We are proud to announce the 2020 Competition Winners!

1st Place Winner - Cheremere by Paolo Taddei

2nd Place Winner - Angel City by Al Mertens

3rd Place Winner - Bella Cane by Johnny Cruz


Horror/Thriller - Angel City by Al Mertens

Sci-Fi/Fantasy - The Typewriter by Wesley Mullins

Comedy - Junior Ghost Chasers by Matt Rafferty

Cross-Genre Screenplay - Cheremere by Paolo Taddei

Best Short Screenplay - "Purgatory" by Grace Melon

Best First-Time Screenwriter -Bella Cane by Johnny Cruz

And a huge thanks to everyone who entered!

In the sixth annual Chicago Genre Screenplay Competition, we're looking for the best screenplays in Horror, Comedy, and Sci-fi that the Midwest and beyond have to offer! Have your scripts read by award-winning writers and win cash prizes.

We're proud to announce that we are accepting short film and pilot scripts too!

The mission of the Chicago Genre Screenplay Festival is to find and support the most creative screenwriters working on the most exciting projects - we really care about genre films. From blood-soaked horror to gut-busting comedy, our team is looking for the kind of screenplays that might not fit anywhere else. First timers need not fear applying too. We have a category dedicated to those just trying out the craft.


First Place - $200

Second Place - $100

Third Place - $50

Honorable Mention within each category.


Submissions are accepted via electronic submission on FilmFreeway.
There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
Entries must be received on or before the deadlines and submission fee payment must be made in full at time of the submission. All entry fees are non-refundable.
All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).
Feature screenplays longer than 140 pages will not be eligible.
We now accept pilots and short films. Unspecified scripts under 60 pages will be treated as short films. Unspecified scripts over 60 pages will be treated as features.
All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.
Material must be submitted by the writer. Material written by writing teams must be submitted by one of the writers, with consent of the other(s). All writers must be credited on title page.
If a writing team is chosen as a winner, prizes will be given to the person who submits the project. Each team is responsible for dividing or sharing the prize money.
Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material are not allowed. Please proofread your script carefully before submitting.
It is recommended that original material be registered with the WGA or The Library of Congress before submitting to any competition, however we do not require registration.
All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders.

All writers at least 18 years of age are eligible. However, a writer who has earned more than $50,000 (or equivalent currency) from professional writing services for film or TV in the preceding year is not. (Contest winnings not included.)
All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible; however the material submitted must be in English.
All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible.
There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
The material submitted must not be encumbered by any obligation to, or option held by, a third party prior to entering the competition.
Any submitted work that becomes optioned, published, produced or purchased between the time of submission and the end of the judging period will no longer be eligible.
Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.
Adaptations are ineligible unless the underlying rights are owned by the writer or the work is in the public domain.
Feature screenplays longer than 140 pages will not be eligible.
All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.
The judging panel, selected by HKD or its representatives in its sole discretion, may one screenplay development professional, however these studios and companies are in no way official sponsors or endorsers of this contest. The top 10 finalists will be chosen based on the following criteria: (i) originality; (ii) story; (iii) characterization; (iv) visual inventiveness; and (v) overall impression. The finalists and winner will be notified by email and may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of HKD. The selected 3 winners will be notified by e-mail on or about ______. Finalists may be required to sign and return within seven (7) business days of receipt a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility and a Release and Indemnification and any other documents that HKD or any other partner may require before receiving prize payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within ten (10) days or return of notification will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.


HKD or any other partner, employee or agent associated with this contest claims no ownership nor first right of option to any original screenplay submitted to this contest. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to HKD and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration. All uses of a entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.


All entries are non-refundable.


By entering this contest, each participant agrees to release and hold harmless HKD Production, prize contributors, sponsors, judges, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Promotion and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless HKD Productions and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize.

Overall Rating
  • Lovin’ some the festival whose "mission is to find and support the most creative screenwriters working on the most exciting projects." Angel City, screenplay won its category and took 2nd place overall. Thank you!!!

    (Two years ago Thank You, Amelia Earhart screenplay, movie in pre-production won its category.)


    May 2020
  • Paolo Taddei

    I won the Award prize, 200 dollars, I received them on my PayPal account the following day of the announcement!

    May 2020
  • A very smoothly run competition. It was an honor to win 3rd place and Best First Time Screenwriter. Recommended.

    May 2020
  • Eduardo Soto-Falcon

    This is a small online competition, but seems to be run pretty efficiently and be really concerned about spotting and recognizing good material. The first 3 places (I was 2nd) get a small cash price, which is greatly appreciated. This sets an example to the rest of the competitions out there that it doesn't matter how small you are, you can still award a little recognition to the winners. Also, the focus on genres is something that I find extremely relevant. As a suggestion to the organizers, I'd like to see a bigger and more detailed press release about the winning scripts.

    May 2019
  • Chicago Genre Screenplay Competition is a great up and coming competition for screenwriters to submit their works. They are A+ in communication. Keep an eye out for this one. We believe that it will be one of the best screenplay competition in the coming years to come as they grow in status. Definitely worth submitting to! 👍👍

    Note: we didn't rate it for Hospitality or Networking because we did not attend the event in person but we're sure that it would have been an A+ experience as well.

    May 2019