2018 will be the third year of the Cleveland Indie Film Incubator. The past two years, we've assisted in helping a few filmmakers get their projects off the ground, and we hope to continue to build off that success. Cleveland Camera Rental is announcing the launch of the 2018 contest. This year 6 writer/directors with great ideas will be selected to receive assistance in complimentary workshops and rental credits.

Submissions open March 14th, 2018 and close April 8th, 2018. Contestants will submit their contact information, a partial or completed script, and a video pitch for their idea. Entry is free, but we recommend a donation of $20 to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission (donation link).

We'll post everyone's pitch video online and previous winners will select 5 finalists, and an 6th finalist will be selected by popular vote. All 6 finalists will attend a series of 6 workshop sessions to develop their concepts. At the completion of the workshops, all 6 finalists will get the chance to pitch their script to panel, who will choose the Grand Prize Winner. This Grand Prize package includes a Director of Photography, Assistant Director, and Sound Operator for 2 production days, all necessary equipment for camera and lighting (by availability and need), and a $1000 cash budget.

In addition to the Grand Prize Winner, each of the finalists will receive a $500 rental credit toward the production of their concept upon the completion of all of the workshops. (Standard rental terms and conditions including a security deposit apply.)

Collect your thoughts and enter today! We're excited to help connect you with the resources you need to succeed. Whether you win the Grand Prize or just use this as an opportunity to flesh out an old idea, we hope that we can help you launch your dream project in 2018.


  • 1. Are there any restrictions on ideas for submission?
    No, but for the Grand Prize Winner we're looking for a narrative short film that can be filmed in 2 production days. Depending on the content, this usually means a script of between 2 and 10 pages, or a final running time of less than 8 minutes. However, if you're working on a larger piece or a different concept, the Grand Prize could be adapted to get you started or produce a proof of concept piece, so don't limit yourself!
  • 2. Are there any restrictions on subject matter or content?
    Yes. We reserve final judgment on accepting any submission, and may discard concepts with objectionable material (gratuitously violent or sexual content or content that targets or offends any specific group or individual, for example). That may seem vague, but if you have a doubt, it may be best to revise. Also, content is limited to the narrative short film format, so no music videos, documentaries, advertisements, animations, or experimental films, although your concept may contain elements of these (for example, a mockumentary concept is fine, or an experimental dream sequence).
  • 3. When and what will the format for the workshops be?
    There will be six workshop sessions of around 3 hours where the finalists will work to help each other develop their concepts and improve their writing/directing skills. Staff from Cleveland Camera Rental and guest speakers will give the finalists additional info and guidance on topics such as scriptwriting, directing, and producing. The finalists are required to attend all sessions to be eligible for any prizes. Tentative dates are 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/20, 5/27
  • 4. What do I need to submit?
    You will need a link to file uploads of your script (in PDF format) and a video of you pitching your idea (in MP4 or MOV). We recommend using Dropbox or Google Drive and making sure that the file is shared. You'll also submit some other information, including how to get in touch with you and some details about your concept. There is no fee, but we strongly recommend a $20 donation to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, which supports year-round workforce development in the area.