FESTIVAL INTRODUCTION

The Atlanta Film Festival is proud to present the 12th Annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

Now approaching its 44th year, the Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF)—an Academy Award®-qualifying festival—is the Southeast’s preeminent celebration of cinema and the flagship production of the Atlanta Film Society. One of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country, ATLFF showcases both emerging and established artists’ works. Recent festivals have seen audiences of over 28,000 film-lovers joining over 300 attending filmmakers in support of moving images that push the boundaries of independent cinema.

Every spring, our 11-day festival—recognized as the Best Film Festival by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10 Best, and Atlanta Magazine, as well as the Best Spring Festival by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—presents local and international works selected from over 8,400 submissions representing 40+ countries. ATLFF has been named a “Top 50 Festival Worth the Entry Fee” and one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker magazine.

COMPETITION DESCRIPTION

The Atlanta Film Festival has a four decade long history of discovering and nurturing new filmmaking talent, having shown early works by Robert Rodriguez, Spike Lee, and Victor Nunez. The Screenplay Competition was founded in 2008 to expand this tradition by recognizing the foundation of the filmmaking art form.

The 2020 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is devoted to finding the best screenplays from around the world and offering their authors the opportunity to take part in a once in a lifetime writing workshop and mentorship with professionals in the film industry.

Three feature film screenplays, one pilot screenplay, and one short film screenplay are chosen from submissions to take part in one-on-one mentorship meetings. Not only do they get notes on their winning screenplay, they also get to build lifelong relationships with industry professionals and network with the diverse and experienced crowd of filmmakers and industry insiders that attend the Atlanta Film Festival every year.

Winners of the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition have gone on to be honored by the Black List, selected for the Sundance Directors’ Lab, sign with representation, option their winning scripts, and write/direct critically and commercially successful indie films.

NOTABLE COMPETITION ALUMNI

James Ponsoldt, 2008 Feature Screenplay Winner, went on to become a successful writer/director, helming projects such as: "The Spectacular Now", "The End of the Tour", and "Smashed". His most recent film The Circle, starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Jon Boyega, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, followed by theatrical release.

Stella Meghie, 2011 Feature Screenplay Winner, went on to direct her winning script "Jean of the Joneses" which played at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2016. Her sophomore feature "Everything, Everything", starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, was released in theaters in 2017. She is currently working on two feature films with Issa Rae: "The Photograph" and "American Princess".

Mike Makowsky, 2016 Pilot Screenplay Winner, went on to become a Blacklist honoree. His feature film screenplay "I Think We’re Alone Now", staring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, premiered at Sundance in 2019 under the direction of Reed Morano (Director of Meadowland, Cinematographer for Beyoncé: Lemonade and Kill Your Darlings). His newest feature "Bad Education" will star Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Alex Wolff.

PREVIOUS SCREENPLAY MENTORS

Diana Ossana - Oscar Winning Screenwriter (Brokeback Mountain)
Kathryn Dean - Producer (Winter’s Bone, Hell or High Water)
Steve de Souza - Writer (Die Hard, 48 Hrs, Commando, The Running Man)
T Cooper - Writer (Copper, The Get Down, The Blacklist)
Michael Curtis Johnson - Writer/Director (Hunky Dory, Savage Youth)
Michael Lucker - Writer (Vampire in Brooklyn, Kronk’s New Groove, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron)
Kent Osborne - Head of Story (Adventure Time), Writer (Spongebob Squarepants)
Diane Drake - Writer, UCLA professor, and former VP of Creative Affairs at Mirage Enterprises
Robin M. Henry - Writer (Meet the Browns, House of Payne, East Los High)
Natalie Metzger - Producer (Thunder Road, Greener Grass)
James Ponsoldt - Director (Smashed, The Spectacular Now, End of the Tour, The Circle)

COMPETITION DETAILS

Feature, Pilot, and Short Film screenplays must be the original work of the writer(s). Feature screenplays must be within 40-130 pages in length. Television screenplays must be within 10-70 pages in length. Upon submission, the writer must indicate the nature of the television screenplay: webisode, comedy, drama, or any combination of the above. Short Film screenplays must be within 5-40 pages in length. Screenplays must be submitted in English. We accept any and all genres.

There is an additional fourth category for Georgia Screenplays. You may only submit your screenplay to this category if the writer is a current resident of Georgia. This category acts as a submission fee discount for local writers. It does not have any additional prizes associated with it. Screenplays submitted to this category must indicate a secondary category - feature, pilot, or short - in the overview of their submission. Submissions must adhere to the page limits of their secondary category. They will then qualify for prizes in that secondary category.

Please read all Rules and Terms before submitting. If you have any questions visit our FAQ at atlantafilmfestival.com.

QUARTERFINALISTS, SEMIFINALISTS, & FINALISTS

The ATLFF Screenplay Competition includes the top screenplay submissions in Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists, and Finalists lists. This practice is meant to honor those screenplays of merit that show promise and skill in the medium, but may not advance to the winning round.

