Thespian Filmworks

Thespian Filmworks

THESPIAN FILMWORKS nurtures original student-created films from the page to the screen through “run and gun” filmmaking. The program staff will choose up to two projects to be developed at the International Thespian Festival, sponsored by New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Professional filmmakers will help the chosen finalists to create and present their films with student actors.

Submissions open October 1.


Filmmakers must be active members of the International Thespian Society enrolled in high school during the current school year. All finalists must be available to attend the upcoming International Thespian Festival. Finalists will be responsible for the cost of their travel to ITF, but the International Thespian Society will pay the registration fees, which include room and board as well as admission to all ITF events. The critics’ choice of any state’s Thespian Filmworks will automatically be considered for the national Thespian Filmworks.


All submissions must be the original work of no more than one Thespian. We will not consider collaborations, adaptations, or works that include music, lyrics, or dialogue created by anyone other than the submitting filmmaker. Filmmakers may submit more than one screenplay of 10 minutes or less for consideration, but each entry must include a shot of a dog leash and be in one or more of the following genres: dark comedy, suspense thriller, romantic comedy, zombie/virus, or sports film. Each screenplay also must be able to be shot during daylight on a college campus. All submissions should include a five- to ten-page screenplay in standard format and a short essay (no more than 500 words) about why you want to be a part of Thespian Filmworks.


Filmmakers may submit work for consideration from October 1 until January 15. Early submissions are encouraged. All filmmakers will be notified shortly after March 15 about the status of their submission. Submissions will not be acknowledged when received.


At ITF, the finalists will be put into four-person teams that may include a director, editor, photographer, and sound operator who will work collaboratively among themselves and with student actors and professional filmmakers to bring their films to life with minimal production elements. The finalists will view five basic YouTube videos on filmmaking, attend daily workshops, and then use the rest of the scheduled ITF workshop times to create their own film with supervision from the program staff. The program culminates in screenings of the films (or portions of them) for an ITF audience.


All work is protected by copyright from the moment it’s created. Filmmakers own their films and have exclusive control of the rights to produce, publish, and adapt them. By submitting work to Thespian Filmworks, you agree to allow the International Thespian Society (at its discretion) to screen your film. The society may also (at its discretion) publish your script (or portions of it). All other rights remain the exclusive property of the filmmaker.


Filmmakers should submit their entries themselves; 12-point type is preferred. The cover page of each submission should include the title of the film, your name and email address, your school name and troupe number, and your troupe director’s name and email address.

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