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 will be chosen by a panel of accomplished industry professionals, and will be presented at the festival as a table read, by a cast of professional actors under the guidance of an experienced director. The winning writer will be honored at our festival's awards ceremony with a trophy and public celebration. Note: For the past two years during the pandemic, we have recorded the table reads of the winning screenplays with actors participating over Zoom. We then presented the edited performance to our festival audience. This more polished presentation pleased the winning writers, and we have decided to continue with this method for the foreseeable future.

The writers of each of the five finalist screenplays will receive filmmaker passes to the festival and recognition at the awards ceremony.

For 2022 the Ojai Film festival is also partnering with InkTip.

InkTip: Where everyone goes for scripts and writers.

Winners will receive a 4-month InkTip Pro Membership. As an InkTip Pro Member, thousands of filmmakers can find and read your scripts, and you'll be able to pitch directly to production companies every week. With over 3,000 options and 400 movies made, InkTip is the place for independent film.

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

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
  • Julie Dillemuth

    I got to the semifinals and received kind and thoughtful feedback on my work. Great email communication from Bruce Novotny -- it's clear that he and everyone involved with the fest care deeply about filmmaking and filmmakers/writers. I appreciate that the contest entry fee is so reasonable.

    November 2022
  • Fran Ervin

    Bruce Novotny and his team at the Ojai Film Festival have created an amazing opportunity for any screenwriter. They go above and beyond! As part of the winning screenplay, they produce a zoom reading for your screenplay complete with director, cast and top notch editing job. It's invaluable for any writer! Highly highly recommend this screenplay competition and film festival. They are very impressive and really encourage screenwriters to develop their voices!

    November 2022
  • Bruce Novotny and the team at Ojai Film Festival 2022 provided great communication and personal feedback to me as a semi-finalist with my screenplay, Gravel Road. Ojai itself is a wonderful town and this festival is run with sincerity and respect to the artists that participate. Well done.

    November 2022
  • David Congalton

    I have entered multiple screenwriting contests across the country and nobody comes close to Ojai. This is a contest that is professionally run. They do an outstanding job of maintaining communication with contestants. I can't recommend this contest highly enough.

    November 2022
  • Professional and great communication. Highly recommend.

    November 2022