SHORT FILM SCREENPLAY WINNER

ONE WINNER will be chosen in the short film category. This winner will receive:

- A cash prize of $250
- Travel stipend and 2 nights of accommodation to the 2020 Atlanta FIlm Festival
- A mentoring meeting with a short film filmmaker who has extensive experience with production and the festival circuit. This opportunity is designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script, discuss paths for jump starting or furthering their career, and develop a connection with someone who can serve as a mentor on future projects.
- An All Access Badge to the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival
- An Elite Badge to the 2020 Screencraft Writers Summit (please note that the summit is separate from the film festival and we do not provide lodging or travel to attend.)
- The opportunity to take part in a staged reading of a section their winning screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG/SAG-Aftra actors, which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.

PILOT SCREENPLAY WINNER

ONE WINNER will be chosen in the short film category. This winner will receive:

- A cash prize of $350
- Travel stipend and 2 nights of accommodation to the 2020 Atlanta FIlm Festival
- A mentoring meeting with a writer working in either the television or web series industry. This opportunity is designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script, discuss paths for jump starting or furthering their career, and develop a connection with someone who can serve as a mentor on future projects.
- An All Access Badge to the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival
- An Elite Badge to the 2020 Screencraft Writers Summit (please note that the summit is separate from the film festival and we do not provide lodging or travel to attend.)
- The opportunity to take part in a staged reading of a section their winning screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG/SAG-Aftra actors, which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.

FEATURE SCREENPLAY WINNERS

THREE WINNERS will be chosen in the feature film category. These winners will each receive:

- A cash prize of $500
- Travel stipend and 3 nights of accommodation to the 2020 Atlanta FIlm Festival
- The opportunity to participate in our annual Atlanta Film Festival Feature Screenwriter’s Retreat. This exclusive, all expenses paid program, offers our winners the chance to sit down with industry members and workshop their screenplay one-on-one during a two day retreat. Our mentors are all screenwriters who have worked in the industry, had festival success with their work, and earned major academic qualifications. This workshop is one of our most lauded successes and gives our winners invaluable experience that will help bolster not only their current screenplay but their future work as well.
- An All Access Badge to the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival
- An Elite Badge to the 2020 Screencraft Writers Summit (please note that the summit is separate from the film festival and we do not provide lodging or travel to attend.)
- The opportunity to take part in a staged reading of a section their winning screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG/SAG-Aftra actors, which provides the invaluable experience of hearing your words brought to life in front of an audience of filmmakers, industry members, and general movie lovers.

2020 RULES & TERMS

Before submitting, please read through all the rules and terms below. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to all of the following. All projects that have been submitted by our final deadline and that adhere to the following terms will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival.

If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ at atlantafilmfestival.com.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

The Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is open to any writer from anywhere in the world. However, the Atlanta Film Festival prides itself on highlighting the work of independent and emerging writers and filmmakers. Therefore, we prefer, but do not require, that our screenwriters have not had previous screenplays produced by non-independent companies or groups.

Submitted screenplays should not have been optioned, purchased, or otherwise produced at the time of submission. If your screenplay is optioned or purchased during the duration of the competition, please contact us immediately.

Writers can submit as many screenplays as they’d like to the competition. Each submission requires an application, payment and original screenplay.

Once a submission has been received and processed, we do not accept updated drafts of that submission or associated screenplays.

Duplicate submissions of the same work are not allowed. Any duplicate submissions of the same screenplay will be disqualified without refund.

We happily accept screenplays with more than one author or contributor. Please make note of each author’s name in your submission. Should a screenplay with two or more writers be named a winner of the competition, the award will be divided equally among them.

Screenplays should be formatted according to current industry standards. Pages must be numbered and typed in 12 point Courier font with standard margins. All entries must be submitted in English. Brief dialogue in another language is acceptable so long as an English translation is provided.

We do not have a rule regarding title pages. But it is recommended that include the title, author(s) and any relevant registration or copyright information.

Screenplays should be submitted only as a PDF. We WILL NOT accept Word .docs, Final Draft, Celtrix or any other file formats.

Screenplays MUST be submitted to the correct category. Any screenplay submitted to the wrong category (based on both genre and page count) is subject to disqualification without refund of submission fees.

All screenplays will reviewed by festival staff, but due to the high volume of submissions we will not be able to provide feedback on entries.

DEADLINES AND PRICES

The Deadlines for the 2019 Atlanta Screenplay Competitions are as follows:

Hella Early Deadline: June 6th
Feature - $40
Pilot - $30
Short - $25
Georgia Screenplay - $25

Early Deadline: July 11th
Feature - $45
Pilot - $35
Short - $30
Georgia Screenplay - $25

Regular Deadline: September 26th
Feature - $55
Pilot - $45
Short - $40
Georgia Screenplay - $25

Late Deadline: October 24th
Feature - $65
Pilot - $55
Short - $50
Georgia Screenplay - $25

Extended Deadline: November 14th
Feature - $90
Pilot - $75
Short - $70
Georgia Screenplay - $50

Submissions without payment will not be considered. If the submitter fails to pay the submission fee associated with their deadline by 11:59 EDT, their submission fee will be increased to coincide with the new deadline. Any unpaid or partially paid submission at the time of submissions closing will be disqualified. Unsolicited screenplays sent by email or mail will not be considered.

