Every great film owes its success to the quality of its story. The NFFTY Screenplay Competition: Story Starts Here is an opportunity for tomorrow’s best storytellers to get constructive critique on their script before entering production. This is a unique chance to be sure you are delivering the most resounding story to your audience!

All submissions will receive individual feedback upon request. Three scripts from both the screenplay and pilot categories will be chosen as Finalists and will be eligible for awards and cash prizes. Each finalist will also receive one complimentary All-Access Filmmaker Pass to NFFTY 2023.

There will be one grand prize winner and two runner-up scripts from each category.

The Screenplay Competition will culminate at NFFTY 2023, where finalists will be featured and awards and cash prizes announced. NFFTY 2023 will be held April 27th - 30th, 2023 in Seattle, WA. NFFTY Story Starts Here is a program of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

NFFTY seeks to provide unique programming specific to screenwriters and our Story Starts Here finalists in attendance. For NFFTY 2020 we produced a live virtual table read of all finalist scripts, and for NFFTY 2022 we hosted a script feedback session with Will Akers, author of the bestselling "Your Screenplay Sucks". Plans NFFTY 2023 will be announced closer to the festival.

To help address systemic inequity and underrepresentation in film, we’re offering a 50% discount to all screenplays and pilots submitted to this edition of Story Starts Here by Black, Indigenous, Asian American & Pacific Islanders and Latinx writers, as well as to submissions written by individuals with disabilities using the following codes:


We also consider additional discount and waiver requests on a case-by-case basis. To make a request, please fill out this short form: bit.ly/NFFTYSubmissionAssistance

$500 Cash Prizes for the Best Pilot Script and Best Short Screenplay will be handed out at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony of NFFTY 2023 on May 1st!

All finalists will receive a certificate for the current version of Final Draft, the industry's leading screenwriting software.

All screenwriters must be age 24 or under at the time of completion of the submitted draft.

All screenplays and/or pilots should not yet have entered production, as the purpose of this competition is to help filmmakers improve their story before filming.

All screenplays and pilots must be 40 pages or less, not including a title page.

All screenplays and pilots must be written in English.

All screenplays and pilots must be the original work of the submitter. If the content is based upon another’s life or adapted from another story, the submitter must also attach a statement showcasing any necessary permission to make such an adaptation.

Overall Rating
  • Hayat Aljowaily

    A lovely experience - so honored to have been chosen as one of the finalists. Thank you so much to NFFTY.

    March 2021
  • Molly Smith

    Amazing festival experience. I recommend to anyone wanting to network and be inspired by some amazing work!

    November 2019
  • Kathryn Orwig

    What a truly incredible film festival and experience! Being immersed in NFFTY was like dipping into the ultimate fountain of creativity and passion with just the most lovely level of absolute joy in sharing each other's art. Highly recommend this to all filmmakers.

    December 2018