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Atlanta Film Festival
Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition
Active Since 2008
The ATLFF Screenplay Competition is proud to once again be included in Movie Maker Magazine's 15 Submission-Worthy Screenwriting Competitions of 2023.
Accepting Features, TV Pilots, and Shorts
Enter Now
Enter on or before September 13th to save $20


Now approaching its 49th 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 saw 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 approximately 200 local and international works selected from over 9,400 submissions (consisting of 7,000+ films and 2,400+ screenplays) representing 50+ countries. ATLFF was named a “Top 50 Festival Worth the Entry Fee”, one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker magazine, and one of USA Today’s ten best film festivals.

The Atlanta Film Festival is proud to present the 17th Annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2025.

ATLFF Screenplay Competition

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. Recently, the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition was recognized as one of MovieMaker magazine’s “15 Submission-Worthy Screenwriting Competitions of 2021, 2022, and 2023.”

The 2025 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 program with professionals in the 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, but the winners also get to build meaningful relationships with their mentors and network with the diverse and experienced crowd of filmmakers and industry insiders who 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. He co-wrote and directed The Circle, which starred Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Jon Boyega and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. He currently has several projects in the works, in addition to serving as an executive producer and a writer for the series Sorry for Your Loss, starring Elizabeth Olsen.

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 wrote, directed, and produced The Photograph starring Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield and is currently reteaming with Issa Rae for American Princess.

Mike Makowsky, 2016 Pilot Screenplay Winner, went on to become a Black List honoree. He wrote the films Take Me, which starred Taylor Schilling, and I Think We’re Alone Now, which starred Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning and premiered at Sundance in 2019 under the direction of Reed Morano. His newest feature, Bad Education, stars Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano, 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)

  • 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)

  • Natalie Metzger - Producer (Thunder Road, Greener Grass)

  • Annmarie Morais - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer (American Soul)

  • Bragi Schut - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer (Escape Room)

  • Alisha Brophy - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer (Inside Job)

  • Kurt Kuenne - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer/Director/Editor (Dear Zachary)

  • Barbara Stepansky - Academy Nicholl Fellowship and WGA Award-winning Writer (Flint)

  • Anthony Grieco - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer (Best Sellers)

  • John Griffin - Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning Writer/Creator (From)

  • Milan Chakraborty - Producer (My Friend Dahmer, Assassination Nation)

  • Brandon Harris - Producer (The Burial, Master, The Voyeurs)

  • Rochee Jeffrey - Writer (SMILF, Woke)

  • Cheri Steinkellner - 4-time Emmy Award-winning Writer/Producer/Professor (Cheers, Teacher's Pet)

  • James Ponsoldt - Writer/Director (Smashed, The Spectacular Now, The Circle)

  • Lane & Ruckus Skye - Writer/Director Duo (The Devil to Pay, Becky, Rattle the Cage)

  • Andi Berhing - Director, Producer, Location Manager (Dynasty, Tom Swift)

  • Melodie Sisk - Producer, Director, Actress (Quantum Cowboys, Death of Dick Long, Little Sister)

  • Takashi Doscher - Director, Producer, Writer (Chicago P.D., Only, Still)

Prices & Deadlines

Sep 13th
Oct 18th
Nov 4th
Feature Screenplay
Pilot Screenplay
Short Screenplay


The Atlanta Film Festival prides itself on a commitment to furthering the careers of filmmakers and writers who are selected for the festival and who win the screenplay competition. With that in mind, we prioritize once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!

Short Film Screenplay Winner

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

  • A cash prize of $250

  • Trophy

  • Travel stipend and 2 nights of accommodation to the 2025 Atlanta Film Festival 

  • A mentoring meeting with a short film filmmaker with extensive experience with production and the festival circuit, designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script and their career, and to develop what’s intended to be a lasting relationship with a like-minded and accomplished filmmaker.

  • An All-Access Badge to the 2025 Atlanta Film Festival 

Pilot Screenplay Winner

One winner will be chosen in the pilot category. This winner will receive: 

  • A cash prize of $350

  • Trophy

  • Travel stipend and 2 nights of accommodation to the 2025 Atlanta Film Festival 

  • A mentoring meeting with a writer working in either the television or web series industry, designed to give our winners the chance to sit down and talk about the next steps for their script and their career, and to develop what’s intended to be a lasting relationship with a like-minded and accomplished filmmaker.

  • An All-Access Badge to the 2025 Atlanta Film Festival 

Feature Screenplay Winners

Three winners will be chosen in the feature film category. These winners will receive:

  • A cash prize of $500

  • Trophy

  • Travel stipend and 2 nights of accommodation to the 2024 Atlanta Film Festival 

  • Exclusive access to our annual Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriters Retreat. This intimate, invitation-only, and all-expenses paid program offers our winners the chance to meet industry professionals and workshop their screenplay in a scenic setting, designed to give our winners an extended opportunity to discuss next steps and to develop what’s intended to be long-lasting relationships with like-minded and accomplished filmmakers.

