Public Radio International signs on as official sponsor of the inaugural Fiction Podcast Script Competition

For inquiries, contact Lauren Kelcher Stevenson

AUSTIN, Texas—May 9, 2017—

In order to further support writers and storytellers, Austin Film Festival, (AFF), also known as “The Writers Festival”, is pleased to announce 2017 sponsors and judges for its Screenplay, Film, Digital Series, Playwriting, and Fiction Podcast Script Competitions. Sponsors will serve on the jury for their category and, schedules permitting, participate in AFF’s writers Conference as panelists as well as holding meetings with finalists during or after the 24th Annual Austin Film Festival, taking place this October 26 – November 2.

  • Public Radio International (PRI) has officially signed on as the sponsor of the inaugural Fiction Podcast Script Competition which is open to scripts for any ongoing series intended for a purely acoustic medium. PRI is a key player in our country’s public media system; by producing and distributing programming to public radio stations nationwide and on digital platforms, they inspire curiosity and encourage civic engagement that leads to a more informed, empathetic and connected world. AFF has added a late deadline to the Fiction Podcast Script Competition: July 7.
  • Sweetwood Creative, an Austin based production company led by Pat Hazell and Katie Goan, will be underwriting this year’s Playwriting Award. Sweetwood Creative: your Humor Resources Department produces original theatrical experiences, develops custom content, and provides creative consulting to writers, producers, and advertising agencies.
  • Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) is the underwriting sponsor of the Drama Screenplay Award category. Drama Finalist scripts will be judged by a select panel of WGAE screenwriters and the winner will be presented by a WGAE representative at the Awards Luncheon.
  • Sony Pictures Animation is the official sponsor of the Comedy Screenplay Award. The studio behind Hotel Transylvania 2¸ Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and the upcoming The Emoji Movie will supply a representative to judge for the Semifinalist round of the Comedy category and one Sony screenwriter to join our panel of judges to evaluate the Finalists. Entries in this category are open to all genres of comedy and do not need to be exclusively animated scripts.
  • AMC returns as the official sponsor and judge for the One-Hour Pilot Award for the fifth year in a row. The AMC One-Hour Pilot Award is open to any pilot script written in the one-hour format for an original television series.
  • Skybound Entertainment is the sponsor for this year’s Sci-Fi Screenplay Award. The multiplatform entertainment company is led by Robert Kirkman and David Alpert, responsible for such television hits including The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Outcast and the upcoming Universal feature Invincible
  • Enderby Entertainment, co-founded by producers Rick Dugdale and Daniel Petrie, Jr., is sponsoring their own exclusive category, which is open to feature scripts in all genres with an original concept and distinctive voice that can be independently produced for under $10 million.
  • Stage 13, one of the digital content creation brands in the Warner Bros. Digital Network Group, is sponsoring AFF’s Scripted Digital Series Competition. Stage 13 is a short form digital content brand that creates and showcases a diverse slate of original stories from short form scripted to non-scripted. Led by culture, vision and voice, the brand has had it’s series premiere at film festivals across the U.S. and is launching this summer. Stage 13 execs will help choose the winner of the competition and, schedules permitting, will meet with each Finalist during or after the Festival. Find out more about Stage 13 at
  • This year’s Narrative Short Competition is sponsored by ShortsTV, the global home to short film. Available across the US and Europe, the channel brings audiences captivating short form content from filmmakers across the globe. ShortsTV will help select the Jury Award winner of this category and, schedules permitting, meet with each finalist during or after the Festival. Additionally, ShortsTV will provide the Jury Award winners of the Narrative, Documentary, Animated, and Student Short categories a distribution deal, and will air every short in competition on their channel.
  • POV, American Documentary’s award-winning premiere showcase for independent non-fiction film series on PBS, is once again partnering with Austin Film Festival to support the Documentary Feature Competition. POV will help select the Jury Award winner in this category and, schedules permitting, meet with each finalist during or after the Festival.
  • Popular independent distribution company Gravitas Ventures will once again help decide the Jury Award winner for the Comedy Vanguard Feature Competition and offer the Jury Award winner a first look Video On Demand distribution deal.

In addition to the sponsors noted above, Screenplay Competition Semifinalists and Finalists will have their scripts reviewed by industry judges which include representatives from Bellevue Productions, Escape Artists at Sony, Gross Entertainment, Madhouse Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Paradigm, and Warner Bros among others. They will also be included in our Annual Producer’s Book distributed to over 400 agents, managers, producers, and other industry professionals. More judges will be announced soon.

Selected films will similarly be reviewed by jurors made up of acclaimed filmmakers, distributors, and other industry insiders. Already confirmed this year are representatives from Showtime, Gunpowder & Sky, Stage13, POV, ShortsTV, and Gravitas Ventures each of whom will help select the Jury Award winners for one of AFF’s nine film and series categories. More film jurors will be announced shortly.

AFF is also proud to announce its continued partnership with Hiscox Insurance, who will once again serve as the official sponsor for AFF’s Audience Award, and will present the second Hiscox Courage Award to the film that best embodies the virtue of courage and to the filmmaker who best embraced the risk to share the story. 

AFF is currently accepting entries for the 2017 Festival. Writers and filmmakers can submit their projects at Final Deadlines are quickly approaching: May 10 for plays, and May 15 for screenplays and digital series. For film submissions, the Regular Deadline is May 19, the Late Deadline is June 30, and the Extended Deadline is July 7. Fiction podcast has a regular deadline May 10 and a Late Deadline of July 7.
About Austin Film Festival
Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft, and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. AFF champions the work of aspiring and established writers and filmmakers by providing unique cultural events and services, enhancing public awareness and participation, and encouraging dynamic and long-lasting community partnerships. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts.