10th Annual

Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition

April 13, 2018 to April 22, 2018

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CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Feature Screenplay
Feature Screenplays can be of any genre and must be within 80-130 pages in length.
Pilot Screenplay
Television screenplays can be any genre and must be within 10-70 pages long. When you submit, please indicate as to whether this is a webisode, 30 minute comedy, an hour long drama, or some combination of the three.
Short Film Screenplay
Short Film Screenplays can be of any genre and must be within 5-40 pages long.
Georgia Screenplay


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 2018 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is designed to find the best screenplays around the world and offer their authors an opportunity for a once in a lifetime screenplay workshop and mentorship with professionals in the film industry.

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


The 10th Annual Screenplay Competition as part of the 42nd Annual Atlanta Film Festival

Now approaching its 42nd 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 nearly 27,000 film-lovers joining over 300 attending filmmakers in support of moving images that push the boundaries of independent cinema.

Every spring, our 10-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 6,000 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. Historically, ATLFF’s program is comprised of approximately 80% - 85% submissions.

ATLFF actively strives to be an inclusive showcase with spotlights on filmmakers of color, LGBTQ films (Pink Peach), women filmmakers (New Mavericks), family friendly programming, Food on Film and/or experimental subjects and themes. Our experimental thread champions films created with conscious, referential use of the medium, rejection of traditional narrative arcs, and opposition to mass media or conventional storytelling practices.

ATLFF’s continued exposure is in part thanks to growing distributor and press outlet attention. Recent distributor attendance includes Participant Media, Vimeo, Netflix, Film Collaborative, Cinelicious Pics, Paramount, HBO, Turner, NBC Universal, Comcast, Archer Gray, Kickstarter and Seed & Spark.


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 newest film Everything, Everything, starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, was released in theaters in 2017.

Mike Makowsky, 2016 Pilot Screenplay Winner, went on to become a Blacklist honoree. His feature film I Think We’re Alone Now is currently filming under the direction of Reed Morano (Director of Meadowland, Cinematographer for Beyoncé: Lemonade, The Skeleton Twins, Kill Your Darlings), starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning.


“[The ATLFF Screenplay Competition] gave us the most valuable reward of all. Meetings with three outstanding mentors [...] Atlanta Film Festival provided airfare, lodging and meals for the weekend, so all we had to worry about was taking notes on how to improve our screenplays. We also participated in a table read with SAG/AFTRA actors to hear the words we had written interpreted by professional actors so we could see what was working and what wasn't. The experience was beyond invaluable.”
- Denise Meyers, 2017 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Winner

"The screenplay retreat was a unique and immersive experience in that it not only provided specific unbiased insight into the world of my script, but also refreshingly candid knowledge about the world of the industry itself. The festival truly does a commendable job of nurturing diverse talent and offering the rare opportunity to workshop your material in a concentrated, safe, and fun environment with mentors who genuinely want you to put your best foot forward, both with your script and the industry at large."
- Melanie Schiele, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Winner (2013 Slamdance Screenplay Competition Winner and 2017 NYU Purple List Honoree)

"The ATLFF was absolutely a career high. I was so honored to be a part of such a prestigious festival. From day 1, the staff and volunteers were professional, courteous, and encouraging towards my endeavors in screenwriting. The mentors chosen for the screenplay winners were kind, very knowledgeable of their craft, and accessible. I had a blast laughing, creating, and viewing all the wonderful talent throughout the festival. Thank you again ATLFF for such an uplifting experience!"
- Tonya Holloway, 2013 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Winner

“This competition offers you what very few can, a personal and relaxed atmosphere to meet with professionals who are willing to take the time to not only get to know your writing but you as a person.”
-Wenonah Wilms, 2008 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Winner


Kathryn Dean
Producer (Winter’s Bone, Hell or High Water, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)

Diane Drake
Screenwriter, UCLA professor, and former VP of Creative Affairs at Mirage Enterprises (Only You, What Women Want)

Robin M. Henry
Writer (Meet the Browns, House of Payne, East Los High), Producer (East Los High, Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History)

Michael Lucker
Screenwriter/Emory Professor (Vampire in Brooklyn, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron)

Kent Osborne
Head of Story (Adventure Time), Writer (Spongebob Squarepants), Voice Director (Steven Universe, Adventure Time)

J.T. Petty
Video Game Writer (Outlast, Outlast 2, The Walking Dead: The Game, Splinter Cell, Batman Begins)

James Ponsoldt
Director (Smashed, The Spectacular Now, End of the Tour, The Circle), Writer (Smashed, The Circle)


ATLFF Screenplay; ATLFF Screenplay; ATLFF Screenplay; Alyssa Armand (Programming Director); Anna Vecellio (Assistant Programmer); Cameron McAllister (Associate Director); Christopher Escobar (Executive Director)


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 2018 Atlanta Film Festival.

