ESC 2023 Awards

Congratulations to Montclair Film’s 2023 Emerging Screenwriter Competition Winners

On Saturday, April 22, Montclair Film held the Awards Ceremony for the second annual Emerging Screenwriters Competition. All the finalists were celebrated at a Red-Carpet Reception at Cinema505. The Grand Prize-winning script was read at a professional table read, and all winners and finalists received professional script notes from the judges.

Grand Prize Winner

Michael Liotta, Glen Ridge High School
9 Years


Sam Zaslow-Braverman, Golda Och Academy
Palate Absentia – Winner

Emily Kalosieh, Waldwick High School
The Trouvaille Times of the Paralian and an Altruist

Amelia Knapp, Montclair High School

Santiago Tapia Torres, Cooper City High School


Logan Corea Hinojosa, Bloomfield Middle School
The Art of Inconvenience – Winner (tie)

Michael Liotta, Glen Ridge High School
9 Years – Winner (tie)

Grace Szostak, James Caldwell High School
Meet Cute


Luis Zonenberg, Klein High School
Face the Light – Winner

Mia Petrous, Passaic County Tech
My Friend Sophia


Emily Kalosieh, Waldwick High School
Recurring – Winner

Amelia Knapp, Montclair High School
Would you love me?

Jose Santos, Donald M. Payne Tech
Two Straws, One Milkshake

Michael Liotta, Glen Ridge High School
Rat Face


Rebecca LeMoult, Ramapo High School
The Last Day of Earth – Winner

Alix Seidma, Morris County School of Technology
Wilted Flowers

Elian Saldivar, Passaic County Tech
Over This Reality

ESC Judges
Jessie Gant – Freelance Writer and Script Coordinator for DreamWorks, Disney Channel, Disney+, Amazon, and Warner Brothers. Masters in Producing and Writing for Television from Boston University.

Tim Greenberg – Writer and Creator of the Netflix series “Living With Yourself”, also known for writing and producing “The Detour” and “The Daily Show”.

Ryan Spindell – Writer and Director of “The Mortuary Collection”, “The Babysitter Murders” and writer/producer for the show “50 States of Fright”.

Susan Skoog – Program Director for Screenwriting, University of the Arts. Writer and Director of “Whatever” and “Breeding Grounds”.

John Rotondo – Screenwriting Professor at University of the Arts and Writer of “The Garden Left Behind” and “Resemblance”.

Evan Dickerson – Screenwriting Instructor and former curriculum coordinator with Montclair Film. His production and writing credits include: “Good Friday”, “A Revolution”, “Split Ends”, and “Disarray Days”.

Ryan Moore – Education Program Manager with Montclair Film, Screenwriting Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and writer/director of “Marijuana Minutes”.

See all the photos from the event on Flickr


About the Emerging Screenwriter Competition

Montclair Film’s EMERGING SCREENWRITING COMPETITION celebrates the work of screenwriters who are in the 8th through 12th grades. The emerging screenwriters’ screenplays represent a wide range of styles and voices that showcase the diverse talents of young people who are using story to express themselves.

The screenplays can be submitted in a variety of genres including Comedy, Drama, Action/Adventure, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and Horror, and will be adjudicated by a jury of screenwriting and filmmaking professionals.

The Perks

  • The Grand Prize-Winning script will be performed at a table read by actors at the award ceremony.
  • Winners will be celebrated at our annual ESC Award Ceremony
  • Winners will be acknowledged in a Montclair Film press release and on their website
  • Winners in each category receive emailed script consultation from an experienced screenwriter

The Rules

  • Short Film or Web Series Pilots will be accepted up to a length of 12 pages (not including the title page).
  • Submissions must be submitted as a PDF
  • Formatting: 12-point Courier font. 1.5 inch left margin. 1-inch right margin.
  • Scripts must be formatted correctly to be considered. If you did not write your screenplay in screenwriting software (Final Draft, Movie Magic, etc.), consider re-writing it using or, both of which have free options.
  • Each writer may submit no more than two screenplays.
  • Scripts may be submitted with multiple genres including Comedy, Drama, Horror — or a genre not listed.
  • Awards are determined by the ESC Jury.

Submissions for the 2024 Emerging Screenwriters Competition will open in November 2023. For more information, email