16th Annual

Hamptons International Film Festival - Screenwriters Lab

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47 Newtown Lane
East Hampton NY 11937
Phone: 631-324-4600

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Screenwriters Lab: Screenplay Submissions
We welcome scripts of all types and about all subject matter.


The Hamptons International Film Festival’s Screenwriters Lab, going into its 16th year, is an intimate gathering that takes place each Spring in East Hampton, New York (April 8- 10, 2016). The Lab develops emerging screenwriting talent by pairing established writers & creative producers with up-and-coming screenwriters (chosen by HIFF in collaboration with key industry contacts). The mentors advise in a one-on-one creative laboratory setting while additional events bring the participants together with board members, sponsors, the local artistic community, and other friends of the festival. With scripts from past writers produced year after year, the Lab continues to be an inspiring and safe place for artists to find and hone their creative vision. A number of recent projects in the Lab have gone on to be produced and distributed and to screen at festivals around the world such as Sundance, South by Southwest, Karlovy Vary, Locarno and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Selected highlights include Short Term 12 with Brie Larson and John Gallagher, which won the Grand Jury and Audience Award at SXSW, The Discoverers starring Griffin Dunne, Little Accidents featuring Elizabeth Banks and Chloe Sevigny, Fort Bliss starring Michelle Monaghan & Ron Livingston, and 2010 Sundance Film Festival Closing Night film Twelve starring Ellen Barkin and Emma Roberts.

Recent mentors at the lab include Alex Dinelaris (Birdman); Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy), Oren Moverman (The Messenger); Michael Cunningham (The Hours, Evening); James Vanderbilt (Zodiac); Mark Heyman (Black Swan); Rob Siegel (The Wrestler); Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar, It's Kind of a Funny Story); Hawk Ostby (Children of Men); Billy Frolick (Madagascar); J.D. Zeik (Ronin); J. Robin Baitz (People I Know, The Substance of Fire); Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco); Ira Sachs (40 Shades of Blue, This Married Life); Andy Bienen (Boys Don't Cry); Jeff Sharp (Producer, You Can Count on Me, Evening); Lawrence Konner (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire); Maria Maggenti (The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love); Sabrina Dhawan (Monsoon Wedding, Cosmopolitan); Gregory Widen (Highlander, Backdraft); Mark Christopher (54); Maggie Greenwald (Songcatcher, Ballad of Little Jo); Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby); Lawrence Lasker (Sneakers, War Games); Chap Taylor (Changing Lanes, National Treasure); and Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger, P.S.).


The Hamptons International Film Festival takes place annually in October, with a number of additional events held year round in New York City and the Hamptons. The Festival is the premier film event on New York State's east end, and is an intimate showcase of some of the year's best offerings in contemporary cinema. Festival selections continue to play an important role during awards season, with a significant number of titles highlighted every year at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, as well as the Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Awards. Films in the 2015 festival received 36 nominations, including 4 of the 8 Best Picture nominations. The Festival has also screened the eventual Best Picture Oscar winners 6 years in a row and 7 of the last 8 years, while no other Festival on the East Coast has done so more than 3 times in that time period. Additionally, the Festival screened 2 of the Oscar nominated Foreign Language Films including the eventual winner, 5 of the Oscar nominated short films, and 4 of the 5 films whose lead actress performances were nominated.
The 24th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place October 6-10, 2016.
Many films over the years have made their world premieres at HIFF and been picked up for distribution shortly after their screenings. The best known of these is OPEN WATER which was bought by Lionsgate and went on to gross $40 million worldwide. Other recent highlights of films picked up for distribution following their world premieres at HIFF include HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST (Magnolia Pictures); THE CHAMPIONS (FilmRise); THE PREPPIE CONNECTION (IFC); WILDLIKE (Killer Films); FREE RIDE (Phase 4 Films); LOUDER THAN WORDS (ARC Entertainment); PLOT FOR PEACE (Trinity Filmed Entertainment); THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN (Zeitgeist Films); THE MAID’S ROOM (Paladin); A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY (Paladin); REFUGE (Strand Releasing); RISING FROM ASHES (First Run Features); DRIFT (Wrekin Hill Entertainment); SPARROW’S DANCE (Tribeca Film); STEVIE NICKS: IN YOUR DREAMS (Abramorama)

