BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival is a celebration of the beauty of storytelling through short films and screenplays. We pride ourselves in offering the sweetest Southern hospitality we can muster alongside stimulating workshops taught by Hollywood screenwriters who relish sharing their experience with you. In our first few years we've welcomed talented artists behind Batman Forever, Pompeii, Encino Man, Drumline, Steel Magnolias, and more.

Our festival takes place in the heart of North Carolina. With many opportunities for veteran and newly-minted creatives to exchange ideas and celebrate the magic of filmmaking. Our friendly audiences offer an engaged community that’s passionate about the arts and excited to experience films from talented folks like you.

We host both written screenplay and short film competitions (works under 30 minutes). Submissions are open to short films in all genres. With no theme criteria this year, tell your most interesting story in the genre you choose. We also explore foundational aspects of the filmmaking process with workshops and artist networking opportunities over four days.

Screen your work in one of the nation’s fastest-growing hotbeds of artistic talent. The Cary Theater is a restored historic cinema located in the quaint downtown of Cary, N.C. We strive to offer filmmakers and patrons an experience that’s beyond the ordinary festival. All activities and accommodations take place within walking distance of the theater. Enjoy filmmaker receptions at the nearby craft brewery voted among the nation’s best. Relax on your hotel’s rocking chair front porch and stroll over to workshops and impromptu gatherings at wineries, restaurants and parks nearby. Make your festival stay a fun vacation, a terrific learning experience, and an opportunity to meet new friends.

We’re eager to welcome films and screenplays from across the globe to find their place at BEYOND, October 7-10th, right here in the heart of the Tar Heel State.

Each official selection will be given:
• Two (2) VIP Passes to attend screenings and events
• BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival laurels
• Special hotel rates for filmmakers at the boutique inn one block from our theater
• Audience Choice award (The Bradford)
• And more!

• Each official selection will receive laurels
• The grand-jury winning script will receive a table read at the film festival
• The Festival will assist with transportation to bring the screenwriter to the festival
• The grand-jury winning script writer will get two (2) VIP Passes to attend screenings and events
• and more!

All films must have been completed after January 1, 2019. This will be strictly enforced.

BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival:
• Reserves the right to refuse films depicting excessive nudity and/or gore
• Holds no responsibility for lost films
• Does not pay screening fees
• Accepts films that have screened at other festivals and venues, however we love premieres! Please let us know if your film will be a premiere screening if accepted.
• Does not accept rough cuts
• Does not accept DVD's
• Stipulates that the filmmaker is responsible for clearing all rights to content of the film
• Will be granted the right (by the filmmaker/applicant) to use excerpts from the film including audio, video, names and images to promote the festival
• Will contact all filmmakers with acceptance or non-acceptance information
• Will provide submittal instructions for exhibition copies to accepted filmmakers

All entries must be accompanied by a brief synopsis and/or artist statement.

Applicant admits that he/she is authorized to submit the film, being the sole rights-holder or authorized representative thereof.

All screenplays must have been completed after January 1, 2019. This will be strictly enforced.

BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival:
• reserves the right to refuse screenplays depicting excessive nudity and/or gore
• holds no responsibility for lost scripts
• requires that screenplays should not have been optioned, purchased or produced at the time of submission
• accepts screenplays with multiple authors
• will be granted the right (by the applicant) to use excerpts from the screenplay to promote the festival
• will contact all screenwriters with acceptance or non-acceptance information

All entries must be accompanied by a brief synopsis and/or artist statement.

When submitting, please DO NOT include writer’s name on the cover page.

Top, bottom and right margins = 1". The left margin = 1.5". The entire document should be single-spaced, typed in 12 point Courier font. Page numbers in the upper right-hand corner.

Applicant stipulates that he/she is authorized to submit the screenplay, being the sole rights-holder or authorized representative thereof.

I (the entrant) have read and agree to all BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival rules and procedures. Further, I warrant that I am the owner of the submission; I have not infringed upon or violated any copyright, privacy rights, or publicity or similar rights; I have obtained all rights, licenses, or necessary permissions thereto; to the fullest extent permitted by Laws and Regulations, Filmmaker shall indemnify and hold harmless the Town, its officers and employees, from and against all claims, costs, civil penalties, fines, losses, and damages (including but not limited to professionals’ fees and charges and all court or other dispute resolution costs), by whomsoever brought or alleged, arising out of, resulting from, or in connection with (a) any breach by Filmmaker of any term or condition of Contract, (b) any breach or violation by Filmmaker of any applicable Law or Regulation, or (c) any other cause resulting from any act or failure to act by Filmmaker under this Contract, but only to the extent cause by any negligence or omission of Filmmaker. This indemnification shall survive the termination of Contract.

Neither party shall discriminate on any prohibited basis.

Overall Rating
  • Tom White

    Love Beyond and the wonderful people of Cary NC that Make it possible. Communication was great and on point, even in the middle of a pandemic. I definitely recommend them to all interested.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words. We were delighted to have your work featured this year. We hope to see more of your work in the future.
    The Staff at The Cary Theater

  • It was such an honor to be able to screen our work at this great festival. The communication and hospitality were top-tier, and even though everything with 2020 made things go virtual, it was still presented wonderfully. The filmmaker gifts sent by mail was such a nice and unexpected touch, too, and really meant a lot to me. I will definitely be submitting again and again, and hope to be able to be a part of this great festival live once the world gets back to normal!

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for the feedback! Despite the fact that our festival was virtual, it is good to hear that you had a good experience. We aim to support all filmmakers. We hope to see new works from you in the future.
    The Staff at The Cary Theater

  • JP Snell

    I was thrilled, honored, and humbled to have our short film 'FREE' accepted to BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival.
    The Festival was great, written communication with the Festival was clear, concise, timely, and it was a great experience. I also attended a tremendous virtual workshop on screenwriting hosted by Joy Goodwin and Ron Stacker Thompson. Both brought great insights into the creative process and the industry of Film and Television.
    I look forward to submitting future projects to the BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival, and hopefully, I can continue to engage with and contribute to the local film community.

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for sharing. Good to hear that you enjoyed the Screenwriting Masterclass. Please continue to engage with us. Hope to see you next year!
    The Cary Theater

  • We want to sincerely thank Joy, the Town of Cary, and the staff and volunteers for everything they did in screening our film. The communication was great and they went above and beyond to make sure we had a successful showing. They truly do care about independent filmmakers. Thank you!!

    July 2019
  • Caleb Kurowski

    A really enjoyable film festival experience! All the staff were super friendly and the communication was great. I encourage every filmmaker to submit their films to BEYOND.

    June 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks for your kind words, Caleb! We are working hard to build a filmmaker-friendly festival!