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Ergocinema / Screenplay Award

Screenplay Award

The Ergocinema Screenplay Award wants to push the screenwriting craft in the DACH region. Two Awards were presented, the Audience Award and the Critics Award. The Award Ceremony took place on April 22nd 2023, as a part of the film festival INDEPENDENT DAYS in Karlsruhe. The Screenplay Award is supported by the Filmboard Karlsruhe e. V., the sponsor of the Independent Days.

The Screenplay Award Winners

🏆 The Critics Award: THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE by Andreas Dahn
🏆 The Audience Award: THE GOD EQUATION by David Vodan

Photos: Robert Fuge

The Screenplay Reading

During the film festival, the 5 Finalists of the Audience Award were read in front of a live audience by the actors Nadine Knobloch & Anton Algrang. The reading took place on April 21st in the premises of the Baden State Library. The writers Doris Köhler and David Vodan were also present.

Photos: Jürgen Rösner and Andreas Simon

The Screenplay Award History

My firm belief is that we need to help each other and build each other up. Therefore this event didn’t turn out like the typical big festival events, where Brad and Angelina pull up in a limo, dance up the stairs to thunderous applause from the crowd, only to disappear into the theatre, leaving the audience outside. No, everyone was able to participate. Excerpts of the screenplays were publicly read on YouTube, analyzed and commented on together. The interested audience was a big part of the process and able to vote for their favourites. The screenwriters finally got the visibility they deserved.

The announcement video

It all started in the first lockdown with the video series Let’s read Screenplays (“Wir lesen Drehbücher”), which soon progressed to the next format, The Writers Room. Both made some waves on German Social Media, but the latter even made it into magazine FREUNDIN (formerly FILM REVUE) as the most popular lockdown activity. Finally, the whole project culminated in this German Screenplay Award. I wanted to donate an Award for a long time, but this time everything just clicked: We read the material on YouTube during the live streams, read the Finalists during a real live reading, and awarded the Best Screenplay 2023 in the end. Viewers could vote based on the Watch Time, Average View Duration, Likes and Comments. The final round was all about comparing their favorite screenplays with the 4 other Finalists. Since a very special screenplay in terms of storytelling, scene construction and dialogue didn’t make it into the list of nominees, I decided to ad a Critics Award as well.

All Screenplay Award participants

Here is an overview of all 16 participants:

The idea of ​​submission

This Screenplay Award is based on openness and diversity. Who sees themselves as youngsters and who as oldtimers? No matter where the individual writer stands, this award was not about prejudices of others or the glory of past successes. It was intended to strengthen the current screenwriting craft and therefore open to all screenwriters regardless of age, gender or origin. It didn’t matter whether you’re from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or even France or the USA — this Award is truly international and inclusive. The most important requirement was that the screenplay was written in German.

In the end, it was simply about finding the best story translated into screenplay form (loosely based on Mark Twain: A good story well told). Any genre was welcome and submissions from action, adventure, fantasy, horror and science-fiction were expressly desired.

Formal Conditions of Participation

There were a few formal conditions for the screenplay submission:

  • Everyone was only allowed to enter with one screenplay
  • Only feature film screenplays were allowed (80-120 pages in PDF format)
  • A logline had to be submitted with the script (1-2 sentences, maximum 50 words)
  • All rights to the script must be owned by the submitter and they had to agree that the logline and script excerpt may be read publicly

You can find more information about the prize money etc. on Filmfreeway:

The Livestream Readings

Since the Award Ceremony, all live streams have been re-activated. Here you can watch all 16 readings in a row (depending on your level of German, I guess):

At this point, once again, many thanks to all participants, spectators and supporters. Up to this point I can already say that it was a phenomenal experience. We’ll see each other next time around. As one commenter so aptly wrote closed his commentary:

Thanks for the discovery, long live cinema!

– Sven Eric Maier