ESC 2024 Awards

Congratulations to Montclair Film’s 2024 Emerging Screenwriter Competition Winners

On Saturday, May 11, Montclair Film held the Awards Ceremony for the third 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. See all the photos from the event on Flickr

Grand Prize Winner

Madeleine Lucile Beetar, West Orange High School


Set in the late 1800s, a deaf girl and a young boy are attacked late at night by deadly creatures in the sea, the unlikely pair must fight together in order to survive the night, and live to see the next morning.

Horror / Thriller

Finalist: Ethan Pinilis, Montclair High School
The Eyes Have It

A man interviews to be a personal assistant only to find out something horrible about the employer.

Finalist: Paul S. Kim, Livingston High School
The Complex, Haunting Obscurities of the Child’s Mind

A little child awaits death as he tries to deal with the overwhelming weight of it all.

Finalist: Luis Edward Zonenberg, Klein High School
Beneath the Skin

To impress the crowd at the New Year’s Gala, famous pop singer Tina Maye purchases a new leather dress. However, she soon finds the dress comes with some unintended side effects.

Winner: Willow Dunn Killebrew, Montclair Kimberley Academy
Drug Bunny

Clarence wakes up in a bathroom to find his own dead body in the bathtub, appearing as if he has overdosed.


Finalist: Caroline Sheridan, Park Ridge High School
First Date

Zoe May is thrilled when Trent Calloway asks her on a date. Insisting he’s the perfect boy, Zoe recounts her dreamy date. However, she seems to have missed what the obviously criminally-inclined Trent had been doing during the evening.

Winner: Emily Kalosieh, Waldwick High School
The Ups and Downs of a New York Studio

An 18-year-old couple, James and Kai, navigate through adulthood as they try to figure out how to live on their own and develop their relationship into something more serious.

Finalist: Khyla Williams, Technology High School
Question Of Fear

A couple embarks on a date that will lead to a difficult conversation. Their love for each other will be put to a test and how they both react will determine their ultimate relationship status.



Finalist: Sam Barnes Atkinson, Fusion Academy Montclair
Godzilla’s Day Off

Godzilla conquers Earth and enjoys himself. Suddenly, problems arise and the King of Monsters is pushed out of retirement.

Winner: Madeleine Lucile Beetar, West Orange High School

Set in the late 1800s, a deaf girl and a young boy are attacked late at night by deadly creatures in the sea, the unlikely pair must fight together in order to survive the night, and live to see the next morning.

Finalist: Joshua Minchala, Technology High School
The Trial

Two soldiers find themselves imprisoned after abandoning their posts in battle. Granted a second chance at life, they must fight their way to freedom.




Winner: Logan Corea Hinojosa, Bloomfield High School

A rejected actor becomes a hypnotherapist based on a fictional character.

Finalist: Emily Kalosieh, Waldwick High School

In an alternate universe, two men, John and Mike, are the first people to land on the moon; when they do, they’re met with an unexpected guest.

Finalist: Caroline Sheridan, Park Ridge High School

Two teenagers have an interesting argument when one accuses the other of being a vampire.

Finalist: Ethan Pinilis, Montclair High School

A serial killer is having a hard time quitting murder.



Winner: Sadie Max Barrack, Millburn High School
Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue follows a family of three and their individual struggle through grief. It shows how grief can be translated in different ways and how it follows people.

Finalist: Willow Dunn Killebrew, Montclair Kimberley Academy
Strawberry Daydreams

Hallucinogenic mushrooms lead two teenagers to a sublime and life-changing encounter.

Finalist: Paul S. Kim, Livingston High School
The Dying Sun

An old man’s reflection on the loss of hope in the ever so apathetic world.

ESC Judges

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.

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

Todd Levin – Todd Levin is an Emmy-nominated writer whose credits include Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CONAN, The Eric Andre Show, and several projects for Sacha Baron Cohen.

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

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

Susan Skoog – Dean, School of Film and Program Director for Screenwriting, University of the Arts. Writer and Director of Whatever and Breeding Grounds.

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 com 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 2025 Emerging Screenwriters Competition will open in November 2024. For more information, email