The 11th Edition New Hope Film Festival Script Competition will take place from August 15-24, 2025. A hybrid event with a combination of physical and virtual screenings, the New Hope Film Festival offers currently rare opportunities for in-person networking and audience interaction.

The NHFF Script Competition is a fully integrated extension of the New Hope Film Festival, a format that offers writers an exciting and meaningful chance to meet producers and directors and bring their visions closer to production. Opportunities for collaboration with filmmakers and feedback from the same people who curate a film festival are some of the benefits of submitting.

Hollywood screenwriter and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Mark Rosenthal serves an adviser to the New Hope Film Festival and he makes himself available for a free consultation with the annual Best Script award winner. Each script project accepted is awarded two (2) complimentary Festival passes that offer screenwriters a valuable opportunity to learn about the intricacies and practicalities of moving a script into production. The prestige of gaining Official Selection status often helps screenwriters open doors to producers, investors and other people who can help a writer achieve the screenwriting dream.

About the Festival
Touted as the "Sundance East" in a Huffington Post article, this internationally respected indie fest was founded by D. F. Whipple, an author screenwriter and long-time resident of the New Hope, Bucks County area. Whipple formed New Hope Film Festival with a group of artists who shared his passion for discovering and nurturing independent artists, especially those who’ve been overlooked by established festivals.

What Makes the Script Competition Different
The primary objective of the script competition is to advance the careers of competition finalists.

Every work submitted is read with a keen perspective on quality and artistic expression. Artistic standards are extremely high, but neither intended budget nor prior notoriety is a determining factor—the art must shine through. This approach brings significant prestige, satisfaction and credibility to writers whose works are accepted as finalists. The organization's strong publicity and marketing program historically included an annual awards announcement in Variety until the dailies went out of print, as well as press coverage in mainstream outlets such as NBC, ABC, The Huffington Post and more. Mainstream and alternative news media press continues to be an area of focus, making NHFF Script a powerful bridge between indie obscurity and the mainstream.

Script finalists and filmmakers are equal peers during the annual event, making this competition a golden opportunity to meet and gain advice from producers, directors and other industry professionals. Script finalists are offered two (2) all-Festival passes and share the awards ceremony with filmmakers. Submission fees are non-refundable for any scripts not accepted. Scripts accepted are also subject to the no refund policy except in the highly unlikely event that no Program Guide listing for the script is offered.

The Festival's organizers avoid the sweepstakes model of many other competitions. Instead of offering prize money and trips, the Festival focuses on assisting the immediate and long-term careers of its finalists.

The Location
Over the years, New Hope has attracted and been home to many talented producers, screenwriters, actors, playwrights, and performance art enthusiasts. Home of the Bucks County Playhouse, where actors such as John Travolta, George C. Scott, Robert Redford, Helen Hayes, Andrea McArdle and Colleen Dewhurst have graced the stage, the village is centrally located less than an hour from Philadelphia and an hour and a half from New York.

Award certificates and/or acrylic trophies are awarded after each festival event. Winners and nominees are announced on the New Hope Film Festival's official blog along with all film winners, and the announcements are further supported by a mainstream and alternative media press campaign. The Festival reserves the right to change, delay or cancel the annual awards announcement ad campaign at its sole discretion and without prior notice. Typically, an incomplete list of award winners and nominees is included in post-Festival press releases, with references to the official blog for the full list.

In addition, subject to availability and at the sole discretion of NHFF Script, the annual Best Script Award winner receives a free consultation with Hollywood screenwriter and Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Mark Rosenthal, who has long served as an advisor to the New Hope Film Festival.

All scripts accepted by NHFF Script are considered Official Selections of the New Hope Film Festival in the same manner in which a film is named an Official Selection. Screenwriters are not considered finalists. The distinction means scripts accepted may use the Festival's official laurel for marketing purposes and screenwriters are equal to filmmakers in terms of Festival passes and access to all Festival events. Official Selections, including scripts, are not guaranteed a nomination or mention at the awards ceremony gala, but they are guaranteed a listing in the Program Guide, subject to abiding by the Festival's terms and conditions.

The Best Script winner normally receives a consultation with Academy of Motion Pictures member and longtime Hollywood screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, who has served as a Festival advisor throughout the Festival's history. This consultation is revocable at the Festival's sole discretion and is subject to Rosenthal's availability.

