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.

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
  • The Ojai Film Festival Screenplay Competition will be very much worth your consideration. The fees are just, and the competition director, Bruce Novotny, adds a personal touch by including some remarks from the judges. You'll never feel those boilerplate responses playing you along from anyone at Ojai.
    This screenplay competition comes from good stock—the Ojai Film Festival itself, now running for over two decades.
    Rest assured; your work will be in the hands of seasoned professionals. Thank you, Ojai!

    November 2021
  • Great communication and feedback from Bruce on my feature screenplay, “Angel City.”
    Glad to have been a part of this!

    November 2019
  • 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