2014 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition

Screenwriter Moon Molson with mentor Autumn Canady

Screenwriter Moon Molson with mentor Autumn Canady


The Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition looks to discover high quality screenplays and then help 3 writers further develop and refine their script through an intensive workshop retreat that will coincide with the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival (March/April 2014) with professional writers and filmmakers.


The Atlanta Film Festival has a 4 decade long history of discovering and nurturing new filmmaking talent, including showing early works by Robert Rodriguez, Spike Lee, and Victor Nuñez. Recognizing that the screenplay is one of the fundamental foundations of filmmaking, the Screenplay Competition was founded in 2008 to expand ATLFF's tradition of discovery and support. The retreat brings the writers of the winning screenplays together not only with established writers, but also with producers and directors who can provide a different perspective on the script and advice on how to move forward towards getting the project produced.

Past Mentors have included Kent Osborne (HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS), Morgan J. Freeman (HURRICANE), Anne Hubbell (THANKSGIVING), Carly Hugo (PETER AND VANDY, HOT COFFEE), Stephen Israel (SWIMMING WITH SHARKS), J.T. Petty (THE BURROWERS, SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY), Joel Zwick (MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING) Amy Dotson (Producer & Managing Director for IFP NY), AND Rob Long (CHEERS, GEORGE & LEO).

Our mentors in 2013 were James Ponsoldt (SMASHED, THE SPECTACULAR NOW) Autumn Canaday, Director of Development, Green Door Pictures Jamie Babbit (BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER, ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE) Kary Dorento (PORTLANDIA, SOUTH PARK)

A reading of the winning screenplays will be held at the Highland Ballroom on Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30 PM.

2014 Winners:

  • Be Normal — Lyvia A. Martinez - Orange, CA
    When a young, Mormon woman finds herself in love with her roommate, she must find the balance between her religion and her feelings, and go through the difficult process of coming out to her family, her friends, and, most importantly, herself.

    • Bio: Growing up in Puerto Rico, Lyvia always loved films. Her dad rented movies every weekend and she used to make little parodies with her friends (including a particularly horrible Spanish remake of ‘Clue.') With that love, she studied film at Brigham Young University, where she focused on producing, screenwriting and play writing. For her thesis project, she co-wrote and produced the short 'Inspector 42,' which went on to enter into several festivals and win two Student Emmys. She went on to receive her Masters in Screenwriting from Chapman University, and now works as a graphic artist and writer. 

  • Whatever Happened to Barbara Brown — Lutfu Emre Cicek - Istanbul, Turkey
    “Whatever Happened to Barbara Brown” depicts the past and present ordeals of a young housewife in 1950s Baltimore as she unravels under heavy scrutiny following the disappearance of her husband and his mistress.

    • Lutfu Emre Cicek was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. After moving to New York, he completed a two-year conservatory in filmmaking at New York Film Academy, where he wrote, directed, and worked on several short films. His thesis film Mac & Cheese premiered at Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival ‘12 in Washington DC, went on to screen at several other film festivals in New York and was given an award of merit by the Accolade Competition. His second short film Sinyal premiered at Telluride Horror Show ’13 and was nominated for best foreign film at this year's Shockfest Film Festival in Hollywood as well as garnering seven other official selections across the states. It will next screen at the International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival in Phoenix and will be featured as part of the Spring Showcase Selection for the American Online Film Awards 2014. What Ever Happened to Barbara Brown? is his first feature script, loosely based around the lead character in his first film. It was recently nominated for best script written outside of North America at Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition. He currently lives back in his hometown and has begun working on a low-budget Turkish language horror film to be shot later this year.

  • Rattle the Cage — Lane Skye & Ruckus Skye - Atlanta, GA
    Despite his best intentions, Tucker Lawson finds himself locked in a holding cell in the sleepy town of Avery, GA with no I.D. and a few bruises from last night’s mistakes. But being unable to make bail is the least of his problems when a stranger disguised as a deputy kills the Sheriff in cold blood. With nowhere to run, Tucker is forced to play along with the madman’s twisted game or risk setting off a bloody chain of events that will forever scar this once peaceful town.

