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Based in the U.S.? Got a Screenplay Idea for Beijing? Then China Has a Contest for You

New screenwriting competitions appear all the time, as we discussed earlier this week here on NFS. As always, when evaluating a competition, I consider what it will do to further the career of an aspiring screenwriter. So when the Chinese government decides to launch a screenwriting competition specifically for U.S.-based screenwriters of any nationality, that’s not a screenwriting competition you hear about every day. Don’t start firing off your script just yet, though. You want to enter this contest? You’d better have a story that takes place in Beijing.

This past Monday, Mar. 4, the Cultural Assets Office of the Beijing Municipal Government announced the launch of the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition. The contest seeks feature film proposals and short film screenplays set in Beijing from U.S.-based screenwriters of any nationality.


More specifically, here is what you need to know about the feature film competition:

  • Open to anyone currently living in the U.S., regardless of nationality, including professionals, students and anyone else who wants to enter.
  • A 5-11 page story proposal plus a one-page cover sheet with brief synopsis (6-12 pages total), all included in a single file (.doc, .docx, or .pdf formats only). Name and contact information should NOT appear anywhere in the proposal. The story proposal must include the story’s beginning, middle and end. Sample dialogue is strongly encouraged.
  • Beijing must be featured prominently as a location in the proposal (but does not have to be the only location).
  • The story proposal must be for a film that is appropriate for public screenings in the U.S. and in China.
  • Submissions must be written in English.
  • Collaborations are NOT eligible. Individual writers only.
  • There is no entry fee.
  • Submissions must be received via the competition website by Apr. 7, 2013.
  • Five winners will receive an expense-paid week in Beijing plus $1,000.
  • After the week in Beijing, the five winners will be invited to write their feature-length screenplays based on their proposals. These screenplays will be due by August 20, 2013.
  • The Grand Prize winner will receive $15,000.

For current full-time students of any nationality enrolled in a college, university, or film school in the U.S., or recent graduates of such schools who have graduated on May 1, 2007 or later, the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition offers a short film screenplay competition:

  • A 3-11 page screenplay for a short film plus a one-page cover sheet with brief synopsis (4-12 pages total), all included in a single file (.doc, .docx, or .pdf formats only). Name and contact information should NOT appear anywhere in the submission.
  • Beijing must be featured prominently as a location in the proposal (but does not have to be the only location).
  • The story proposal must be for a film that is appropriate for public screenings in the U.S. and in China.
  • Submissions must be written in English and in standard screenplay format.
  • Collaborations are NOT eligible. Single writers only.
  • There is no entry fee.
  • Early bird deadline is Mar. 29, 2013. Early bird entrants are eligible to receive early bird prizes, consisting of 100 AMC gift cards valued at $100 each.
  • Final deadline is Apr. 20, 2013.
  • Ten winners will receive an expense-paid week in Beijing.
  • Seven of the ten winners will receive financing to have their short films produced in Beijing.

Need some visuals to inspire you? Check out the trailer for the competition:

According the competition’s official press release, the goal of the competition is “to foster artistic collaboration and an ongoing creative dialogue between China and the U.S.” Based on the entry criteria, a working knowledge of present-day Beijing would seem to be a requirement for most writers. That said, with enough research, an entrepreneurial screenwriter could figure out how to write a story based in Beijing without ever traveling there – it may be a stretch, but it’s possible. U.S.-based screenwriters already familiar with Beijing certainly have the advantage.

Although I don’t qualify for it, I personally like the short film competition as it is set up. The fact that seven of the ten finalists will actually get to shoot their short films in Beijing sounds like an amazing opportunity for current students and recent grads — plus no entry fee.

To find out more details about the competition, including the official rules and how to enter, check out the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition website.

What do you think about the newly launched Beijing International Screenwriting Competition? Do you think you have a story that could take place in Beijing and impress the judges? Let us know what you think about this new competition in the Comments.

Link: 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

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COMMENT POLICY

We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 16 COMMENTS

  • Raphael Wood on 03.8.13 @ 11:45AM

    It’s a very interesting competition, sadly not available for us EU guys.

  • No mention of ownership rights for all submitted scripts, winning scripts, or finished films?
    Lets face it the Chinese do not have a good record on honoring intellectual property rights.

    • You probably sign over all ownership. Nevertheless, I would be cautions considering how the government there deals with corporations, much less an individual.

  • “The story proposal must be for a film that is appropriate for public screenings in the U.S. and in China.”

    Oh, can’t wait to see what those restrictions would entail.

  • You could be the next Leni Riefenstahl!

  • Just curious to know if any of you have even ever been to China? I’m sure you guys also think the streets are flooded with rickshaws…

  • Not that “international” when it is restricted to USA!

    • in·ter·na·tion·al
      /ˌintərˈnaSHənl/
      Adjective
      Existing, occurring, or carried on between two or more nations.

      I’d say this fits the bill pretty well.

  • Nygel bissel on 03.11.13 @ 2:09AM

    No mention of ownership and copyright nowhere … I am not sure about that this contest. I am not that excited ..

  • Yeah this things reeks of copyright theft. I personally wouldn’t trust the Chinese government with my note pad let alone my script.

  • I’m a little sad that I’m a high school senior and can’t enter this….

  • Most screenplay competitions are dubious and an offer of 15K and a few bits and pieces minus any rights description confirms that to me. It is more than likely this is the standard arts grant arrangement. They already know who they are going to give the prize to, they just need to dress it in a contest to legitimize and publicize it.

    Writers rarely advance their career through these comps. They need working partnerships with directors and producers with fair and reasonable contracts. No easy job to achieve in an industry that thrives on exploiting people and where the means of distribution leave even the independent producers working for less than a third world shoe worker.

  • For what it’s worth: Recently I heard a producer who sets up co-production deals with China speak to a group of writers. He gave a few tips on elements for Chinese movies: No depiction of corrupt government officials (there are no corrupt officials in China); no mention of the baby trade, Falun Gong, Tibet, or the Dalai Lama. China has no movie-ratings system, so a project has to be suitable for a general audience.

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