Founded in 1995, the CineStory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing new writing talent through its TV writing and screenwriting contests, retreats, fellowships, and events. These programs are aimed at emerging writers with a high level of craft who are ready to enter or are in the early stages of navigating the entertainment industry. 

The CineStory Foundation is based in Los Angeles with a retreat center in Idyllwild, California. Competitions, retreats, and events are open to international TV writers and screenwriters.

CineStory has been named one of the best and biggest screenwriting contests by Script Reader ProMoviebytes, The Script Lab, and elsewhere.


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“The retreat was a writers’ oasis where we discussed screenwriting, filmmaking, navigating the murky depths of Hollywood meetings and just enjoyed being around like-minded people who are all in pursuit of the same thing: good stories.”

Matt Fantaci2015 Feature Fellow

“I had a truly great time at the retreat getting to know not only the mentors but also my fellow writers and hearing about their passion projects and unique backgrounds. The days were full from morning until night as there was always an interesting panel or discussion going on and the mentors really challenged the participants to get out of their comfort zones and to think deeply about their projects and the underlying themes we were working through in our own lives. There were plenty of laughs and a few tears but it really felt like a “safe space” where everyone’s opinions were valid. The mentors really seemed to care and were sincere in their efforts to help us make the best script possible. All in all it was a really memorable and rewarding time – I wish it could’ve been longer!”

Amyn Kaderali2016 Feature Fellow

“Holding [the Retreat] in Idyllwild means you’re really isolated and spend all this time with other writers and mentors from early morning until late at night. Not only did I get introduced to a producer who hired me for my first professional writing assignment, I was able to meet and become friends with other screenwriters from around the world. There really is nothing like the CineStory Experience.”

Bryan DickAlumna, Former Executive Director

“There are truly no words left to express how valuable the CineStory Retreat has been to my screenwriting. No words. NONE.”

Angelina Karpovitch2017 Feature Fellow

“One of the things that I think the CineStory retreat does so well is speaking to, and educating, both the artist and the businessperson in every writer…CineStory truly speaks to both the art and the business of writing. And not just in a fun or catch slogan way, they legitimately nurture writers in the art and business of television writing.

“[Also, the] fact that the mentors take such an immense amount of time and interest in your work makes the feedback so unbelievably valuable. I’m honestly still impressed with the closeness of their reading and the depth and nuance of their feedback. It’s so clear that all of the mentors genuinely want to help every writer further their writing and careers, and their support coupled with their insight made for a truly invaluable experience.”

Robert Axelrod2019 TV Fellow