The Ojai Film Festival is an intimate festival within easy reach of the film industry power center of Los Angeles. It has built a reputation for presenting world-class independent films to a savvy, sophisticated audience.

The winning script, judged by a panel of accomplished industry professionals, will be presented at the festival as a table read, by a cast of professional actors under the guidance of an experienced director, and the writer of the winning script will be honored at the festival's award ceremony with a trophy and public recognition. In addition, the writers of each of the five finalist screenplays will receive filmmaker passes to the festival and recognition at the awards ceremony.

Screenplays must be original, or adaptations of material to which the writer holds the film rights.

Feature screenplays only; must run between 70 and 120 pages and conform to industry-standard formatting.

A writer can submit as many screenplays as he or she likes, with a separate entry fee for each. Revised drafts of previously submitted scripts require separate entry fee as well.

We seek screenplays that demonstrate technical mastery and storytelling genius: original stories about characters whose choices and journeys reveal profound truths about themselves and our shared human condition. We believe the best screenplays are:

emotionally satisfying

Dramatic screenplays should be rich and purposeful, comedy screenplays should be funny.

Other factors that may be considered during evaluation are: audience appeal, industry standards (budget, casting, genre), and technical proficiency.

Overall Rating
  • As a screenplay writer I really enjoyed this festival. Although I only made it through semi-finals, I received an email congratulating me and telling me what a reader said about the characters. This specific, non-form letter was truly appreciated. I was also notified that I did not make the finals. Again, a non-form letter. It was very satisfying to have someone simply email and tell me things. Kudos to Bruce Novotny.

    November 2018
  • The Ojai Film Festival has been a great experience for me. The communication and attention to detail has been positive and the organisers continue to make those involved feel special. Unique festival.

    November 2018
  • Tina Love

    As a filmmaker I really enjoyed this film festival! Great programming and a great community with full audiences!

    December 2017
  • James Carroll

    This was an amazing experience and a great festival. It was an honor to be selected and to be associated with them.

    November 2017
  • shawn rohrbach

    Confusing communication of "accepted" and those who wwent on to become finalists.

    December 2016
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    Response from festival:

    Shawn, that issue will be remedied this time around. A notice of "accepted" will be issued as soon as a submission is received and deemed to meet the competition's criteria. When the semi-finalists are announced, the status of those entries will change to reflect that achievement. Thanks for the input.