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The New York International Latino Film Festival Screenwriters Competition

Film Festivals are popping up almost as often as new screenplay contests, and many of them are also including their own screenplay contest. One of the latest to jump on the bandwagon is the New York International Latino Film Festival, which has an added bonus of being sponsored by MTV Films. I spoke with Juan Caceres at the festival to talk about their screenplay contest.

Q: How did the contest get started?
A: 2001 was the first year we started the contest. I wanted to have a screenplay contest when we first started the film festival, but it was too much to undertake all at once.

Q: How many entries did you receive?
A: Over two hundred.

Q: What's the selection process?
A: Scripts are given to our readers. The top scoring scripts will get a second read by me and my partner. Our five finalists are read by industry judges at production companies, such as Shooting Gallery.

Q: Do you have to have Latino characters in the script?
A: Not at all. We've had a variety of scripts submitted from urban dramas to sci-fi. We want to encourage Latino writers no matter what they may write.

Q: I know this was your first year, but do you have any success stories yet?
A: One of our finalists is in the process of being optioned and another got a job writing at ABC.

Q: Do you have any plans for 2002?
A: We want to keep on expanding as a resource for writers and others in the industry. We want to have staged readings in New York of the winning scripts and we also want to set up a service for coverage.

The deadline for the screenplay contest has been pushed back to the middle of the year. You can keep an eye on their website at www.nylatinofilm.com for the latest details.

For those of you who may have sent me an email about questions and contests you'd like to see featured, my email account at excite.com has been unavailable due their restructuring. They assure me that it will up and running by this weekend.

Monica Zepeda


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