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Pilot Competitions

Each June the SeriesFest community of emerging talent, established artists, and industry professionals gather to celebrate the innovative work of independent content creators. Pilot Competitions are curated programs designed to highlight cutting-edge episodic content that is independently written, produced, and directed. Official selections of the Pilot Competitions will be showcased at SeriesFest: Season 7 (June 24 – July 11, 2021), which will operate in a “hybrid” festival format, a combination of physical and virtual screenings, panels, professional development workshops and socially-distanced in person events.

From June 24 - June 30, physical, socially-distanced screenings will take place over six days in Denver, CO. Season 7 official selections in the Independent Pilots, Digital Short Series, Pitch-A-Thon!, Collegiate Creator Spotlight, and Late Night competitions. These competition selections will then screen virtually from June 28 - July 11 to compete for the illustrious National Audience Award.

Exclusive virtual content competitions including the Next In Queue: A Spotlight on Podcasts, Pilots in Progress, Smartphone Series and Short Film Competition selections will be available on SeriesFest’s virtual platform the entire 18 days.

Scroll down for the full list of pilot competitions and check out our scriptwriting competitions, professional development programs and student education initiatives for additional opportunities to cultivate your episodic storytelling craft.

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Independent Pilot

Running Time Options: 18-60 mins

SeriesFest’s Independent Pilot Competition was launched in 2015 to help diversify the current television landscape by shining a spotlight on emerging voices and stories. This competition offers independent episodic artists with the unique opportunity to screen their 18-60 minute drama, comedy, unscripted or animated television pilots in front of an audience of major industry players, network executives and fans at our annual Denver-based festival. Many SeriesFest Official Selections and winners have gone on to receive representation, development deals, production grants and distribution. 

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Digital Short Series

Running Time Options: 15 mins or less

With the influx of new technology over the past 10 years, it’s not surprising that some of the most innovative storytelling now resides in the digital space. Jump online and browse over to one of thousands of content-sharing platforms and you’ll find that impactful, entertaining series don’t always equate to big budget or hour-long productions. Going into its fourth year, SeriesFest’s Digital Short Series Competition has discovered and honored exciting new digital short series that have gone on to major streaming platforms. 

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Late Night

Running Time Options: 30 mins or less

Sometimes series just don’t fit into the drama, comedy or unscripted categories. SeriesFest’s Late Night Competition is designed to discover and honor those strange, absurd, comedic or sketch series that often leave us scratching our heads, laughing through tears, a little bit scared and wondering “what the hell did I just watch?” Going into its fifth year, the Late Night Competition provides episodic creators with an opportunity to screen their offbeat, live action or animated series on the big screen at SeriesFest: Season 7 (can run as a miniseries or extended seasons with a total runtime of 4-15 minutes).

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Pitch-A-Thon!

Running Time Options:

Going into its fifth year, SeriesFest’s Pitch-a-thon program provides independent content creators with an opportunity to participate in an exclusive live pitch session with top television, new media and digital executives in hopes of moving their unproduced projects forward.

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Collegiate Creators Spotlight

Running Time Options: 18-60 mins

SeriesFest is excited to endorse the next generation of creators! We are searching for produced pilots from collegiate and university students nationwide. We will be showcasing 18-60 minute drama, comedy, unscripted and animated pilots at SeriesFest: Season 7.

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Next in Queue: A Spotlight on Podcasts

Running Time Options: 60 mins or less

Podcasts and storytelling go hand-in-hand, and SeriesFest is excited to find the next great podcast! We are looking for original serialized audio stories that highlight the bold and innovative voices of the booming industry of Podcasts. Creators are encouraged to submit up to 60 minutes of their podcast and a series format deck. 5-8 podcasts will be selected for an opportunity to be featured on the SeriesFest: Season 7 virtual platform.

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Pilots in Progress

Running Time Options: 10-60 mins

One of the struggles faced by creators during COVID-19 is the feeling of isolation and disconnect from their collaborators and creative community. SeriesFest aims to change that with Pilots in Progress - a new initiative where creators can virtually and securely screen a rough cut of their pilot for constructive feedback from fellow creators and industry to help fine tune and finalize their project. 

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Smartphone Series and Short Film

Running Time Options: 5 mins or less

Through quickly growing smartphone technology, our devices are now one of the greatest tools for low-to-no budget storytelling. SeriesFest is looking for creators who are using their smartphones to tell innovative episodic and short form series no longer than 5 minutes. All entries in this category MUST BE shot entirely on a mobile device or tablet.

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Level Forward Impact Award

SeriesFest is excited to partner with Level Forward to present a brand new opportunity for creators applying to the Independent Pilot, Digital Short, and Late Night competitions!

Creators will have the opportunity to opt-in to be considered for the Level Forward Impact Award, which will be given to the episodic pilot and team who demonstrate, on top of their commitment to creative excellence, a thoughtful, thorough and deliberate approach to using storytelling as a means of leveling the playing field for underrepresented people including women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and alternatively abled voices. In keeping with Level Forward’s mission to advance the access, opportunity, and influence of storytelling, we are looking for compelling and entertaining pilots that have incorporated this ethos into the fabric of their process and project.

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