Who We Are

Founded in 1995, the CineStory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit mentoring organization dedicated to mentoring talented emerging screenwriters and television writers regarding the craft and business of writing for the screen through its TV writing and screenwriting contests, retreats, fellowships, and events. These mentoring programs are designed for emerging writers with a high level of craft who are ready to enter or are in the early stages of navigating the entertainment industry.

CineStory has been named one of the best and biggest screenwriting contests by MoviebytesScript Reader ProThe Script Lab, and elsewhere.

What We Do 

CineStory runs two annual contests, one for screenwriters and one for TV writers, through which it provides writers the opportunity to attend retreats in Idyllwild, California. Our aim is to provide a supportive environment in which writers can push their creative boundaries and learn how to improve their writing craft while also learning about the business side of film or television writing to help them better understand writers' role in the entertainment industry. 

Whether a story explores dark indie fare or dishes out blockbuster action, CineStory's primary focus is on the craft of screenwriting and TV writing. Consequently, our retreats are geared toward educating attendees about how to improve their writing craft. Retreat attendees are paired with industry professionals for one-on-one feedback sessions and also attend specialized panel discussions to educate them about the craft and business of writing for the screen. There is one winner of each retreat & fellowship competition who, in addition to attending the retreat for free, receives a cash award and a one year educational mentorship with two industry professionals.

CineStory is not a talent representation service and does not manage and/or direct the development of writers’ careers, nor does it procure representation and/or employment for writers. 

How to Join Us

Retreat attendees are selected through CineStory's annual competitions, the Feature Retreat & Fellowship Competition and the TV Retreat & Fellowship competition.  Winners, semifinalists, and finalists will be invited to attend the retreat. Any remaining spots will be offered to quarterfinalists.

For more information about attending either retreat, please visit our Feature Fellowship & Retreat page or our TV Fellowship & Retreat page. 

Grand Prize Fellowships

Writers who enter each contest also are eligible to win that contest's Grand Prize Fellowship. A Fellowship consists of a cash prize, free tuition and housing for the applicable retreat, and a 12-month educational mentorship with 2 Hollywood professionals hand-picked to help the Fellow advance his/her craft and career. 

For more information about each contest's Grand Prize Fellowship and other prizes, please visit the Feature Prize Packages page and the TV Prize Packages page.

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Retreat Dates:

  • October 16 – October 19, 2021


Deadlines / Submission Fees

  • Early Deadline – January 18, 2021 ($50 Submission Fee)
  • Regular Deadline – February 15, 2021 ($69 Submission Fee)
  • Late Deadline – March 21, 2021 ($81 Submission Fee)
  • Extended Late Deadline – April 25, 2021 ($88 Submission Fee)


Announcements

  • Quarterfinalists - Mid-June
  • Semifinalists/Invitees - Early August
  • Finalists - Early September
  • Fellow - Mid-September


Formatting Guidelines:

  • Screenplays must be PDFs
  • Screenplays are judged anonymously; therefore, they must have CLEAN COVER PAGES (i.e., title only on the cover, no author’s name/contact information) and no identifying information anywhere in the body text or in the PDF file name.
  • Screenplays must be feature film screenplays from 85 to 125 pages in length (excluding cover page).
  • Body pages must be numbered.
  • No additional materials, artwork, illustrations etc. should be attached to the script.
  • Screenplays must be in English.
  • Materials will not be returned under any circumstances.
  • No teleplays of any kind will be accepted.
  • No substituted pages or other revisions will be accepted once you have submitted your script. A new version of a script may be resubmitted by filling out a new entry form and paying a new entry fee.
  • Entries that do not satisfy all Rules & Guidelines will be automatically disqualified and the submission fee WILL NOT be refunded.


Representations & Warranties:
As author(s) of the submitted material, I/we attest(s) to the following:

  • All information I/we have entered herein is accurate.
  • I/we are 18 years or older.
  • the submitted material is my/our original work, with all rights to said work held by me/us.
  • I/we will indemnify CineStory, hold it harmless and defend it against all claims, demands, losses, costs, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any stories submitted to the CineStory Screenwriting Awards or on any screenplay developed out of such stories.
  • I/we understand that CineStory judges, directors, officers, employees or agents may be exposed to or may develop materials and ideas that may be similar to those of the submitted material. I/we understand and acknowledge that I/we will not be entitled to any compensation from such similar material that is independently conceived and created.
  • I/we agree that I/we will never assert against CineStory (or any of its judges, directors, officers, employees or agents) any claim based on an assertion of plagiarism, idea theft, confidential or fiduciary relationship or any other theory relating to the submitted material.
  • I/we understand that individual feedback is not provided and that CineStory notifies winners only.
  • I/we have read, understood and complied with all guidelines and rules herein, and failure to do so may result in disqualification.


