Category: News

The annual Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge is open to amateur and professional screenwriters worldwide and encourages original horror storytelling

Hosted by Stranger With My Face International Film festival, this one of a kind competition asks registered participants to write a new horror script of 7 pages or less within 48 hours—this year from 8-10 September.

Registrations are open until 7 September.


The Jury for 2017 has now been announced! They are:

  • Karen Lam, screenwriter/director/producer Karen Lam with feature credits including Evangeline and Stained and the webseries Mythos
  • Colin Cairnes, screenwriter/director, best known for the feature films 100 Bloody Acres and Scare Campaign
  • Victoria Madden, writer/show runner & creator of the acclaimed series The Kettering Incident
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, award-winning fantasy and crime novelist and podcaster
  • Briony Kidd, Director of Stranger With My Face International Film Festival, filmmaker and script consultant

Read their full bios here.

Scripts are judged on the originality of the premise and the story’s resonance. Screenwriting craft and writing quality are considered, but as secondary criteria, making it possible for novice screenwriters to have a chance to do well alongside experienced professionals.

Three unique prompts must be incorporated into each script, inspiring idiosyncratic results!

For example, one challenger in 2016 had to write a script using a tuxedo (object), an architect (character), and the “Only in your dreams” (phrase). Another had to incorporate a mushroom (object), a misogynist (character) and “Don’t break It” (phrase).

“The challenge is first and foremost an enjoyable creative exercise,” says Jury member Briony Kidd. “Whether or not you’re aiming to end up with a produceable script, we encourage participants to push the boundaries of their imaginations. Our interpretation of horror is extremely broad so participants can feel free to experiment as much as they like within that loose framework.”

Several successful short films have resulted from past Script Challenges, including Heidi Lee Douglas’s Little Lamb from the inaugural year, which went on to screen at top genre festivals including Fantastic Fest, and Hannah White’s Blood Sisters, which was directed by Caitlin Koller and Lachlan Smith, debuted at Stranger With My Face in 2017 and is now on the festival circuit.

The top prizes to be awarded in 2017 are Best Australian Script and Best International Script. The following runner-up prizes will also be awarded:

· Tasmaniana Award – for a script that engages with Tasmania as a location
· Miss Havisham Award – for a script that engages with gender issues
· Rebel Award – for a script that subverts conventions or challenges the status quo
· The Trifecta Award – for a script that cleverly incorporates the three prompts

The Best Australian and Best International winners will receive trophies and other prizes. These scripts will be read by professional actors and streamed to a worldwide audience in September or October 2017 (subject to discussions with the winners). Other awards and prizes may also be given.

Registrations for the 2017 Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge are now open and will close at 11PM (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) on 7 September.

The Challenge writing period is from 8PM 8 September 2017 until 8PM 10 September 2017. Entry is AU$20 or AU$30 if requesting script notes.

Registrations for the Tasmania Gothic Script Challenge 2017 are now open via THIS PAGE.

For more information contact the organisers via

Little Lamb, written and directed by Heidi Lee Douglas

Image above: Little Lamb, written and directed by Heidi Lee Douglas. Image at the top of page: Blood Sisters, written by Hannah White directed by Caitlin Koller and Lachlan Smith.