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High Scribe



Submittable and the Sun Valley Film Festival are excited to announce the High Scribe now includes a screenwriters’ residency with Academy Award winning writer and SVSLab host, Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana). 2020 High Scribe judge is award-winning producer Jennifer Todd (Memento, Across the Universe, Jason Bourne).



Regular Deadline – December 19th
Late Deadline – January 16th
Extended Deadline – February 3rd

Taking place in Sun Valley, Idaho in the days leading up to the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival (March 18-22), the High Scribe residency will offer four finalists lodging and a travel stipend as well as rare opportunities, including industry roundtables, insider access during the Sun Valley Film Festival, and personalized face time with Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan.

$500 travel stipend
$200 food stipend
Lodging March 17th through 22nd (5 nights)
Roundtable events only for residents
Mentorship opportunities
Personalize event with Stephen Gaghan
Filmmaker Pass for festival entrance and invites to select events during the festival


During the Festival, Gaghan will host the Sun Valley Screenwriters Lab, which will include a moderated discussion with Gaghan, live table read, and one of the four finalists will walk away winner of the 2020 High Scribe, selected by High Scribe judge, Jennifer Todd.

Several of the past High Scribe winners have gone on to secure representation, paid writing gigs or move one step closer to getting their work produced because of the connections they made at SVFF as the High Scribe winner.

2020 SVSLab Host,

Stephen Gaghan


Academy Award winning screenwriter and director, Stephen Gaghan is one of the most acclaimed and accomplished filmmakers of his generation. In 2001, Gaghan earned the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Soderbergh’s film Traffic. For that film, he also won a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA award, WGA award, and notice from many critics’ organizations. Gaghan was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2006 for Syriana, which he also directed. That screenplay also won the Best Screenplay award from the National Board of Review and garnered the best supporting actor Oscar for George Clooney. Gaghan directed Gold starring Matthew McConaughey. In addition to directing Gold, he co-wrote the original song “Gold” for the film with Iggy Pop, Daniel Pemberton and Danger Mouse, which garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Upcoming, Gaghan wrote and directed Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr., Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Kumail Nanjiani, and Michael Sheen, set to release in January 2020. Gaghan’s additional film writing credits include Havoc (2005), The Alamo (2004), and Rules of Engagement (2000). Additionally, he has two Edgar Awards and won the 1997 Emmy for Best Dramatic Writing for an episode of NYPD Blue.

2020 High Scribe Judge,

Jennifer Todd


Jennifer Todd is a film and television producer whose credits include Alice in Wonderland, Across the Universe, Memento, the Austin Powers franchise, Live by Night, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Must Love Dogs, and Now and Then. She is an executive producer of Showtime’s series City on a Hill starring Kevin Bacon. She recently produced the upcoming Warner Bros. drama, The Way Back, directed by Gavin O’Connor and starring Ben Affleck, which will be released March 6th. Jennifer also produced the 89th and 90th Annual Academy Awards ceremonies, and currently serves as an Academy Governor representing the Producers Branch.



Regular Deadline

December 19, 2019

Late Deadline

January 16, 2020

Extended Deadline

February 3, 2020

Submission Rules

All submissions must be accompanied by a logline and a non-refundable entry fee. Artistic statements, resumes, and bios are also welcome but not required. Applicants must submit ONE (1) copy of their screenplay or PDF file. (Please submit entire script). Multiple entries are permissible, but each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry and fee. Submissions will not be returned. All fees are nonrefundable. All works must be original and unproduced as of March 1st, 2020. Finalists will be notified early March. Full terms and details can be found at submission listing.

Community building and Advocacy

The Svslab has a group of mentors and advocates who return each year and help finalists with not only script notes but also securing management and writing jobs.

Past hosts and mentors have included Academy Award winner David Seidler [The King’s Speech], Academy Award winners Nat Faxon and Jim Rash [The Descendants], Academy Award nominees Melisa Wallack and Craig Borten [Dallas Buyers Club], Academy Award nominee Phil Johnston [Wreck-It Ralph], Will McCormack [Toy Story 4], Chris Moore [Project Greenlight] and filmmaking legends Mark and Jay Duplass [Togetherness]. During the Screenwriters Lab, these dynamos discuss their careers, present their latest work during a live table read, and take questions from the audience.

The 2020 Screenwriters Lab host is Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan [Traffic, Syriana]. The 2020 High Scribe Judge is Award winning producer Jennifer Todd [Memento, Across the Universe, Jason Bourne].


The High Scribe screenplay competition finalists were Witnesses by David Eisenberg and Hon Higgins, Clare by Lauren Minnerath, and The Graveyard Shift by Max Andrew Dubinsky and Matthew Carpenter.

The Graveyard Shift was awarded the 2019 High Scribe.