2019 Screenwriting Competition FAQ

Can you tell me a little about the competition?

Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration, Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country and one of the most acclaimed festivals in the South. Hosted in Music City, USA, NashFilm attracts enthusiastic film lovers from all across the country and has been praised by film-goers and filmmakers alike for its unique combination of big city festival atmosphere and laid back Southern hospitality. With over 250 films from 56 countries, a screenplay competition, episodic competition, live music showcases, the new Creators Conference and parties almost every night, the 2018 festival drew approximately 40,000 attendees and sold out nearly 40 films and events.

The Screenwriting Competition is entering its 6th year and has been met with great enthusiasm by our festival-goers and emerging screenwriters. Last year, we received over 1400 entries and awarded nearly $50,000 worth of cash and and in-kind prizes, and got to know some amazing screenwriters from all over the world.


What are the deadlines?

August 1 – Competition Opens

September 30 – Earlybird Deadline

December 31 – Regular Deadline

February 15 – Late Deadline

May 31 – Extended Deadline

Prices vary by category and deadline. The earlier you submit, the lower the submission cost.


What are the suggested lengths for scripts?

Feature: 40-130 pages (although, we suggest keeping it between 80-120)

Short: 40 pages or fewer

60 min. Teleplay: 45-65 pages

30 min. Teleplay: 30 or fewer pages


What are the categories?

There are 8 total categories, separated into Features, Shorts, and Teleplays. You may submit your script to as many categories as you seem fitting (although, you’ll need to pay an entry fee for each one).

Drama Feature Screenplay
Comedy Feature Screenplay
Horror Feature Screenplay
Genre Feature Screenplay
60 Minute Pilot
30 Minute Pilot
Tennessee Screenplay (Feature + Shorts)
Short Screenplay


What are the prizes?

Feature Screenplay Competitions:

  • Grand Jury Prize of $3,000
  • Drama and Comedy winner – $1,000
  • Horror and Genre winner – $750

Short Screenplay Competition:

  • Grand Jury Prize – $1,000

Teleplay Competition:

  • 30-minute Pilot – $750
  • 60-minute Pilot – $1,000

Every Semi-finalist gets one (1) VIP festival badge.

Every Finalist gets two (2) VIP festival badges.


When are Semi-Finalists, Finalists and Winners announced?

The Semi-Finalists and Finalists are scheduled to be announced by August 2019.Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the festival in October 2019.


Do you accept scripts for existing TV shows?

No, we do not accept Spec Scripts at this time.


May I submit to multiple categories?

You sure can! You will need to pay an entry fee for each category, but may enter as many categories as you deem appropriate for your script.


Can I submit a revised copy of a script that I submitted a previous year?



Can I get a refund?

NashFilm does not give refunds or waivers. All submissions are final.


What if my script has been optioned?

NashFilm only accepts screenplays and teleplays that have not been sold and are not currently under option prior to October 3, 2019. (Congratulations, though!)


What qualifies a script for the TN category?

To qualify, the entrant must have a valid TN driver’s license, state ID or student ID. The entrant is responsible for the authenticity of this claim and any inquiry regarding that authenticity. You may be asked to provide proof of residence at any point during the duration of the contest.


Do you accept adaptations?

Absolutely. Permission to adapt an original work must be submitted as the first page in the screenplay PDF.


Who will be reading my script?

The first two rounds will be reviewed by trained readers carefully chosen by the festival staff. After being selected, every reader is required to go through training provided by the festival in order to begin judging. In later rounds, each script is reviewed by industry professionals. The Finalist Jury consists of high-level industry professionals including professional screenwriters, literary agents, managers, and production companies. Select winning scripts will also be offered to additional high-level professionals upon completion of the festival.


Do I need to get my script copyrighted in order to enter?

Although we do not require you to copyright your material, we strongly suggest you do so upon completion of your screenplay. We recommend registering your screenplay with both the Writers Guild of America and the US Copyright Office.


Anything else I need to know?

We hope you’ll share your scripts with us here in Nashville! If you think of any more questions, please email us at screenwriting@nashfilm.org.