Screenwriting Expo Film Festival: About The Festival And Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival:

Who, What, When, Where, How, And Why

See "Deadlines and Timetable" at the bottom of the page

Who Is Running This Festival?

The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival is being produced by Creative Screenwriting Magazine and the Screenwriting Expo.  Creative Screenwriting is the word’s most widely read and most respected independent magazine covering movie and TV filmmaking.  The Screenwriting Expo, which will run concurrently with the film festival, is the world’s largest and most prestigious annual meeting on movie and TV screenwriting.

Who May Enter:

In this festival, the writer-director is the entrant if the writer and director are the same.  The director does not need to be one of the writers, but this is encouraged. Any narrative feature film or short narrative film completed since January 1, 2010, which does not have a U.S. distribution and has not had a theatrical run in Los Angeles is eligible.  

Films which have been distributed outside the U.S. but have not been distributed or theatrically released in the U.S are also eligible.  

Who Is Expected to Attend:

Film buyers, film financiers, studio executives and major production company executives are being invited as special guests.   Tickets are available to the public and to registrants at the annual Screenwriting Expo.


The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival is a new festival celebrating writers and directors.

When, Where:

The festival will be held Sept. 15-18, 2011, with the principal screening venue being the theater on the second floor of the Westin at Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles California 90045 USA.   If there is a sufficient number of entries, the festival will use additional venues.

How To Enter:

First, it’s important to read the rules and guidelines.  Then, click on any “Enter” link to go to  the entry page.  From there, you can enter at Withoutabox online or download a printable entry form.

How To Attend And See Films:

Certain film industry VIPs (film buyers and financiers, studio and major production company execs) will be invited as special guests.  Everyone else, please support the festival by buying tickets. They’‘re incredibly low-priced: $29.95 for the full four days or $19.95 for a single day’s screenings  -- with a steep discount for Screenwriting Expo registrants.   

Paid registrants at the Screenwriting Expo receive a special discount: $9.95 for all four days.

To buy tickets, please click any “Attend” link and follow the instructions.

Why the Screenwriting Expo Film Festival?

As you probably know, the word “Screenwriting Expo” is French for “author.”  

Briefly: this festival exists to celebrate writers and directors, who we believe are, in most cases, collectively the true “authors” and filmmakers of a film.

To see the long version of our reasons for this festival, scroll down below the “FAQ” to our brief essay, “Screenwriting Expo Theory, Revised – Why The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival”

The Screenwriting Expo Festival does not requirem but encourages, submissions in which the writer or one of the writers is also the director of the film.  In the future, we may add separate award divisions for writers and directors.  

The idea behind this focus is to seek and give exposure to emerging (or emerged elsewhere but not yet in the U.S.) stars of the future of American cinema.

We specifically solicit new feature and short narrative films which are either:

    – international entries which may have made a theatrical debut in other countries, but are not yet known to U.S. audiences; and

    – U.S. films which have not yet found their way to U.S. theatrical deals and release.  


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q. What is the Screenwriting Expo Film Festival?
A. The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival is a new, independent film festival which runs  concurrently with the annual Screenwriting Expo, the world’s largest and most prestigious meeting devoted to screenwriters and screenwriting.  The festival is here to introduce the work of up-and-coming writers and filmmakers to the largest possible audience, including some of Hollywood‘s most influential producers and agents.

Q. When is the festival?
In 2011, it is September 15-18, 2011

Q. Where will the festival take place?
In 2011, it is in the auditorium at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, 5400 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90045.  It is possible that some additional screenings will be held in ballrooms.

Q. Where can I see a list of panelists who plan to attend?
All panels will be part of the Screenwriting Expo.  The Film Festival will not schedule panels competing with Screenwriting Expo sessions.  There will be more than 100 sessions at the Screenwriting Expo on every aspect of screenwriting, as well as directing, and career advice.  For the full program, see


Q. Do the Screenwriting Expo and the Screenwriting Expo Film Festival take place at the same time?
Yes, and in the same location, the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, 5400 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Q. How do I buy a ticket to the Screenwriting Expo Film Festival Awards Luncheon?
Tickets are available at http://Screenwriting

Q. How many films will be shown?
The festival will show at least 27 hours of films, including shorts and feature-length films; at least 10 feature-length films and 10 shorts will be shown.