Screenwriters seeking a waiver because the required fee is beyond their current budget are advised to wait until the next Early Submissions period, find a sponsor and/or earn the fee through an additional source of income. The Festival's organizers do not respond to pitches for individual projects, and filmmakers writing the Festival with such requests will typically only receive an automated response. Submission fees are non-refundable.

The Festival reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel any event due to severe weather, power outage or any other circumstance beyond the Festival's control. If an event is cancelled, the Festival will offer replacement tickets to that event and/or reschedule the event. Only if the Festival makes no such offer is the ticket refundable at its face value.

Screenwriters must behave in a professional and respectful manner at the Festival at all times or risk removal from the Festival. A 10% courtesy discount is available on submission fees for alumni filmmakers. To request the discount code, alumni should email their name and the title of the previous Official Selection to the Festival.

Screenwriters and/or submitters should be a minimum of 16 years of age by the date of the Festival's opening night.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting a script, the submitter (“Filmmaker”) hereby irrevocably offers to New Hope Film Festival Script Competition (“Festival”) the right to list the title, brief synopsis and writer's name for the script submitted herewith (“Script”) in the Festival Program Guide as determined best by the Festival in its sole discretion. Filmmaker understands and agrees that once Festival accepts Filmmaker’s offer by selecting the Script for the Festival, Filmmaker shall have no right to remove the Script from the Festival, but Filmmaker shall not be barred from submitting the Script to any other film festival or competition outside a 10 mile radius of New Hope. If Festival selects the Script for the Festival, Festival shall have the irrevocable right, but not the obligation, to announce the Script's Official Selection status in the New Hope Film Festival Program Guide, at Festival’s sole discretion.

Festival reserves the right to revoke selection of the Script for listing in the Program Guide if Festival determines, in its sole discretion, it has good cause to do so. Examples of good cause as used herein would include unprofessional or derogatory behavior by Filmmaker or Filmmaker’s representative(s). Even if the Festival revokes selection of the Script for cause, the terms of this Agreement shall remain binding and in force.

Filmmaker irrevocably grants Festival the right to use, for promotional purposes, a brief synopsis of the Script if it is selected as an Official Selection by the Festival.

The individual or corporation submitting the Script (referred to as “Filmmaker” herein) hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the script for listing and to accept the terms of this Submission Agreement as Filmmaker or Filmmaker’s authorized representative; that it understands and accepts the terms of this Submission Agreement; and that all information it has provided on the FilmFreeway submission form is accurate and may be used by Festival for promotional purposes.

The Festival reserves the right to change, delay or cancel the annual awards announcement ad campaign at its sole discretion and without prior notice.

Filmmaker shall indemnify and hold New Hope Film Festival harmless from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim in connection with the Script involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, and/or loss of or damage to the script submitted. In particular, Filmmaker expressly warrants it has obtained all necessary copyright clearances for original works of authorship used in the Script.

If the Script is selected as an Official Selection of the Festival and said Script is not removed from the Festival for cause, Filmmaker shall have the right to promote the Script as a an Official Selection of New Hope Film Festival in perpetuity unless the Script is removed from the Festival for cause. By clicking on Agree, Filmmaker understands and accepts that acceptance of a Script as an Official Selection does not mean or imply it is a nominee for an award, and that any award or nomination granted to Filmmaker may be promoted in perpetuity unless removed from the Festival for cause. Festival will pay Filmmaker no compensation nor be liable to Filmmaker under any circumstances.

Filmmaker additionally agrees to behave in a professional manner at the Festival at all times and understands that failure to comply with this standard may result in ejection from the venues with additional consequences according to civil and criminal law.

If due to a pandemic or any other reason the Festival cannot proceed as initially planned in a physical venue, the Festival's current policy is to move the entire event online instead of postpone, reschedule or cancel. Screenwriters submitting projects are accepting these terms in keeping with the realities and uncertainties that currently affect live events. The Festival shall not be responsible for cancellation, postponement, change of format (e.g., an online-only event), or any other failure in performance resulting from causes beyond its reasonable control, including, but not limited to: acts of God, strikes or other labor disturbances, equipment failures, power outages, delays in transportation, inability to obtain resources needed to produce an event, war, acts of terrorism or other violence, riots, epidemics, floods, fires, unusually severe weather conditions, accidents, life-threatening illnesses, or other contingencies the non-occurrence of which was a basic assumption on which the Filmmaker submitted a film or script. All media and marketing campaigns are subject to postponement or cancellation at the Festival's sole discretion.