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Independent Pilot

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. Check out the video below to hear why past participants, including some of your favorite TV stars, are calling SeriesFest “one of the premier television festivals in the world.” 


We are currently collecting Independent Pilot Competition submissions for SeriesFest: Season 7. Please carefully review the deadlines, material requirements and guidelines listed below and on our FilmFreeway page. Fill out your applications and get your projects end before the final deadline. Got questions? Check out our Submission FAQs or email us at info@seriesfest.com.


Once submissions are closed, our team of our team of experienced producers, writers, programmers and filmmakers carefully reviews each application and pilot to narrow it down to a select group of comedies, dramas, and unscripted series representing the highest reviewed submissions in each category. Official Selections to be screened at SeriesFest: Season 7. Official Selections are determined on the basis of the following elements:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Overall quality of all elements & aspects of the production of each entry, including, without limitation, writing, acting, directing, editing, etc.
  • Adherence to and appropriateness for a particular format or type of program 
  • The ability to develop story through a first season and thorough drafting of the arc.


Official Selections are up for the following awards: 

  • Best Pilot Award for Drama, Comedy, and Unscripted category
  • Best Actor 
  • Best Actress 
  • Best Director 
  • Best Writer 
  • Audience Award

Winners will be determined by a jury of high profile industry and talent during the annual festival and recognized with an award at our Awards Ceremony, included in our media announcement and showcased on our website. Past jurors include Kim Catrall, Nina Dobrev, Laura Fischer (PowderKeg), Dade Hayes (Deadline),  Travis Tammero (CAA), Susan Lewis (Starz), Alison Wasserman (HBO), Chaka Pilgrim (Roc Nation). Scroll down to see the complete list of last year’s jurors and winners. Pilots in this competition are also eligible for the Level Forward Diversity Award

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Key Dates and Fees

  Earlybird Deadline
Dec 18, 2020
Regular Deadline
Jan 22, 2021
Late Deadline
Mar 19, 2021
Standard $50 $70 $90
FilmFreeway Gold Member $40 $55 $75
Student $30 $35 $50
Fees are paid through the submission process.

Entry Materials

Produced Pilot

Submitted via FilmFreeway's Secure Online Screener system. All entries must be between 18 and 60 minutes in length.

Entry Fee

See fee schedule above for details.

Series Format Deck

All submissions must also include a Series Format Deck to be uploaded to the application page under “Files & Attachments." 

An effective Series Format Deck introduces your project in a visually exciting and emotionally powerful way. It captures the reader’s imagination, allowing them to see the full scope of the series and embrace the characters.

The Series Format Deck should be no longer than 15 pages and include the following:

  • Log Line
  • Pilot Synopsis
  • Season One Outline
  • Main Character Descriptions (Up to 5)
  • Tone of your series (can include no more than 2 comps)
  • Producing Team
  • Key Creatives
  • Goals for your Series
  • A Creator Statement which includes Why This Idea, Why Me, and Why Now?


Press Kit Material

Any available press kit material.

Please note, entry materials will not be returned.

Need more info?

View Submission FAQs



Email Seriesfest

Season 6 Winners  
Independent Pilot

Story of You


Everyone Together


Racist Trees


Season 6 Judges

Adam Shapiro


Allie Waserman

Manager, Original Programming, HBO

Ben Travers

Deputy Editor and TV Critic, IndieWire

Dade Hayes

Business Editor, Deadline

Evan Scott Shapiro

President, National Lampoon

Garrett Martin

Senior Editor, Paste Magazine

Isabel San Vargas

President, Production and Operations, Propagate Content

Jackie Sosa

VP of Development, Chelsea Handler Productions

Michael Callas

Creative Executive, Fuqua Films

Riva Marker

President, NineStories Productions

Katie Lowes


Susan Lewis

SVP, Original Programming, Starz

Tamir Muhammad

CEO, Populace Productions

Andy Singer

EVP, TV & Digital Content, Alkemy X

Lynn Sadofsky

SVP, Programming and Development, Food Network

Ryan Harrington

VP, Documentary Films, National Geographic

Katie Neff

SVP, Development, High Noon Entertainment