The Bentonville Film Festival (“BFF”), in its effort to expand the championing of Women & Diversity to launch ‘The Dernsie’ Feature Film Screenplay Competition, sponsored in part by Kickstart Productions and Bruce Dern.

Coined by Jack Nicholson, a Dernsie is used to describe Bruce Dern’s acting technique when they were filming the movie DRIVE. Nicholson described it as, “anything you want to do, come up with, or embellish that isn’t on the script”

A Dernsie script will be unique. It stands out from among the crowd of similar themes and plots by adding it’s own spin. This can be through diversity in character, invention in story, or anything else that makes the script stand out.

Grand Prize Winner:
The winner will be awarded $1,500 dollars and a custom award, presented by Bruce Dern during the main award ceremony at the Festival, May 5th 2015.
At the discretion of Kickstart Productions, the winner may also receive an additional $1,500 for an 18-month option with Kickstart Productions.

2nd Place Finalists:
Two second place finalists each awarded $500 dollars, and will also be given the option to attend the ceremony.
At the discretion of Kickstart Productions, the winner may also receive an additional $500 for a 12-month option with Kickstart Productions.

*Please note that winners will be given access to the award ceremony but are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and any other expenses.

Please make sure all scripts submitted must meet the following requirements or they will be disqualified and no refund will be issued:

Due to the fact that Bentonville Film Festival is dedicated to promoting women and diversity, we as that scripts meet the following requirements:

Scripts must either have:
Female protagonist or a racially diverse protagonist
The writer(s) must be a woman or racially diverse.

The script may not contain any of the following:
Explicit language, the word “fuck” used in a sexual context, any nudity, explicit drug use, extreme violence (murder, rape, etc.), and/or any explicit sexual content or sexual situations.
Nothing contained in the script should constitute a libel or defamation of, or an invasion of the rights of privacy or otherwise violate or infringe upon any other right or rights whatsoever of any person, firm or corporation.
Entrants must be 18 or older.
It is an international contest and open to entrants worldwide.
Only Feature films will be accepted.
You may submit up to two scripts.
Scripts submitted must be original works, or if an adaptation, the writer must retain the rights to the underlying work submitted with proof of ownership.
Submitted online only in PDF form, in English with a 5MB limit.
Scripts must be between 85-135 pages long.
You must own all of the rights in and to the script and all characters within.
Script cannot be currently under any option, purchase or other agreement that encumbers the rights.
Scripts can have been previously optioned, however, all rights must be available at the time of submission and for the duration of the contest. If requested, writer shall provide any underlying documents to show a clear chain of title.
Scripts with multiple writers are allowed, but must be submitted by one writer and contends with the previous submission guidelines.
Once a script has been accepted, there are no substitutions of pages, drafts, or scripts.
To ensure fair judging, all scripts must be submitted with a cover page containing only the script title, without any of the writer’s names or discernible marks.
Scripts submitted with a name or identifying mark on ANY page will be disqualified.
All judges/readers will utilize whatever criteria they deem appropriate in deciding a winner.
Entrants may be contacted as a result of the contest by Bentonville Film Festival (BFF), the judging panel, or other industry professionals in regards to representation, production, sale and/or option of the entered work.
All scripts will remain the property of the respective writer(s). At no point will judging panel, readers, or Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) attach themselves to a script without the writer’s consent.
Entrants are under no obligation to sell their work or otherwise attach themselves to representation in any form.
Early Bird Submissions MUST be received by March 31st, 2015, regardless of when the payment is made.
Regular Submissions MUST be received by April 6th, 2015 regardless of when the payment is made.
Late Submissions MUST be received by April 13th, 2015 regardless of when the payment is made.
All purchases are final and no refunds will be issued.

Overall Rating
  • Thomas Torrey

    With amazing funding behind it in the form of Walmart and the star power of Gena Davis, BFF's first year (2014) was an amazing experience. They're hoping to have the Park City effect in beautiful and cultured Bentonvill AK and by all accounts it'll get there quick. Star studded, great events, tons to do, and actually appropriate for the entire family. BFF was a festival highlight for me by a mile.

    May 2016