option or Production Status
Withdrawing your submission for any reason (including changes of heart)
Feature Screenplays can be between 40-130 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range will not be considered for the competition. We accept feature screenplays of any genre.
Pilot Screenplays can be between 10-70 pages in length. Upon submission, the writer must indicate the nature of the television screenplay: webisode, half-hour, hour, mini-series, comedy, drama, or any combination of the above.
Supplementary materials are not required for Pilot Screenplays. In addition, we cannot guarantee that any supplementary materials will be reviewed. However, you can include them in your submission packet or email them to email@example.com. Supplementary materials include, but are not limited to: concept summaries, character descriptions, and future episode summaries.
Short Film Screenplays can be between 5-40 pages in length. We accept short film screenplays of any genre.
Georgia Screenplays can be of any length or genre, but must be written by a writer currently resides in Georgia.
There is no separate prize for Georgia Screenplays. This category acts, instead, as a discount to Georgia based writers. Submitters to this category MUST designate the screenplay’s secondary category, either feature, pilot, or short film, in their submission information for award purposes.
If this category applies to your screenplay, you may obtain the password by emailing GA@atlantafilmfestival.com. If you submit in this category without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration and will not be issued a refund.
Quarterfinalist, Semifinalists, and Finalists - The ATLFF Screenplay Competition includes the top screenplay submissions in Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists, and Finalists lists. This practice is meant to honor those screenplays of merit that show promise and skill in the medium, but may not advance to the winning round.
The winners of the pilot and short film competitions will receive a one-on-one consultation with an industry professional in their genre. For pilots, we provide consultation with an Atlanta writer working in either the television or web series industry. For short films, we provide consultation with a short film writer/director in the Atlanta area who has extensive experience with production and the festival circuit. These opportunities are designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script, discuss paths for jump starting or furthering their career, and develop a connection with someone who can serve as a mentor on future projects.
The winners of the feature screenplay competition will be given the opportunity to participate in our annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriter’s Retreat. This exclusive, all expenses paid program offers our winners the chance to sit down with industry members and workshop their screenplay one-on-one during a two day retreat. Our mentors are all screenwriters who have worked in the industry, had festival success with their work, and earned major academic qualifications. This workshop is one of our most lauded successes and gives our winners invaluable experience that will help bolster not only their current screenplay but their future work as well.
All winners also receive an All Access Badge to the Atlanta Film Festival where they can network with directors and industry members from all over the world. At the festival, they will also have the opportunity to take part in a staged reading of their screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG actors which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.
All winners will have the opportunity to take part in a staged reading of their screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG actors which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.
*Estimated value of Goods/Services: 2,500 U.S. Dollar
Feature screenplays and television screenplays must be the original work of the writer(s). If the screenplay is based on another person’s life, writer(s) must also attach a signed statement acknowledging and approving of adaptation. A screenplay containing copyrighted ideas, characters, or storylines without the proper paperwork will be disqualified.
By submitting to the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition you are affirming the following:
That the screenplay being entered is the sole work of the writer or writers who in totality contributed 100% of the contents of the screenplay.
That for works written by more than one writer, all writers have agreed to submit the work for consideration.
That for works written by more than one writer, any collaborators no longer involved and not claiming copyright privileges over the material have relinquished their claim to copyright in writing, or electronically, proof of which can be provided.
That the screenwriter(s) has permission to use any work included in the screenplay that they have not written themselves.
The Atlanta Film Festival reserves the right to disqualify any screenplay at any time without refund, even after the competition has ended or prizes have been awarded, at the sole discretion of ATLFF staff.
If you have any questions, first check out our FAQ. If you still need more information, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org