Filmmakers Charles Beale and Jess Jacklin had a sense that many of their peers were dealing with similar hurdles to getting feature films made, even if they had already produced shorts that did well on the festival circuit. “Independent short filmmakers and screenwriters desire one thing: to make their first feature, but most festivals don’t really get you there. It’s more about ticket sales and giving out laurels,” Beale tells No Film School.

So they decided to do something about it by introducing StudioFest, an innovative new festival model where entering with your short or screenplay can result in financing and experienced production partners. “We aim to align the skew,” says Beale, “bringing talented filmmakers straight to their first feature.”

StudioFestSubmit at

What is StudioFest?

StudioFest is a new model of film festival where winners get a chance to make their first feature films with experienced industry partners.

Are you eligible?

In terms of who can enter, Jacklin describes, “We’re looking for the innovator. Those that are out there making great content but maybe don’t have the connections to get to that next step.” More specifically, you can be from any country, as long as you are age 18 or older, your submissions are in English (or with English subtitles), and you have not yet made a feature film.

What if you get selected as a finalist?

Five short-form filmmakers and five feature-length scriptwriters will be selected to attend the festival on September 21-23, 2018 in a beautiful Catskills town called Phoenicia, New York (with free room and board and a travel stipend). You will spend the weekend with a select group of industry pros, including esteemed judges like actress Jamie Donnelly, screenwriter Stephen H. Foreman, filmmaker Andrew Wonder, and yours truly! That’s right. I’ll be there to help pick the winners.

At the end of the weekend, one director and one screenwriter will be given the opportunity to partner with StudioFest to embark on making your film, with a budget between 30 and 50 thousand dollars.

Enter now

In order to enter, you must submit a work sample—for directors, a narrative short film under 30 minutes and for screenwriters, a feature screenplay between 60 and 120 pages. And even more good news! The organizers have offered 25% off submission fees for NFS reader who enter the code on Withoutabox and FilmFreeway: StudioFestNFS.

Entries are now open at with the following deadlines:

  • Early Bird = $35 until April 22nd
  • Regular = $50 until July 8th
  • Late = $65 until August 3rd

Remember to enter the code StudioFestNFS for 25% off submission fees. Good luck! Hope to see you in September!