Screenwriting Competition

The 19th annual Baltimore Screenwriters Competition

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) proudly announced the winners of the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition at MICA’s Fred Lazarus IV Center. This annual contest — now in its 19th year — is a project of the Baltimore Film Office in conjunction with film programs at Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University. Prizes are awarded in both the feature and shorts categories to the top three scripts that are set or able to be filmed in Baltimore.

This year’s competition received 62 scripts. In the first round of judging, scripts were read by students from the Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University writing and film programs. Scripts moved through a second round of readers and in the final round of judging, the winners were selected by industry professionals Nina K. Noble, freelance producer and producing partner of David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions; Ken LaZebink, a film and television writer who is also Director of Long Island University’s MFA in Writing and Producing for Television; Annette Porter, who is a producer at Nylon Films, Co-Director of the JHU MICA Film Centre, as well as the Director of the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins University; and Dale Beran, a Baltimore-based writer, journalist, and artist who teaches screenwriting and animation at Morgan State University.

First Place — L.T. Woody, “A Better Chance”
When Larry Woody, who is Black, earns a scholarship to a primarily white boarding school in New Hampshire he suddenly finds himself pulled between his old life in Baltimore and his new life at St. Paul’s.
Second Place — Lee Connah, “Car BnB”
A college professor finds herself homeless and starts living in a car with three “roommates.”
Third Place — Peter Kimball, “Champion”
A failed Olympic wrestler finds his whole life has fallen apart — but now might just have the chance to turn things around when he goes back to his hometown for his sleazeball brother’s shotgun wedding.
First Place — Harrison Demchick, “Shipping & Handling”
A boy who has recently lost his father begins communicating with him through novelty toys ordered from old comic books.
Second Place — Felix Abeson, “Orchestra”
Trapped in a cycle of presence and idealization, two lovers grapple with the challenges of connection and individual aspirations.
Third Place — Evan Balkan, “An Incredibly Stupid Idea (That Just Might Work)”
Roger and Kenneth are about to be evicted from their Penn North apartment, but their jobs at the Baltimore Museum of Art present a possible opportunity. Will their scheme to steal a rare painting be the solution they need?



L.T. (Larry) Woody grew up in Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood and attended Baltimore City Public Schools. At 13, Woody received an academic scholarship to attend the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He received a BS from Temple University and is a long-time member of SAG/AFTRA. “A Better Chance” is the cinematic adaptation of Woody’s brutally honest memoir, “In Black and White.”

Lee Connah is a carpenter living in Woodberry, Baltimore with a black cat named Bodhi. Connah’s approach to storytelling has been shaped by 25 years of songwriting and, more recently, crankie making, music videos, and podcasting. “Car BnB” was originally conceived as a short web series featuring a cast of friends to be shot in and around Connah’s Subaru on the streets of Baltimore.

Peter Kimball is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. He has directed short films that have played at festivals like Slamdance, Vancouver, Calgary, DC Shorts, LA Shorts, and dozens more around the world. In 2022, Kimball’s film "My Brother is Deaf” premiered at Slamdance and won Best Short Documentary at the DC Independent Film Festival. He also wrote and directed the groundbreaking 2022 film "Millstone" — based on his own award-winning play — featuring an all-deaf cast and entirely in American Sign Language.

Harrison Demchick is an editor who’s worked on 80+ published books. He also wrote the novel “The Listeners” (Bancroft Press, 2012) and several short stories including “Magicland” (2019), "Tailgating" (2020), “The Yesterday House” (2020), "Sophie Anne" (2022), "Overtime" (2023), "Beneath the Ice" (2023), and "Rent Control" (2024). His first film, “Ape Canyon,” won Best Feature at the 2020 Adrian International Film Festival and launched to streaming services in Spring 2021. His short “The Farmhouse” won Best Horror at Austin After Dark 2023.

Felix B. Abeson is a narrative filmmaker, documentarian, and artist from Randallstown, Maryland. He gained his foundation in film at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he explored animation and sound. After MICA, Abeson worked as a video editor in commercial media while directing and editing personal films, music videos, and collaborations with other artists and filmmakers. He currently works as a photojournalist in Baltimore.

Evan Balkan is the author of three novels, including the PEN/Faulkner-nominated "Independence," eight books of nonfiction, and many essays and short stories. His screenplays have won multiple fellowships and awards. Balkan coordinates the creative writing program at the Community College of Baltimore County, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Mark McColloch Endowed Teaching Chair. He is currently writing the biopic “I’m Possible,” about tubist Richard White, the first African American to earn a doctorate in tuba instruction.


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