David R. Ames Film Award

This annual award is designed to inspire creativity and recognize the talents of young scriptwriters and filmmakers. Thanks to the generosity of David R. Ames '72 this award will provide funding up to $5,000.00 to produce the winning original script selected by a panel of faculty judges.

2023-2024 Contest Information

The Park School of Communications is pleased to announce that the David R. Ames Film Award is back!

The David R. Ames Film Award is designed to inspire creativity and recognize the talents of young scriptwriters and filmmakers. Thanks to the generosity of David R. Ames '72, this award will provide funding up to $5000 to produce the winning original script selected by a panel of faculty judges. All full-time Park School students are eligible to submit a short narrative script between 8 and 15 pages for consideration. Finalists will be asked to assemble a production team (filling all key crew positions), create a production proposal, and pitch their projects to the award committee.

The selected project’s team will be enrolled in a 1-credit mini-course during the spring 2024 semester. Projects funded by this award will be shot over Spring Break 2024 and cannot be submitted towards any other credit-bearing course by any member of the creative team.


Monday, October 16, 4:00 PM EST – Script Submission Deadline
Friday, November 3 – Announce Finalists
Friday, November 17, 4:00 PM EST – Production Notebooks Deadline
Monday, December 4 through December 8 – Finalist Pitches
Monday, December 11 – Winner Notified 

Beginning of Spring 2024 semester – Pre-Production

Spring Break 2024 – Principal Photography to be Completed

End of Spring 2024 semester – Post-Production

TBD – Screening for Faculty Critique


Submit your script as a .pdf using the 2023 David R. Ames Film Award Google Form here. Fill in your name and contact information on the form. However, do not put your name or any contact information anywhere on the pages or in the file name.
A.        Scripts must be written in English.
B.        Scripts may be between 8 and 15 pages in length, as the ideal film for festivals runs between 8 and 12 minutes.
C.        Content must be original and unproduced. Adaptations of books, plays, or other source materials are not acceptable.
D.        Content must also be narrative. This award is not for documentary or experimental film.
E.        Scripts may be co-written by two Park School majors.
F.        Scripts must be submitted in standard screenplay format:

  • Courier 12-point font
  • Proper margins for pages, character names, dialogue etc.
  • Pages numbers in the upper right-hand corner except for page 1
  • Title Page with the name of the film (but without the writer’s name or any contact information)
  • No name or contact information anywhere in the pages or file name.

G.        It is recommended (but not required) that scripts be registered with the

 Writer’s Guild of America Script Registry and/or the U.S. Copyright Office.

Scripts that do not conform to the above criteria will be disqualified.


All finalists are required to submit a production packet for the award committee to review. Please submit your production packet via WeTransfer. Files sent via WeTransfer must be sent to ICDavidAmesAward@gmail.com.

Submission Guidelines
The production packet includes a production notebook, script revision, and samples of produced work.

Production Notebook
All materials listed below must be included in the binder:

  • A Letter from a TVDM or CNPH production faculty member stating that they are willing to mentor the project and supervise a 1-credit Independent Project class for the proposed production.
  • 1-2 Page narrative description detailing your approach to production of the script. You may wish to describe visual styles, use of sound, and other techniques that you can realistically employ and describe how the choices support the story.
  • Crew organization listing the names and contact information for Park students filling the key crew positions, including but not limited to Producer, Director, Director of Photography, Production Designer, Sound Designer, Production Sound, and Editor. The script’s writer may choose to fill any of these or another crew position.
  • A production schedule addressing pre-production, principal photography over Spring Break, post-production, and an estimated date of completion (before the last week of classes).
  • A budget plan indicating how you plan to use the prize money from pre-production through post-production. The budget might include the cost of additional equipment rental, hiring professional actors, film stock, expendables, and all additional goods and services. Prize money may not be used to hire professional crew members. Any project that proposes the employment of professional crew members will be disqualified.
  • Miscellaneous: Please feel free to add any pertinent information to further clarify or support your proposal. For example, you may wish to include a casting plan or list of locations.

Samples of Produced Work

Submit samples of any of your produced work up to 10 minutes long via flash drive or WeTransfer. You may wish to include 10 minutes of a film by the director or several shorter clips by the Director, DP, Production Designer, Sound Designer, etc.—whatever is most useful in supporting your approach to production. Material running longer than 10 minutes will be disqualified. Files sent via WeTransfer must be sent to ICDavidAmesAward@gmail.com.

Production teams will be disqualified if any material is missing from the packet.


All finalists will be required to pitch their proposed project and production materials to the award committee during a presentation of up to 20 minutes, including at least 5 minutes for answering questions from the award committee. Finalists will be notified of the specific date, time, and location.

Presentations should include a pitch deck consisting of:

  • Information on the interpretation of the story (logline, statement about theme or characters)
  • The production teams’ visual design (the Director’s, DP’s, and Production Designer’s approach to color palette, lighting, costuming, use of sound, and/or other cinematic techniques). This information is sometimes called a moodboard but can be presented in alternate ways. You may also want to make comparisons between your project and existing films.
  • Guides to key crew members, budget, number of locations, approach to casting etc.

For more information on creating a pitch deck, click here. Keep in mind that this site minimizes the need for a moodboard. For the David Ames Award Committee, a moodboard or equivalent is as important as everything else.

Award Decision Announcement:

The award committee will choose one production team to greenlight and award a check in the amount of $5000. The production team must consult with Erin Schiefelbein, Administrative & Financial Operations Coordinator, eschiefelbein@ithaca.edu, to receive the check as well as guidance regarding the statement below:  

Your award may be taxable, and you may need to pay tax on that income. As a result, Funding received will be considered taxable income and must be reported by you on IRS Form 1099-NEC. Ithaca College will need to request that you submit IRS Form W-9 prior to issuing payment. An email will be sent to you from suppliersofc@ithaca.edu to upload the form to the Oracle financial system, DO NOT send by email.

About David Ames

Semi-retired, David Ames manages Ames Enterprises LLC and serves as president and a member of the board of directors of Xethanol Corporation. He has had a highly successful and diverse career in internet/data services, entertainment, telecommunications, and computer industries. He has been an active venture capital investor in alternative energy companies, technologies, processes, and services. He is a member of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition and co-founded Alterna Energy to make investments in alternative energy companies. In 2008, he was named chief executive officer council of ACORE, the American Council on Renewable Energy. Formerly, he served as co-chairman of Technology General Contractors, LLC, a full-service home automation company and has been an advisory member on nonprofit organization boards, including Women in Cable and The Broadband Forum. He completed the Benton & Bowles marketing and advertising MBA program in association with Columbia University and the Wharton Business School. As an undergraduate, David served as a staff manager for WICB-TV and was head of the station's film and graphic department. He served as director and head of TV operations for the Office of Student Concerns and was an art photographer.