We are San Francisco. And we love film and we love writers. In fact, we care so deeply about developing the next generation of filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad that we founded what we hope will be one of the most prestigious screenwriting competitions in the world for serious writers and serious subject matter.

We are an independent screenwriting competition founded by artists, and while we are artists, a lot of us come from backgrounds in journalism, publishing, and in some cases some very grisly real life experiences and we like serious subject matter. A lot of other festivals do as well, but that’s really all we are interested in. We are only really interested in finding the next Schindler’s List, Judgement at Nuremburg, Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption, Lincoln, Reservoir Dogs, 12 Years a Slave, the Godfather, Sling Blade, Frida, or even Shine.

We want to find scripts so good they not only get made, but that they find their way to Sundance, Venice, Cannes, Edinburgh, and San Sebastian. We only want to recognize the best of the best.

We want to support serious writers who take on serious subject matter. That’s what we’re all about. We are located in the heart of California and are proud to be the only international screenwriting competition in the Bay Area. We are committed to fostering the careers of local talent as well as finding the next generation of talent from New York, Hollywood, Toronto, and around the world.

Hollywood is all about cinema and we want to find the next generation of talent capable of delivering great cinema for the next fifty years. We are dedicated to developing artists. We want to connect talented up and coming artists with the agents and managers that will ultimately put them in front of the producers who will get their films made.

Great films come in all shapes and sizes, from thrillers to dramas from epic blockbusters to small indies, as such we love all kinds of scripts from big studio projects to arthouse indies. No two paths are the same and no two stories are either. So whether you’re new to writing, you’ve been doing it for years, or you’re just now thinking about starting, send us your script and if it’s good we’ll deliver to the people you need to read it. We accept scripts from all over the world and from writers of all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, sexes and sexual orientations.

Men and women have been making great films for over a century now and we want to continue that tradition. We want to develop writers and filmmakers to work in every facet of production. We want to support writers at all levels to make great films all over the world. We love film and we love filmmakers. And we want to do everything we can to support and inspire the next generation of filmmakers to tell great stories that will be told for generations to come.

Our grand prize winners are personally introduced to three separate top talent managers and or producers. 2020's grand prize winner was introduced to talent managers at Fictional Entertainment, the Bohemia Group, and Kersey Management. They also received a one hour script consultation with Producer/Manager Mark Saffian from Content House. 2019's winner also received a personal introduction to three separate talent managers in addition to our grand prize winner receiving script notes and a personal consultation from none other than Alex Robb at Insignia Entertainment.

Please note that only the top three screenwriting finalists receive industry introductions and semi-finalists only receive laurels and online recognition like at most festivals. Prizes and recognition are not awarded to any other entrants.

Submissions are accepted via electronic submission only through our partner websites like FilmFreeway.

No limit to the length of the projects you submit. Projects can be in script or treatment form.

No limit to the number of projects you may submit.

Scripts must be written in English, but can be in any film or television genre in either script or treatment form.

Entry fees for screenplay entries are posted on our partner websites and are non refundable.

Employees and family members of the film festival are not eligible.

Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter the contest. Misrepresentation of age, upon discovery, will forfeit entry and fees to the contest.

Entries must be received on or before the deadlines and submission fee payment must be made in full at time of the submission. All entry fees are non-refundable

All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).

All entries must be the original, and unpublished, un-produced, un-optioned work of the entrant. The entrant ensures that he or she is the sole author of the work and that it does not infringe on any existing copyright.

All winners are responsible for their own U.S. income tax withholding.

The competition, its judges, and its officers accept no liability whatsoever for any claims of damages, real or perceived, by any entrant(s) as a result of their participation in this contest.

Industry distribution should in no way be interpreted as a guarantee of future representation or success. Whether or not industry partners choose to work with finalists, or even contact finalists, is done so at the sole discretion of each and every individual company. We can not force our industry partners to option your property and or sign you as a client.

Contest is void where prohibited by law.

All entrants must be eighteen years of age.

All people of all shapes and sizes from anywhere in the world are eligible; however all material submitted must be in English.

Material submitted to other competitions or contests is eligible.

Professional writers, journalists, poets, and previous contest winners are eligible.

There are no requirements as to when the material was written.

Material must be your original work.

The material submitted must not be encumbered by any obligation to, or option held by, a third party prior to entering the competition.

We do not provide feedback, notes, grades, or rankings of any kind. We assume you already know how to write at a professional level and that is why you are entering this contest.

By submitting your material you agree to be added to our email list, but can remove yourself by unsubscribing at anytime.

Please note that the San Francisco International Screenwriting Competition is in no way affiliated with any other film festival, screenwriting competition, film school, or film related enterprise or organization including, but not limited to SIFF, ACT, SFIA, the City of San Francisco, or any other civic organization.

By submitting your material you agree to be added to our email list, but can remove yourself by unsubscribing at anytime.

SFISC reserves the right to revoke recognition status at any time with or without cause.
Only our Grand Prize Winner and top two Finalists will receive industry distribution and prizes. Semi-Finalists will only be rewarded by recognition like in most screenwriting competitions.

Past prizes listed in winner reviews should not be construed as current prizes. All current prizes are spelled out on our website. We also do not reveal the names of recipients on our industry distribution list.

All judging is done at our sole discretion. We may have outside input, but all judging and all decisions are made at our sole discretion. Furthermore, we do not use "celebrity" judges or "industry" judges and we do not advertise that we use "celebrity" judges. We use experienced readers with a background in writing and a passion for cinema. We distribute our winners' scripts to industry executives, but those executives do not judge our contests. To prevent tampering we do not reveal the identities of our judges. Entrants are prohibited from contacting the judges during the competition. Any entrant who attempts to contact a judge will be disqualified and their entry fee forfeited. The decision of the judges is final.

We do not offer script notes and or script advice. We are looking to reward professional level writers that we can help get to the next level by recognizing their work. If these are services you desire, we recommend hiring a script consultant. These services can be found via a simple google search.

By entering the competition you hereby accept these competition rules.

Overall Rating
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Networking
  • Steve Crawshaw

    Happy to be a semi finalist but I wonder who reads the scripts. Have they links to producers? The idea of entering festivals like these is, I would think, exposure to get films made. i.e. production companies looking at the finalists and semi finalists.

    May 2020
  • Joseph and the SFISC team has been amazing in this time of madness! Fantastic communication and dedication to connecting their winners to the professional world. I'm truly honored to be recognized by such an amazing group!

    March 2020
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    Response from festival:

    Thanks for the kind words. And we are honored to have you as a winner.

  • Jeff Bretl

    Nice to see a festival that supports serious writers taking on serious subject matter. Even nicer to be named a finalist! Great competition for first timers.

    March 2020
  • Eric Sollars

    Fabulous festival and competition. Will enter again.

    March 2020
  • This competition is a class act. It's their primary purpose to support, endorse, advance and encourage their winning writers. I've experienced this with the phone calls, emails and promotion from them that left me feeling thankful and pumped up. They keep me informed when they forward my script to industry contacts. This win is more than just a pat on the back. Much, much more. Two thumbs up from me!

    May 2019
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    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words and please keep writing.