    • Ruckus and Lane Skye are screenwriters and filmmakers based in Atlanta, Georgia. Together they began making shorts in 2003 with the goal of continuing the rich tradition of southern storytelling by creating intimate, character driven films. Their short films Prayers from Pelham, Ms. Marvel's Day Off, and Hungry for Love with Patrick Richwood (Pretty Woman) and Gerald McCollouch (CSI) have all enjoyed healthy festival runs. Ruckus and Lane are 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semifinalists with their script Rattle The Cage finishing in the top 50. The script is currently being developed as a feature film.

2014 Mentors:

  • Michael Lucker is an acclaimed writer/director with twenty years experience creating film, television and animation. He began his career writing and directing television commercials in college in Boston. Soon after he landed in Los Angeles working in production on series for ABC, NBC, CBS and HBO before taking a job as assistant to Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment on feature films Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, Back To The Future ll & lll and Jurassic Park. He went on to work in creative affairs at Hollywood Pictures, helping develop the movies Crimson Tide, Terminal Velocity, Taking Care of Business and Straight Talk. He then went onto write movies for DreamWorks, Paramount, Disney, Fox, Universal and more, including “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” which was nominated for the Academy Award for best-animated movie.

  • Rashaad Ernesto Green - Graduate of Dartmouth College and NYU Grad Film, New York native Rashaad Ernesto Green has been included in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and indieWIRE's Ten New Voices in Cinema.  His films have screened on HBO, BET, Sundance and festivals internationally.  He’s been supported by HBO, NBC, Time Warner, Sundance, Tribeca Film Institute and IFP.  Rashaad's first feature and thesis film Gun Hill Road premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, opened #1 for independent films in the summer of 2011 and is now available on DVD & Netflix.  Please visit www.gunhillroad.com & www.mialmafilms.com for further details.
  • David Paterson is a writer, professional stuntman, adjunct professor of screenwriting for NYIT of Manhattan, and serves on the Film Advisory Board for the Savannah, Gold Coast, First Time and Big Apple Film Festivals.  David has served as a panelist for numerous film festivals in the U.S. and abroad, and is in great demand as a guest lecturer at colleges, universities and writer symposiums, most recently lecturing at the RIO IFF in Brazil. His latest film, THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS, starring Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover begins filming in NYC this month.

2014 Retreat Location:

Comments from participants in the Screenwriter’s Retreat:

"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

"The ATLFF was absolutely a career high.  I was so honored to be apart 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

“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.”

“Not only did I absolutely have a blast down there, as we were all treated like VIPs for the weekend, but more importantly, the workshop proved to be invaluable, as I received a lot of great notes and feedback that should definitely help me in making this next draft even more compelling.”

Screenplay Competition Submission Info
For scripts 75 to 130 pages

Fee Schedule for Screenplay Competition

Fee Schedule for Screenplay Competition

**If you're a WAB Member and a Student/ATLFF365 Member the fee is $45.00

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  • Accepting Screenplays Starting: April 22, 2013
  • 12 to 15 Finalists Announced: February 3, 2014
  • Phone Interviews with Finalists: February 4-6, 2014
  • 3 Winners Announced: February 7, 2014
2013 Screenplay Retreat Group Session

2013 Screenplay Retreat Group Session

Submission Rules

Feature screenplays must be 75 to 130 pages long in standard screenplay format with 12-point courier font. Screenplays longer than 130 pages will not be accepted.

Entrants must submit a PDF file available for judging. (Convert to PDF) Save a tree: No hard (printed) copies will be accepted.

For your own protection, we recommend that you copyright or register your work.

12 to 16 Finalists will be chosen from submitted screenplays. 3 Winners will be chosen from the Finalists.

Finalists must be available for a phone interview during the week of January  13 - January 17, and please note that the award for winning the competition is a trip to Atlanta for a Screenwriting Retreat during the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival. Travel (from within the United States and from Canada) and lodging will be provided for the weekend (Wednesday - Sunday).

Only one writer per winning script will have their travel and lodging covered.

International scripts (in English) will be accepted and are eligible to be a Finalist. International Finalists who will be in the United States or Canada at the time of the retreat will be eligible to be one of the 3 winners. The Atlanta Film Festival will not cover travel from outside the United States or Canada.

Terms & Conditions

Pen Names and Pseudonyms are not allowed. Writers must submit screenplays under their legal name.

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 you affirm 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