Founded in 1995, the CineStory Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization dedicated to educating new writing talent through its screenwriting and TV writing retreats, fellowships, and events. These educational programs are designed for 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.

What We Do.

CineStory’s aim is to provide a supportive educational environment in which writers can push their creative boundaries while learning about the craft and business of screen and television writing in order to become writers who can perform at the professional level. 

To advance this aim, CineStory holds two yearly retreats in Idyllwild, one for emerging screenwriters and one for emerging TV writers. Attending CineStory events allows emerging writers to learn about the craft and business of TV and screenwriting from mentors and educators who are also entertainment industry professionals.

Whatever the forum, CineStory’s primary focus is to educate emerging TV and screenwriters on how to improve their writing craft. 

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

CineStory specializes in providing one-on-one mentoring at its annual retreats, where emerging writers are paired with working executives, writers, directors, producers, agents, and managers who educate the emerging writers about the craft and business of writing for the screen.

Retreat attendees are selected through CineStory’s annual writing competitions, the Feature Retreat & Fellowship Competition and the TV Retreat & Fellowship competition. Semifinalists, finalists and winners of the these competitions are eligible to attend retreats and are considered for the fellowship prize.

If you’re interested in attending a retreat or being considered for a fellowship, please enter a contest. You can find out more about our contests on our Retreats & Fellowship Contests page.

If you’re interested in keeping apprised of CineStory’s contests and retreats, as well as latest endeavors of our alumni, staff, and mentors, please subscribe to our newsletter below and check out our News page.

Come Join Us.

CineStory is solely a nonprofit educational organization. It is not a talent representation service of any kind. It does not, nor does it seek to, manage and/or direct the development of writers’ careers in any way. Additionally, it does not, nor does it seek to, procure representation and/or employment of any kind for writers. Its sole purpose is to educate emerging writers about the craft and business of writing for the screen.




“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.”

“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!”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“I’m so inspired and impressed by the quality of mentors and panelists that gave their time to the retreat. And I’m beyond thrilled with the connections I made- from the organizers to the mentors to my fellow attendees. I came away with new knowledge and a new writing community.”

“Despite all things 2020, I was able to come out of the virtual CineStory retreat equipped with exactly what I had hoped an in-person retreat would’ve provided: mentors with whom I genuinely connected and a supportive, brilliant community of writers.”

“I loved CineStory. I made meaningful connections with other writers, mentors, and staff, and I got some insight into the industry that I would not otherwise get.  The mentors that I had were spot on for what I wrote and so accomplished! I felt truly honored to get their insight. The staff were also great and they all offered insights based on their industry experience as well. By the end of the retreat I felt restored and re-energized.

“Writing can be such a lonely, draining journey and being part of a community that shares your passion and truly wishes you well is a vital part of that journey. Cinestory was a good step in the right direction for all of the above reasons.”

“This event was massively worthwhile despite being moved online and really helped to reignite my momentum. The script I thought was ‘finished’ now has meaningful, actionable changes to be made thanks to the insightful and detailed advice of mentors.”

“It’s an intensive retreat where you’re living, breathing and absorbing all things TV writing. From deep one-on-one sessions with mentors to mock writing rooms that felt almost real, from inspiring seminars with writers and industry professionals to happy hours and TV trivia competitions, it was incredibly informative and just so much fun. I came away inspired to write and brimming with ideas and new connections.”

“I found myself in immersed in safe-space community unlike I have ever experienced. I was embraced, encouraged, challenged and inspired. In a business where we often feel like a lone wolf wading through a swamp of shark-infested waters, CineStory is an oasis full of loving, supportive artists who all want to make the world a better place through powerful storytelling. I felt like I found my tribe.”

“The CineStory Foundation Retreats offer writers the opportunity for a deeper dive into their craft and unprecedented exposure to feedback from working professionals in a supportive environment.”

“This retreat helped me find a warm and supportive community of other screenwriters. Many of us spend so much time alone, wandering our personal forest of doubts, but after this retreat, I feel much more connected to the screenwriting community and very energized to continue writing and improving.”