Additional Rules & Guidelines:

  • Entrants must be 18 or older.
  • The Grand Prize Feature Fellowship winner must attend the Feature Retreat in order to receive the cash award and other prizes. If a Fellowship winner cannot attend the Retreat, that person will be disqualified and a new winner will be determined.
  • Replacement pages and/or new versions of a script WILL NOT be accepted once the script has been submitted. A new version of a script may be resubmitted by filling out a new entry form and paying a new entry fee.
  • Promo/discount codes may only be used in the CineStory Store. No promo/discount codes may be used with the Early Bird Submission Fee. Only one promo/discount code per submission is allowed. Failure to comply with these promo/discount code guidelines will automatically disqualify a submission and there will be no refund of the submission fee.
  • Any feature film screenplay from any genre will be considered.
  • Entrants must not have sold and/or produced (or had produced by a third party) a feature-length screenplay or pitch for a feature-length screenplay in the last 5 years. Entrant also must not have written any first draft feature-length screenplays as a work-for-hire writer for third parties in the last 5 years. Performing rewrites or polishes of feature-length screenplays originally written by someone other than the Entrant does not exclude the Entrant from entering the contest.
  • CineStory notifies winners only. Entrants are advised to check CineStory’s website and e-newsletter for judging announcements.
  • Entered screenplays must not be optioned, sold or produced at the time of entry.
  • Multiple entries are accepted, provided a signed entry form and appropriate entry fee is attached to each submission.
  • Multiple authorship is acceptable. However, if the screenplay wins an award, only one award will be given and it will be divided equally among the writers.
  • Screenplays must be the original work of the author. If based on another person’s life story, a statement attesting to the rights obtained must be attached. No adaptations of other written work will be accepted unless the writer owns the rights to the original material and a statement attesting to such ownership is attached; provided, however, that any adaptation of written work that is in the Public Domain is eligible for submission.
  • There must be no dispute about the ownership of submitted screenplays or the writer’s right to submit a screenplay.
  • CineStory recommends registering screenplays with the WGA or the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.
  • Judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into. Sorry, we cannot provide individual feedback from the judges.
  • Entrants acknowledge that CineStory, its judges, mentors and officers may be exposed to or may develop materials and ideas that may be similar to those of the submitted material. Entrants acknowledge they will not be entitled to any compensation from such similar material which is independently conceived and created.
  • Entrants agree to never assert against CineStory (or any of its judges, directors, officers, employees or agents) any claim based on an assertion of plagiarism, idea theft, confidential or fiduciary relationship or any other theory relating to the submitted material.
  • Winners will be responsible for their own U.S. income tax withholding.
  • Entering the contest constitutes permission to use the winners’ names and likenesses for publicity and promotions with no additional compensation.
  • Retreat fees are determined per individual retreat based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to then-current vendor estimates, valuations of mentor sessions determined by then-current entertainment industry standards (e.g., mentor sessions as of 2020 valued at $500), and then-current valuations of comparable retreats.
  • CineStory does not issue refunds of submission fees and/or retreat fees that have become nonrefundable under the terms of retreat invitations. Any and all such payments made to CineStory are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, withdrawal or disqualification of a screenplay for any reason, withdrawal from or failure to attend a retreat due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, and/or loss of employment.
  • All entries must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
  • CineStory reserves the right to extend the final deadline; however, an extended deadline is not guaranteed. CineStory will not accept revisions of previously submitted screenplays if it chooses to extend the deadline unless the screenplay is accompanied by an additional submission fee as stated in these Rules & Guidelines.
  • CineStory is not responsible for entries lost, stolen or damaged in transit.
  • Finalists are required to submit a letter and video as part of the finals judging process.
  • Entries that do not satisfy all Rules & Guidelines will be automatically disqualified and the submission fee WILL NOT be refunded.


All Rules & Guidelines are subject to change without notice.

The CineStory Foundation