Open Screenplay, a free, first-of-its-kind online platform and community for global screenwriters that launched in January to provide access and tools to writers struggling to break into the business, announced the winner and finalists in their short film contest. The winning and top five screenplays represent diverse genres and were written by women, at a time when female screenwriters are underrepresented in Hollywood by a ratio of five to one.

The winning screenwriter is Maddison Tebbutt for The Arrears, a horror set in the desolate Canadian Prairies in the 1800s. Maddison is a self-taught, passionate filmmaker and screenwriter who will be awarded the $2,000 first prize cash award and will have her screenplay produced for the first time in her career. As part of winning the contest, Madison will also gain valuable learning from a private session with Golden Globe nominee and Open Screenplay Advisor Richard Kletter.

The second prize winning script is Foundation, a dramatic love story through the ages. It was a public screenplay collaboratively written by three writers who had never met before. This highlights how the talented, global community of screenwriters on Open Screenplay can come together to create award-winning content as diverse as the world we live in. The second place writing team includes: Katlynn Sverko, Ross Lang, and Christopher Kerr. The third prize winning script is Forbidden Beasts by Tina Marie Singh, which tells the story of how love can be both selfish and selfless, good and deadly. The winners were selected by an advisory board of Hollywood film executives and award-winning screenwriters.

Open Screenplay’s free, innovative online platform offers a new way of writing that provides expertise, learning, collaboration and access to a proven story-writing process and tools for screenwriters. Since January, 855 screenplays are being written on the platform and the community has grown to 5,300 global members. Open Screenplay has now introduced Reviews, so members can benefit from real-time feedback while they’re writing and once their screenplay is complete.

“I’m thrilled to announce the winner and finalists for Open Screenplay’s first short film contest. The breadth and diversity of entries received and screenplays written highlight the power of our platform to open doors for emerging talent and help bring much needed fresh stories to life. I’m inspired by the global community we’re building and the calibre of talent coming together on Open Screenplay.”– Khaled Sabawi, CEO & Founder

“I’m honoured and humbled to have won. It represents a pivotal moment as I now have the chance to have my short film produced and gain invaluable learning from expert screenwriter Richard Kletter. The process, community and opportunities available on Open Screenplay really make it an exceptional platform for aspiring screenwriters.” - Madison Tebbutt, Winning Screenwriter for The Arrears

Open Screenplay is creating a global community, where members have the option to collaborate with writers around the world. In addition to positively disrupting Hollywood by helping new voices emerge, Open Screenplay was also created to serve as a platform to help ensure the world we see depicted in television and film is as diverse as the world we live in.

Learn more about winning screenplays and finalists: