El Paso, TX

July 18 - July 28, 2024 • El Paso, TX


Screenwriting competition returns with news twists

April 24

The El Paso Community Foundation Plaza Classic Film Festival’s screenwriting competition returns for a second year with a few new twists. In addition to a $500 first prize, the competition has added a $250 second prize, and a pitch fest for the finalists.

It’s open to anyone 18 and older. Entries must be feature-length scripts of no more than 120 pages. There are no genre restrictions.

Screenplays may be submitted at plazaclassic.com/screenwriting or Film Freeway.

The cost to submit is $30 through May 19, $40 from May 20 through June 12, and $50 from June 13-July 3. For an additional $15, an entrant will receive coverage, or written feedback, of their screenplay.

Screenplays must be uploaded in PDF format only. They must be anonymous, including a cover sheet with only the screenplay’s title (the entrant’s name and contact information will be included on the submission form), a logline, and payment. A point system will be used to grade the submissions, with a 50 point maximum. Scripts will be awarded up to 10 points each for premise, plot, characters, dialogue, and the script’s potential prospects.

The top 10 finalists and the winning screenplay will be announced before the Plaza Classic Film Festival, which is July 20-30.

The first prize writer will receive $500, a consultation with El Paso writer-director Lucky McKee (Poker Face, Old Man, Red, The Woman, and May, which will be shown in this year’s PCFF), and a table read of their screenplay on July 30. Second prize is $250. More prizes may be announced.

Finalists will be invited to tout their screenplays at the first Plaza Classic Film Festival Pitch Fest at 8 pm Wednesday, July 26 at the International Bar (INTL), 114A Mills Ave. Contestants will have 90 seconds to pitch their screenplays. Hector Gallardo of El Paso’s Subharmonic City Productions will select a $300 first prize toward production of a short film of the script. The audience will choose a favorite by applause — we’ll pass around a bucket for cash donations.

The 16th annual Plaza Classic Film Festival will feature more than 90 movies from July 20-30 in and around the Plaza Theatre. This year’s titles include Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally, and Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr., accompanied by Walt Strony on the Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. More titles will be announced soon.

Tickets go on sale in June. Passes are on sale at plazaclassic.com/tickets.

Call 915-533-4020 or email local@plazaclassic.com for more information about the contest.