Interested in getting your idea for a film or television pilot out there? The Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition began in 2014 with a mission to embrace new voices, creativity and a passion for innovative storytelling. Going into its 9th year, the competition features several categories including, drama, comedy, horror and genre features in addition to short competition, 30 minute and 60 minute pilots. To round it out, the Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition offers a special category award to a Tennessee Writer. Entries for the 54th Nashville Film Festival Screenplay Competition will open on January 2, 2023.

Nashville Film Festival offers up to $100,000 in cash and in-kind sponsor prizes to filmmakers with winners selected by industry power players – including studio representatives, producers, and fellow filmmakers. Any potential prize awards are subject to all relevant federal and/or state laws and are therefore not guaranteed. Prize winners are responsible for providing required documentation in a timely manner and are responsible for any tax liabilities they may incur. Nashville Film Festival is not responsible for providing tax advice.

Winning screenwriters will receive $500 or $1,000 in cash prizes, depending on the category, and each feature-length category winner.

Scripts from the quarterfinalist level up are hosted on a website for access by industry professionals. Semifinalists will be entitled to purchase a badge at preferred rate. Finalists are treated to a table read scene from their screenplay performed by actors and will receive a complimentary festival badge.

Category winners will receive a cash prize based on the category as well as a personalized NashFilm Award and personalized assistance with their project goals. Category winners are determined by an all industry jury that includes active producers and literary representatives.

NOTE: This is the competition portal for screenplays, for films go to the Nashville Film Festival Competition page.

1. Original Content: All entries submitted to the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) Screenwriting Competition must be original works by the applicant. If the script is an adaptation or based on source material to which the entrant doesn't own the rights, permission to adapt the original work must be submitted as the first page in the screenplay PDF. Projects from Stephen King’s Dollar Baby offering may be submitted without additional documentation. Note on the cover page that this is a Dollar Baby project.

2. Submissions: Submissions must be made online through one of our entry partners. No mailed or emailed entries are accepted. NashFilm does not allow changes to the categories after submission. All submissions are final, and NashFilm does not issue refunds or adjustments of entry fees. Each submission will be sent a confirmation email once payment is processed.

3. Multiple Categories: Entrants may submit the same entry to more than one category. Each category entered requires an entry fee for that category.

4. Formatting: Screenplays must be formatted according to industry standards. Pages must be numbered and typed in 12 point Courier font. All entries must be submitted in English. Include title only on title page. The author’s name should NOT appear on the title page or anywhere on the script, to preserve anonymity and fairness. This includes the script’s file name.

5. Lengths:
• Feature Scripts: 75 – 110 pages
• Short Scripts: under 45 pages
• Teleplay (30 minute pilot): 25-40 pages (longer lengths formatted with acts)
• Teleplay (60 minute pilot): 59-70 pages (longer lengths formatted with acts)

Scripts will not be disqualified on length alone. The guidelines above are strongly recommended based on what our industry jury is looking for from writers looking to break in and is typical of unproduced commercial scripts. There are always exceptions. If you have a longer script, feel free to contact the competition manager for guidance.

6. Revisions: NashFilm considers all entries to be complete. You may not send in revisions after the screenplay or teleplay has been submitted. Finalists will have an opportunity to submit an updated draft for final judging.

7. Ineligibility: The NashFilm Screenwriting Competition does not accept novels, short stories, stage plays, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, scripts for existing TV series, or works that are not original. Scripts also must not have been sold or currently be under option prior to 09/29/2023. NashFilm employees, including seasonal staff, board members, sponsors, and their immediate families, are not eligible to submit in any category.

8. Judging: Scripts will be judged based on final scores that cover multiple criteria including, but not limited to, structure, premise,entertainment value, and commercial viability. All decisions are final.

9. Entry Deadlines / Notifications:
Open for Entries: January 2
Early Bird Deadline: February 4, 2023
Regular Deadline: March 11, 2023
Late Deadline: May 6, 2023
Extended (FINAL) Deadline: May 28, 2023

Quarter Finalists will be notified by June 17, 2023
Semifinalists will be notified no later than July 8, 2023.
Finalists will be notified by email no later than July 29, 2023. Winners in each category will be announced at the Screenwriting Competition Awards Ceremony during the festival in October 2022.

10. Multiple writers: All awards are on a per selected screenplay basis. NashFilm does not assume responsibility for splitting any part of any award. It is up to the registering writer to notify NashFilm which writer will be the recipient of the awards package. The additional writer(s) will be eligible to purchase a festival badge at the preferred semifinalist rate.

12. Copyright: All entrants are encouraged, but not required to register their screenplays with the Writers’ Guild of America, East or West:, or

Overall Rating
  • Great experience I highly recommend this competition

    November 2022
  • It was an honor for my short screenplay, VINYL TAPED MARY JANE, to be an Official Selection of the Nashville Film Festival. Cat Stewart is an amazing screenplay competition manager and runs a tight ship. Festivals are a huge undertaking and she went over and beyond, providing great communication, reaching out regularly and even suggesting resources on how to take my script further. The Nashville Film Festival truly champions writers. So often the writer is overlooked, not at this prestigious Oscar-qualifying film festival. I can’t recommend it enough.

    November 2022
  • Thank you for welcoming Bloodlines The Mogadishu Diaries to compete in your wonderful Festival. Great communication from the start. I highly recommend this Festival. 5 Stars!

    October 2022
  • Roxy Mitchell

    What an amazing festival! I was lucky enough that I was able to travel to Nashville and stay for the full extent of the festival. Cat was so lovely and welcoming and kind.
    She even responds to every email, personally and swiftly. First time in this beautiful city, and the experience could not have been more incredible.

    I have never been more honored than to find out that my screenplay ‘Elektra’ won best comedy feature at this prestigious festival. I am completely over the moon.

    This festival is of the utmost quality. They prioritize only the best films, and make sure to include incredible and diverse stories about people from all walks of life. I was just blown away by the hospitality and the quality. This festival takes it to another level. I will be back next year and every year after. Endlessly grateful.

    October 2022
  • Daryn Castle

    My feature script was selected as a quarter finalist. The communication was excellent and the organisers also shared the script through their networks which was a lovely bonus.

    October 2022