Q. At what times to the films screen?
Start tiimes wil be between 9 a..m. and  8 p.m. on each day of the Festival

Q. What kinds of films does Screenwriting Expo Film Festival screen?
Two.  Feature-length narrative films and narrative shorts.

Q. Can I volunteer at the festival?
Yes.  Please email



Screenwriting Expo Theory, Revised: Why The Screenwriting Expo Film Festival

We considered calling this festival "The Auteur Film Fest" because it focuses on rewarding the true "auteurs" (French for “author”) of independent and world film: writers and directors.  Our use of the term "auteur" or "author" is just a bit different from the originator of the phrase.  The "auteur theory" of  filmmaking was first advanced by a French film critic -- the great writer-director Francois Truffault, who was a theorist and critic before he became a filmmaker. 

Truffault’s theory, first advanced in an article in his mentor Andre Bazin’s Cahiers du Cinema, was that the director is the “author” of the film.  He cited the work of such great directors as Jean Renoir and Albert Hitchcock.   His theory was imported to the U.S. by, among others, the Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris.  It sought to explain the consistencies in styles, themes, and creative content across a director’s work by concluding that the director was the true “author” – that is, creator – of a film.

If the only Truffault you know is his role as scientist Claude Lacombe in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, may we suggest some of our favorite Truffault films,  --The 400 Blows, which kicked off the French New Wave of cinema, or Jules and Jim, or Day for Night (which won a Best Foreign Film Oscar, or the delightful Small Change, which was nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign film.)

Not So Fast...

Notwithstanding our great admiration for Truffault, we think he had it a bit wrong.  The great New Yorker (and, incongruously, TV Guide) critic Pauline Kael strongly disagreed with the Auteur theory.  So did the great American writer Joan Didion, who once wrote (we paraphrase) that if you want to know who the real author of a film is, look at the deal memo. 

One of Hollywood’s most vivid illustrations of Didion’s point was the very public fight that Terry Gilliam had with Universal chairman Sid Scheinberg over the various versions of Brazil – a battle which illustrates vividly that the exertion of control over the final cut  significantly affects who is the final “author” of a film.   Scheinberg got his way with a U.S. release of a consumer-friendly version with a happy ending.  It didn’t sell well despite the happy ending.  Hardly can one call Terry Gilliam the “author” of that version; if anyone was its author, Scheinberg and his rewrite staff were.  In retrospect, Scheinberg would have been better served to accept Gilliam’s darker version, a retelling of “1984,” for that is the “Brazil” we remember as a great work of cinema.  In all likelihood, no version would have made the studio financially happy.

Brazil further complicates the question of who is the real author when one considers its three screenwriters: Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and the great screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard.  Both Gilliam and Stoppard have long and brilliant records as screenwriters.  So what would Brazil have been without Stoppard’s participation?  And what was Charles McKeown's  contribution?  There is no easy way to tell. 

So who is (or more often, are) the real author(s) of any particular film?  The truth is that unless you are there during the writing, shooting, and editing, you don’t know – and even then, the degree to which each major creative contributor “authored” the film is debatable. 

However, generally speaking (and in the view of this festival), most often true authorship is some combination of the writer and the director -- usually with some input and influence of whomever was brave enough to put up the money. 

In the future, we plan to have award divisions in the future separately celebrating writers, writers-directors, and directors.   If we hear enough of a clamor for a writers-only and/or a directors/only division, we will consider adding them this year.  Certainly in the future.

So welcome to the Screenwriting Expo Film Festival, a celebration of the principal creators of our movies, the writer and the director – and whomever was brave enough to put up the money!

Deadlines and Timetable

At This Site
Early At
Last Chance*
of Selections

May 15, 2011
June 5, 2011
July 3, 2011
July 18, 2011*
August 20, 2011
Sept.  15-18, 2011
Sept. 18, 2011

* A one- or two-week extension is possible but unlikely.

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