REFUNDS AND REVISIONS

All screenplays are considered complete once the Programming Office receives them. No revisions or updated copies will be accepted. Please be sure to carefully review and edit your screenplay before submitting.

Once a project is successfully submitted and processed on FilmFreeway or Coverfly, we are unable to offer refunds for any reason, including (but not limited to):
Submission to the wrong category
Duplicate submissions
Failure to pay the full submission fee by the final deadline
Failure to provide a PDF
Project’s failure to comply with submission Rules & Terms
Rejection from the festival
Change in Option or Production Status
Withdrawing your submission for any reason (including changes of heart)

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES/PRIZES

Feature Screenplays can be between 40-130 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range will disqualified without refund. We accept feature screenplays of any genre.

Pilot Screenplays can be between 10-70 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range will disqualified without refund. Upon submission, the writer must indicate the nature of the television screenplay: webisode, half-hour, hour, mini-series, comedy, drama, or any combination of the above.

Supplementary materials are not required for Pilot Screenplays. In addition, we cannot guarantee that any supplementary materials will be reviewed. However, you can include them in your submission packet or email them to screenplay@atlantafilmfestival.com. Supplementary materials include, but are not limited to: concept summaries, character descriptions, and future episode summaries.

Short Film Screenplays can be between 5-40 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range will disqualified without refund. We accept short film screenplays of any genre.

Georgia Screenplays can be feature, pilot, or short film screenplays and may be of genre, but must be written by a writer that currently resides in Georgia. This category is only available on FilmFreeway.

There is no separate prize for Georgia Screenplays. This category acts, instead, as a discount to Georgia based writers. Submitters to this category MUST designate the screenplay’s secondary category, either feature, pilot, or short film, in their submission information for award purposes.

The same page limits apply to the Georgia screenplays as other categories. Feature Screenplays can be between 40-130 pages in length. Pilot Screenplays can be between 10-70 pages in length. Short Film Screenplays can be between 5-40 pages in length.
If this category applies to your screenplay, you may obtain the password by emailing GA@atlantafilmfestival.com. If you submit in this category without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration and will not be issued a refund.

COPYRIGHT

Feature screenplays and television screenplays must be the original work of the writer(s). If the screenplay is based on another person’s life, writer(s) must also attach a signed statement acknowledging and approving of adaptation. A screenplay containing copyrighted ideas, characters, or storylines without the proper paperwork will be disqualified without refund of submission fees.

By submitting to the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition you are affirming the following:

That the screenplay being entered is the sole work of the writer or writers who in totality contributed 100% of the contents of the screenplay.

That for works written by more than one writer, all writers have agreed to submit the work for consideration.

That for works written by more than one writer, any collaborators no longer involved and not claiming copyright privileges over the material have relinquished their claim to copyright in writing, or electronically, proof of which can be provided.

That the screenwriter(s) has permission to use any work included in the screenplay that they have not written themselves.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

ATLFF regularly uses private, secure third party software to organize, track, and review submissions. By submitting to our competition, you are authorizing us to include your screenplay in those third party softwares.

In order to ensure an inclusive and pleasant experience, we do not allow any behavior that conflicts with our official Code of Conduct, including but not limited to: purposefully abusive, discriminatory, inappropriate, disruptive, or otherwise disrespectful behavior towards members of ATLFS staff or attendees of our events. Violation of this Code of Conduct may result in expulsion from ATLFF programs including the annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition, as well as other associated events. ATLFF reserves the right to revoke the submission, tickets, and/or credentials of any guest or group, without notice or refund, who violates our Code of Conduct. For our full code of conduct, please visit our website at atlantafilmsociety.org

The Atlanta Film Festival reserves the right to disqualify any screenplay at any time without refund, even after the competition has ended or prizes have been awarded, at the sole discretion of ATLFF staff.

If you have any questions, first check out our FAQ at atlantafilmfestival.com. If you still need more information, please feel free to e-mail screenplay@atlantafilmfestival.com

By entering your project for consideration to the 2020 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition, you authorize that your work is cleared for submission and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. The submitter and all writers associated with the project shall indemnify and hold harmless the Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta Film Society, and any representative or affiliates 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 involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the contents submitted.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Jean Barker

    I wasn't able to attend with my script that placed, but friends who have been to the main screenings event say great things about this one. The communication and responses were all really on point - I was having issues with Coverfly and they were kind enough to help me solve those even though none of them were the festival's fault.

    April 2018