The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The Cinema and Media Studies department, located on the second floor of Fisher-Bennett Hall, is hosting a script contest for Penn students and alumni. Credit: Lizzy Machielse

Penn's Cinema and Media Studies Department opened submissions for its fifth annual script contest, "The Red & Blue List."

Students and recent alumni can submit their original ideas for a screenplay or TV pilot, competing for the opportunity to pitch directly to producers within the entertainment industry. Winners of the contest, which is accepting submissions until March 1, also receive a cash prize. 

The contest aims to provide a means for emerging filmmakers to gain recognition and exposure. Penn students and alumni who majored or minored in Cinema and Media Studies, or alternatively have taken a screenwriting course, are eligible to enter. Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve — a novelist, screenwriter, and teacher in Penn's English Department — said that for students interested in entering the film and TV industry, winning a screenwriting contest is an invaluable opportunity. 

"This is their dream, their vocation to write in the film business, whatever form it takes," Van Cleve said. "To win a screenwriting contest and then have the opportunity to talk to people who actually get movies made — that's a home run."

The first-round judges for "The Red & Blue List" will include Van Cleve's former students at Penn. She said that judges will look for scripts that contain an original voice — specifically in contrast to the use of artificial intelligence to assist with scriptwriting.

"All the AI in the world can't take the place of an original writer's voice," Van Cleve said. "You can affect so many people with your voice as a writer, and you do it because the writing and the movie, the whole package, can change your life."

College senior Paola Camacho, who is on the Cinema and Media Studies Department's student staff, said that attending Penn can help students access opportunities such as the "The Red & Blue List," which provides a gateway into the filmmaking industry.

"Opportunities like this one will probably be the reason why you would come to an institution like this, especially for people who don't really come from backgrounds within entertainment or might be new to writing or how the system works," she said. 

Camacho added that she appreciated how the contest gives students the complete freedom to develop their own ideas for a script.

"I think it's really cool as a writer having the liberty to express myself or my creative voice in a way that is taken seriously and respected," Camacho said.