2023 Top 20 Finalists:

A Broken Heart & The Immortal Hen

Benjamin Sarno

“The troubled teenage son of a single mom loses his girlfriend and father-figure while inheriting an old hen. 

Tasked with caring for his dementia-stricken grandmother, the boy gains perspective from a series of mishaps and blunders. 

Rewarded with a new romance, he finds a way to immortalize the pet bequeathed him.”

Black Sunday

Katreana Bellew

Synopsis: A young fireman, and father of four, jumps to his death to escape a Bronx fire alongside four other firemen. Upon inspection of the fire, it becomes clear that both the building owners and the city of New York are at fault. The fireman’s wife and the surviving, but chronically injured, men from the fire must grapple with the subsequent court cases and their own trauma resulting from the tragic day, all while forging friendships with each other, as they are the only one’s who understand.


Doug Van Bebber & David Van Bebber

After suffering a crippling childhood accident, an Oklahoma farm boy overcomes incredible odds to become the first undefeated NCAA wrestling champion and Gold Medalist at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Based on the true story of Hall of Fame wrestler Jack “Blackjack” Van Bebber.

Blackness of Space, Whiteness of Bones

Melissa L. White

Female artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, struggles to leave the bulk of her estate to her assistant, Juan Hamilton, whom she believes is the reincarnation of her late husband, ground-breaking photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The story takes place on the day Georgia and Juan try to rewrite her will: August 8, 1984, from sunrise to sunset, where Georgia tells her life story to her nurse via flashbacks and tidbits of conversation, revealing that she believes Juan was sent to her for a reason. In the end, Georgia confides to Juan that the “Art World” is nothing but an illusion, and the only thing that matters is that still small voice one hears inside their heart.


John J Budion

A military vet relieves the monotony of civilian life when he takes on one last mission against his suspicious neighbors.

Devil’s Island

Peter Mayfield

A failing TV adventure star seizes the opportunity to resurrect his career by filming his rescue attempt of a group of scientists being held captive by a tribe of cannibals on an unexplored island. He is forced to call upon all his survival and adventure skills in a race against time to locate and lead the scientists to safety before they are sacrificed to the unstable volcano. Or, an approaching storm traps them all.

Don’t Say Gay

Kevin J. Howard

“In the near future, Armond works for an organization that detains children of the LGBTQ community, blindly following the new laws set in place by a hateful administration. His views are challenged when he sees his sons name on the most recent list of detainees. Struggling to put his beliefs aside to be the father his son needs, Armond risks their lives to get his son to a free zone state where he’ll be safe from authorities.”


Clint Pearson, Ursula Pearson

Before he could try to save the world, someone had to save him.

Fish Frenzy

D.J. Broderick

Sharknado meets Frankenfish in this disaster/horror send up. An overly dedicated female ichthyologist tries to save the residents of Catalina Island from a fish apocalypse that she created.

Frank’s Heart

Marilynn Loveless

Born with a fatal heart defect, Frank lives thanks to his tenacious mother and the Father of Open Heart surgery — but he’s living on borrowed time and he’ll need the love of a childhood sweetheart to rescue his heart a second time. Based on the true story of the longest-living survivor of open heart surgery, “Frank’s Heart” chronicles the pioneering days of open heart surgery including the heartbreak and hope experienced by both patient and physician.

Love Me X 3

Erin Elizabeth Keefer

After Developing two alternate personalities who are in a relationship with each other, John has finally managed to establish a routine and hold down a steady job, until the alternate personalities break up and a hilarious chaos ensues.


Kevin Waite

An enslaved woman challenges her master and California’s crooked legal system in the largest freedom suit in the history of the American West. Based on the untold, true story of Biddy Mason.

Spyder: One Man’s Quest for the “Little Bastard”

Brett Howard Nelson

In the aftermath of a bad breakup, heartbroken James Dean fanatic, Spyder Deakins, embarks on a quest to find the late actor’s 1955 race car, the infamous Porsche 550 Spyder, known as the “Little Bastard.“ But along his journey of heartache and loss, Spyder realizes that through forgiveness, endings have new beginnings… for himself, the “Little Bastard,” and the tragic legacy of James Dean.

Rough Cut

Mitchell V Slan

On Halloween night, an isolated video editor/streamer is hired to edit together a horror movie made by a masked killer, only to discover that the cinematic “scenes” are real.

Seven Days to Butterfly

Debbie Peiser & Chris Collins

A coming of age story about a twenty-something who must wrestle with the most important decision of her life: whether to end her unintended pregnancy. “Lady Bird” meets “Booksmart” in tone, based on the writer’s life.


Fatima Litim

When a debilitating childhood spawns an obsession to get even with her father, Natalie partners with her enamored neighbor to hunt for proxies who becomes the target of her uncontrollable serial murders.


NC Ruby

Aspiring nonbinary fashionista Charli and their family fight to keep their vitriolic, dementia suffering grandpa, Rev Chuck, from being kicked out of yet another nursing home. As the Pyper family struggles to quell the Reverend’s disruptive behavior, they uncover shocking secrets both he and they have been keeping from each other.


Jonathan Turner Smith

After years of constant bullying, members of the self- proclaimed “The Loser’s Club” decide to put an end to their daily torment by kicking into action their long-gestating plan “Operation Get Back.” On the night of their high school’s Centennial Homecoming, they kidnap two of the worst bullies in their school, the star quarterback, Joe Taylor, and one of the most popular girls in school, Tawny Harris, and put them on trial for crimes committed against their fellow students.
“Operation Get Back” is going to kick some serious butt!

The Romanian Incident

Simon King

Set in a gorgeous hotel high in the mountains of Romania during the Cold War Era, The Romanian Incident is a locked-door murder mystery. KGB specialist Polina Tolkunova arrives at the hotel during a blizzard to complete an assignment when the person she is supposed to meet is found dead in his locked hotel room. Polina must now identify the killer among the hotel’s clients before someone else is killed.

The Shadow Falls

Clay Callender

A sweet-natured architect, his husband and their young daughter, face frightening consequences when he unwittingly unleashes a monstrous shadow that feeds on his long-repressed anger and pain, forcing him to confront the traumas of his past before it consumes him and destroys his young family.