  • An All-Access Badge to the 2025 Atlanta Film Festival

2024 Winners on Coverfly

See Other Placements


Feb 14th
Mar 7th
Mar 28th


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 2025 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ at https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/screenplay-submission-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, it is preferred, but not required, that applicants have not had previous screenplays produced by non-independent companies or groups.

To be eligible for consideration, submitted screenplays should not be optioned, purchased, or otherwise produced. If your screenplay is optioned, purchased and/or produced during the course of the competition, please contact us immediately.


  • After a submission is received and processed, updated or revised drafts of that submission or associated screenplays cannot be accepted.

  • Applicants can submit as many UNIQUE screenplays as they’d like to the competition. Each submission requires an application, payment, and PDF.

  • Duplicate submissions are not allowed. Any duplicate submissions of the same screenplay, with or without revisions, will be disqualified without refund. Please be sure to carefully review and edit your screenplay before submitting.


Screenplays with more than one author or contributor are eligible, as long as all are identified in the application material. Please make note of each author’s name in your submission. Should a screenplay with two or more writers be named a winner, the award will be divided equally among the authors. A work without adequate attributions may be disqualified.


Screenplays should be formatted according to general industry standards. Pages should be numbered and must be typed in 12 point Courier font with customary screenplay margins. Entries must be in English. Dialogue in another language is acceptable, so long as an English translation is provided.

While the competition has no specific rules regarding title pages, it is recommended that the title page includes the title, author(s), and any relevant registration or copyright information.

Screenplays must be submitted as a PDF. Any other format will not be accepted and can result in automatic disqualification and a forfeiture of the submission fee.


All screenplays will be reviewed by the reading committee and festival staff. Due to the high volume of submissions, feedback, notes, and coverage are not included with entry.


Please keep track of the deadlines closely to submit within specific submission windows. The only difference in deadlines are the associated submission fees. All deadlines are set for 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time (with the exception of our final deadline on November 3, 2024, at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time).

Any submission with an unpaid balance after a deadline will be required to pay the subsequent deadline’s submission fee. Failure to pay the appropriate fee will result in disqualification without refund. Any entry without a submission fee paid in full by the final deadline will be disqualified.

The full list of deadlines (and associated submission fees) can be found at: atlantafilmfestival.com/submit-your-screenplay.


Once a project is submitted and processed on Coverfy 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

- Failure to comply with submission Rules & Terms

- Change in Option or Production Status

- Withdrawing your submission for any reason (including changes of heart)

Please be sure to carefully review and edit your screenplay before submitting. Revised or updated drafts cannot be accepted once an entry is received.


Please review all submission categories carefully before submitting your project. All entrants are required to pay the submission fee for their film’s appropriate category. If you believe you have submitted your screenplay to the wrong category, contact us immediately. While we can typically facilitate a change in category, the entrant will be responsible for any changes in submission fees. We cannot offer partial refunds for categories with a lower fee. If the new category has a higher fee, the entrant is responsible for paying the difference. ATLFF reserves the right to determine eligibility of a submission in each respective category. Refunds will not be offered for submission to an incorrect category.

FEATURE SCREENPLAYS can be between 70-130 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range may be disqualified without refund. Feature screenplays of any genre are eligible.

PILOT SCREENPLAYS can be between 10-70 pages in length. Anything outside of that page range may be 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. Additionally, the competition cannot guarantee that any supplementary materials will be reviewed. However, you may include supplementary materials in your submission 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 may be disqualified without refund. Short film screenplays of any genre are eligible.


A discount is available for submissions written by Georgia-based screenwriters. In order to qualify, at least one writer must CURRENTLY reside in the state of Georgia.

Email GA@atlantafilmfestival.com for more information. Please allow up to 7 business days for a response, particularly when approaching a submission deadline.

Please note, submitting with the Georgia Screenplay code makes no difference to the chances of being selected as a winner. This code is intended as a way to support our local filmmaking community by offering a low-cost means of entry (and also makes it easier for us to identify local screenplays within the thousands of submissions we receive each year).

All screenplays submitted with this code must follow all of the rules and terms for the category they submit to. If you submit using this code without meeting the necessary criteria, you will be disqualified from consideration for the festival and will not be issued a refund.


Feature screenplays and television screenplays must be the original work of the writer(s). If the screenplay is based on another person’s life, the writer(s) must also attach a signed statement acknowledging and approving the Life Rights. 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 or that any collaborators no longer involved and not claiming copyright privileges over the material have relinquished their claim to copyright in writing, 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.


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 http://www.atlantafilmsociety.org/code-of-conduct.

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. The Atlanta Film Festival also reserves the right to cancel or reimagine any portion of the prize, particularly as it relates to a planned staged reading.

By entering your project for consideration in the 2025 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.

If you have any questions that are not answered here or in our Screenplay FAQ please email us at screenplay@atlantafilmfestival.com. We are unable to address inquiries via phone.