The TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award will provide $15,000 to a Canadian writer of an outstanding feature-film screenplay, supporting them to develop their project. The Award is open to experienced screenwriters who are female, or who are Indigenous, or who belong to a visible minority, or who identify as having a disability. Applicants must have a writer or director credit on a feature film that has been presented at one of this Award’s recognized festivals. Our commitment is to fund the development of high-quality productions that reflect, represent, and reframe diverse perspectives through character-driven stories at the centre of the Canadian experience.

The winner of the 2020 Award was Elyse Friedman, for her screenplay The Relationship Experiment.

2020 TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award Winner

Elyse Friedman

Elyse Friedman has written for screens large and small, radio, magazines, and the stage. Her recent novel The Answer to Everything was published by HarperCollins Canada. Her work has been shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award, the ReLit Award, and numerous National Magazine Awards. Her story The Soother won the Gold National Magazine Award for Fiction. Friedman is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre. She has had two feature films produced, one of which premiered at TIFF in 2001. In 2019, her screenplay Better Now won the TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award Jury Prize.

What’s Included

  • A $15,000 award for the development of the submitted feature-film project
  • Mentorship from a script consultant
  • Mentorship from TIFF’s programming team
  • Access to the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Access to TIFF’s Industry Conference, Business Centre, and Delegate Resources


Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a resident of Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be over the age of majority in their province or territory of residence
  • Have received a writer or director credit on a feature film that has screened in Official Selection at one of this Award’s list of recognized festivals
  • Demonstrate ownership of all underlying rights to their Submission
  • Identify as a woman, or a visible minority, or Indigenous, or a person with a disability in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Key Dates

Applications open
November 4, 2019
Applications close
December 4, 2019
Winner announced
February 6, 2020

Submission Guidelines

Submissions must be original works in English, written solely by the Applicant. Adaptations of books, plays, or magazine articles are eligible, provided the applicant has secured the necessary legal rights. There is a limit of one submission per applicant.

In order to be considered for the Award, the Applicant must submit all of the application materials listed below via the online application by 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, December 4, 2019:

  1. The project title
  2. The genre
  3. The intended target audience (one sentence)
  4. A completed online Application Form, with digital signature
  5. A completed online Submission Release Form, with digital signature
  6. The project being submitted for consideration. Submissions must be in the form of an 85- to 120-page feature-length screenplay in “script format standard.” The cover page should include only the project title and no other identifying markings.
  7. A short synopsis that encapsulates the story and does not exceed 60 words
  8. The proposed production budget (approximate)
  9. Any key attachments in place, e.g. director, producer, and/or any proposed cast
  10. Information on your confirmed sources of financing (if applicable)
  11. A short statement of no more than 150 words that outlines the progress of the project to date, identifying the current challenges and the approach that will be used to explore these challenges in the next stage of development

Terms and Conditions
Applicants should carefully review and abide by the Terms and Conditions set out here.

Thank you all that applied. Applications for 2020 have now closed.

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