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


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. Because we require title pages to be void of names or other identifying information other than title, each entry will be judged separately on its own merit.

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. Your title page should contain ONLY the title. The author’s name should NOT appear anywhere on the screenplay. Please include the author(s) and any relevant registration or copyright information in your submission but not in the Screenplay PDF.

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


The Deadlines for the 2018 Atlanta Screenplay Competitions are as follows:

Hella Early Deadline: August 31st

Early Deadline: September 28th

Regular Deadline: November 16th

Late Deadline: December 14th

Extended Deadline: January 4th

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.

Submitters have the option of purchasing Coverage & Analysis for their screenplay during the submission process. For detailed information about the Coverage & Analysis Program see our website (http://atlantafilmfestival.com/coverage-analysis/) . This Coverage & Analysis is completely optional and will not affect your chances of winning.


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. The only exception to this rule is a screenplay that has been revised after purchasing Coverage & Analysis. For more information see our FAQ.

Once a project is listed “In Consideration” on Withoutabox or FilmFreeway, 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)


Feature Screenplays can be between 80-130 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range will not be considered for the competition. We accept feature screenplays of any genre.

Pilot Screenplays can be between 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.

**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. We accept short film screenplays of any genre.


Pilot and Short Film Screenplays

The winners of the pilot and short film competitions will receive a one-on-one consultation with an industry professional in their genre. For pilots, we provide consultation with an Atlanta writer working in either the television or web series industry. For short films, we provide consultation with a short film writer/director in the Atlanta area who has extensive experience with production and the festival circuit. These opportunities are 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.

Feature Screenplays

The winners of the feature screenplay competition will be given the opportunity to participate in our annual Atlanta Film Festival 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. (Travel is only guaranteed for winners in the US and Canada).

All Winners

All winners will receive an invitation and complimentary badge to attend the first ever three-day Writers Summit at the Atlanta Film Festival (presented by The Atlanta Film Society and ScreenCraft). This event will feature panels, workshops, private mentoring and parties with top Oscar and EMMY-winning and blockbuster screenwriters, as well as agents, managers, producers and studio executives. It will be an exclusive and unparalleled opportunity to learn from the best in Hollywood, in a personal environment where unguarded conversations and long-term partnerships can be forged. All attendees will have access to the opening night and evening parties of the Atlanta Film Festival as well as private networking with industry giants at daily writers Happy Hours.

All winners also receive an All-Access Badge to the Atlanta Film Festival where they can network with directors and industry members from all over the world. At the festival, they will also have the opportunity to take part in a staged reading of their screenplay for the festival attendees. This reading will be conducted by Atlanta SAG 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.

*Estimated value of Goods/Services: 2,500 U.S. Dollar


Feature screenplays, television screenplays, and short film 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 story lines without the proper paperwork will be disqualified.


By submitting my project for consideration to the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival I acknowledge that I have read and agree to all rules and regulations (listed above) for submission to the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival.

I understand and agree that my submission must be accompanied by a submission fee paid in full and a PDF, and that it is my full responsibility as the submitter to ensure my submission is complete and remains complete throughout the submission process.

I acknowledge that entry fees are non-refundable, and that ATLFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission without refund of submission fees.

I acknowledge that it is the sole responsibility of the writer(s) to ensure their screenplay is properly formatted and suitable for submission.

By submitting to the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition I am affirming the following:

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

2) For works written by more than one writer, all writers have agreed to submit the work for consideration

3) For works written by more than one writer, the collaborators no longer involved and not claiming copyright privileges have relinquished their claim to copyright in writing, or electronically, and proof can be provided

4) The screenwriter(s) have permission to use any work included in the screenplay that they have not written themselves

By entering my project for consideration to the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival, I authorize that my 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.