Screenwriting Competition
The Baltimore Film Office at the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is no longer accepting submissions for the 14th annual Baltimore Screenwriters Competition.

The Baltimore Screenwriters Competition is a project of the Baltimore Film Office at BOPA, in conjunction with film programs at Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University. Funding is provided by The Arts Insurance Program, a division of Maury, Donnelly and Parr. Additional support is courtesy of the Maryland Film Festival, NEXTCAR and Visit Baltimore.

The Baltimore Screenwriters Competition is open to all screenwriters. Submitted scripts receive coverage from students in the Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University screenwriting programs and by local screenwriters and producers. The final screenplays are judged by film industry professionals. Winners of the competition are announced during the 2019 Maryland Film Festival on Saturday, May 11, 2019

In the feature category, the first place winner receives $1,500, an all access pass to the 2019 Maryland Film Festival, a Weekend in Baltimore Package, a rental car for the weekend and passes to area movie theaters. The second place winner receives $750, an all access pass to the festival and movie passes. The third place winner receives $350, an all access pass to the festival and movie passes. In the shorts category, winners will receive cash prizes.


First Place: Maxwell Towson, “The Good Die Over Mostly Bullshit”- Baltimore, 1975.  A disheartened Vietnam veteran is coaxed out of imposed solitude to find a missing friend.  In the midst of a police and municipal strike, he discovers that his friend is victim in a web of political intrigue.
Maxwell Michael Towson is a Baltimore native and J.J. Abrams apologist. After matriculating at the University of Maryland, College Park and the American Film Institute Conservatory, he joined the Los Angeles comedy troupe Tomm Fondle. With Tomm Fondle, Maxwell co-wrote and performed in viral comedy sketches and web series for a plethora of digital platforms including Funny or Die, All Def Digital, and Official Comedy. He co-wrote Tomm Fondle's and IFC Midnight's feature film Lowlife, which premiered in theaters and video on demand April 2018.
Second Place: J. Patrick Skirvin, “Moonshadow”- A former army ranger, turned crime reporter, forms a tenuous pact with a truth-challenged drug addict to investigate the gruesome suicide of another ranger.  The partnership draws them closer, revealing personal shadows that threaten to consume them both.
Patrick graduated from the University of Delaware with a Master of Science degree in Economics. He retired in 2016 after 40 years with the Social Security Administration. Writing is his new passion, including poems, screenplays, and novels. “Moonshadow” is his eighth screenplay. He is currently working on a novel and a multi-episode series, “Protect the Nest.” Creativity and writing run in the family. His father was a newspaper editor. One of his daughters teaches and studies Creative Writing at West Virginia University, while his other daughter attended New York Academy of Art and paints portraits. His wife retired earlier this year after a long career as a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse Educator at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Patrick gives credit for any writing success to the help and support of his family.
Third Place: Maeve Tierney, “The Merritts”- A young woman, Nicole, lives at home with her miserable, but misunderstood mother and her younger, disabled sister. When Nicole is confronted with an opportunity that would take her away from home, she must decide whether or not her family can make it without her.
Maeve Tierney is originally from South Carolina but has happily called Baltimore home for the past four and a half years. She works by day and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Film and Media from Johns Hopkins University by night. She was a Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Fellow in 2017 for screenwriting.

First Place: Kelsey Waddill, “Carnival”
- Eli, a young boy growing up in Baltimore, encounters his estranged father with his second family for the first time at the carnival.  The brief interaction turns what should have been a time of magic and escape into a moment of transformation as he processes how to react.
Kelsey will graduate this May from Johns Hopkins University with degrees in Film & Media Studies and Writing Seminars. “Carnival” was her second submission to a screenwriting competition.  She also wrote the script for “Samaritan,” a short film which was selected for the Best of Baltimore Student Film Festival in 2017.  In addition, she works as a producer, most recently on Studio North’s “Operation First Light,” directed by Irving Nestor, and “The Cyclist," directed by Bobby Peretti.
Second Place: Vy Truong, “The Classic Gentleman”- A woman struggles between pleasing her male bosses and maintaining her moral integrity after she experiences an unwelcome advance from a client.
Vy Truong is a graduate of Towson University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media and Film. She has an obsession with 1970s film, buttered popcorn, and storytelling. In her spare time she writes jokes about her love life, her mother, and her societal experiences as a Vietnamese-American woman. The last time she submitted her work in a writing contest was in the 4th grade where she was named runner-up in a local Young Authors’ Faire. Instead, she learned her best friend won first place. They have not spoken to each other since but have remained friends on social media.
Third Place: Warren Watson, “Car Trouble”- A man at the end of his rope uses a car to attempt suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning unfortunately for him he chose the wrong car.
Warren Watson is an actor, writer and production professional with over 25 years in the television and film industry. “Car Trouble” is Warren’s second screenplay and his first comedy. He previously won the short film category at the 2017 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition with his drama “Redemption Song.”

All scripts were judged by film and television industry professionals.  The 2018 judges were producer Nina Noble (“The Deuce,” “Treme,” “The Wire”), director Sheldon Candis (“Baltimore Boys,” “LUV,” “Young Cesar”), documentary filmmaker Annette Porter and writer/producer B. A. Parker (“The American Life”).

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Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts

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