The Festival hosts multiple competitions focused specifically on early-career filmmakers, in the hopes of bolstering their work at an important juncture and helping develop a discussion around their films, both within the film community and beyond. The festival also features three signature programs: Conflict & Resolution; Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights; and Views From Long Island.

Guests & attendees of the last few Festivals included Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Joel & Ethan Coen, Morgan Freeman, Brie Larson, Richard Gere, Mike Nichols, Charlie Kaufman, Todd Haynes, Olivia Wilde, Sir Ben Kingsley, Harvey Weinstein, Adam Driver, Alan Alda, Tom McCarthy, Madonna, Julianne Moore, James Franco, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Nate Parker, Bill Murray, Melissa Leo, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Domhnall Gleeson, Dan Rather, Michael Moore, Bruce Dern, Amy Ryan, Darren Aronofsky, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Spike Jonze, Laura Dern, Matthew Broderick, Calvin Klein, Rene Zellweger, Ralph Lauren, Hilary Swank, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Alex Gibney, Sally Hawkins, Michael Barker, Hope Davis, Helena Bonham Carter, Freida Pinto, James Schamus, Scott Rudin, Sting, Tom Hooper, Frances McDormand, Holly Hunter, Eamonn Bowles, James Lipton, Alexander Skarsgard, Patricia Clarkson, Howard Stern, Isabella Rosselini, Julian Schnabel, Stanley Tucci, David Duchovny, Chevy Chase, Neil Labute, Edie Falco, Shailene Woodley, Jane Goodall, Davis Guggenheim, Bennett Miller, Candace Bergen, Steve Buscemi, Marcia Gay Harden, Rufus Wainwright, Harry Belafonte, Wim Wenders, Doug Liman, Matthew Modine, Mark & Jay Duplass, Ezra Miller, Dick Cavett, Penelope Anne Miller, James Cromwell, Bill Pullman, Costa-Gavras, Ashley Olsen, Christie Brinkley, Christine Vachon, Dane DeHaan, Timothy Hutton, Billy Joel, Emma Roberts, Teddy Schwarzman, Joel Schumacher, Jeff Zucker, Al Maysles, Richard LaGravenese, Emily Browning, Oren Moverman, Riz Ahmed, Tye Sheridan, Lola Kirke, David Bailey, Lucy Walker, and Amagansett resident Carter Burwell.


David Nugent (Artistic Director ); David Nugent (Artistic Director)


Submission Process:
The following materials are required for your application:

1) A feature-length screenplay.
2) The non-refundable application fee. Please make checks payable to The Hamptons International Film Festival.

You are strongly encouraged to include a cover letter with a brief synopsis (one or two sentences describing the plot of the screenplay). We invite you to submit your screenplay electronically. You may also send your screenplay to us as a hard copy via regular mail. You can do this instead of, or in addition to, sending an electronic copy of your script. If you choose to do so, please do not require a signature for its delivery.

We also strongly advise that you submit a brief writer CV or bio focusing on other screenplays you have written and whether they have been or will be produced, or about any films that you have worked on. While such experience is not required to be considered for our Lab, we do value knowing about your background.


1. I am authorized to submit this screenplay to the festival.
2. All information provided on application form is true, to the best of my knowledge.
3. If the screenplay is selected for the Festival's Screenwriters Lab, I give permission for The Hamptons to use the work for promotional purposes in all media and on The Hamptons website.
4. This agreement constitutes approval that The Hamptons may present my screenplay at the 2016 Hamptons International Screenwriters' Lab.