Montana screenwriters' scripts will be read aloud at Bigfork theater

Film Festival postponed until October

The Montana Screenwriting Competition (MTSC) proudly announces the results of its contest to honor Montana screenwriters and film scripts that highlight Montana locations. In association with the fourth annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival (BIFF), the first MT Screenwriting Competition received submissions of features and short films between November 2019 and February 2020.

These scripts were evaluated by a judging panel of experienced script readers and industry pros coordinated by competition creator Barbara Schiffman, a retired Hollywood script reader and creative producer now living in Whitefish, Montana.

Inspired by BIFF’s focus on Montana filmmakers, Schiffman and BIFF founder Steve Shapero have included a Live Read of an MTSC Finalist Writer’s script as a 2020 festival event (sponsored by Write Bros. Software, makers of Movie Magic Screenwriter).

Since the April festival has been postponed to October 2-4 due to coronavirus containment efforts, this Live Read will now take place on Sunday October 4. Directed by Bigfork Community Players’ Michele Shapero, BCP actors will present selections from Larry Baer’s feature screenplay Where Buffalo Roam, a mystery-romance set in Flathead Valley, as “a movie for your ears.”

MTSC Finalist Writers include (in alphabetical order, plus screenplay title): Larry Baer (Where Buffalo Roam); Nancy Ann Bevins (Blonde Instinct); Libbie Sue Lapp (Mirebalais); Michael John Petty (Bright Morning Star); Marsha Nash Sultz (Murder on the Fly); Cynthia Webb (Wolf Con).

MTSC Semi-Finalist Writers include: Mark Beech & Linda Gray (Open Road); Diana T. Black (Long Path to Peace); Josiah Burdick (Useless);

Douglas Hall & Mark Bracich (Survivor's Faith - short film script); Scott O’Neill (Back); Michele Page & Dana Summers (Ghost Dogs); Vincent Rannazzisi & Nick Simko (Take 5); Michael Rhodes (Bison Man); Justin Spencer & Jason Farley (Timshel, Montana);

Serita Stevens (Logan's Land); Sarah Stusek (Three Rivers); Kyle Weingart (A Secret Santa).

“I treat screenplays as a literary art form – not just a blueprint for a film. The creativity and craft seen in the submissions to our new regional competition was impressive, and I’m delighted that many of the Semi- and Finalist Writers are from Flathead Valley and Western Montana,” says Barbara Schiffman. “We’re eager to honor more Montana screenwriters in 2021 as well as film stories that can showcase our state’s memorable and unique locations -- especially now that the Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement (MEDIA) Act provides generous tax incentives for movies and TV series to be shot in Montana. We want to help Hollywood and also local filmmakers find Montana writers and scripts.”

The 2021 MT Screenwriting Competition entry period is set to open in mid-August 2020 and close in late February 2021. Meanwhile, Schiffman provides free education for Montana writers about screenwriting and adapting books to film at her new Montana Screenwriting & Storycrafting Meetup group via “script of the month” discussions and online interviews with MTSC 2020 Judges.

For info on screenwriting education events offered via MTSC visit

To learn more about the MT Screenwriting Competition, visit

To contact any MTSC honored writer or request a script for review, email Barbara Schiffman at:

For info on the rescheduled 2020 Bigfork Independent Film Festival, visit


Barbara Schiffman, Creator/Coordinator

Montana Screenwriting Competition 818-415-3479


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