The Johnny Brenden Filmmakers Award

The Johnny Brenden Filmmakers Award of $25,000 is awarded every two years to an outstanding student for production money for a team to produce a feature-length advanced film project. The next application cycle will be in 2018.


Applicants must:

  • Be an enrolled student at the time of completion of the movie.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have proof of permanent resident status.
  • Have primary team members (screenwriter, producer, and director) who are current or recently graduated film majors at UNLV.


Film Department faculty

Step 1: Script Submission and Selection

  • The script will not be accepted for posting unless it has a Writers Guild of America registration number. (Anyone can register material with the WGA).
  • The WGA registration number should be on the title page, as well as contact information for the writer.
  • Scripts must be submitted in pdf format to by September 9, 2016.
  • All interested parties may review the scripts at this site and contact the writer about forming a team for the next round of the application process.

Step 2: Application Forms

The next stage of the process will be the submission of application forms. They will be in pdf format at the same webpage with the scripts. The form needs to include:

  • Names of the three primary team members (one of which will be the applicant)
  • A treatment (1-2 pages only) of the script
  • A preliminary budget taking in consideration the size of the Brenden Award with a proposed schedule as part of the budget
  • A link to the director’s reel

The team should consider external funding possibilities, as well, and indicate if there is the possibility of such. The deadline for this phase of the process is October 10, 2016.

Step 3: Applicant Announcement

A short list of the applicants will be announced by October 27, 2016. At that point, the teams will be assigned a date for their presentation to the faculty committee. In this phase of the process, teams will present a roster of a full crew (assistant director, director of photography, unit production manager, etc.) and casting plans as well as in-depth explanations as to how any challenging elements of the production will be dealt with. At no time will any member of the production unit be excused from any class in which they are enrolled. Teams are encouraged to consider production outside of the regular semester schedule for the university. Please note that failure to execute a basic production plan as presented could result in termination and return of the award. The department reserves the right to delay presentation of the award if it deems no applicants have a presentation at an expected level of professionalism.

Award Winner

Announcement of the award will be made before the end of the fall semester, 2016. The winner must be prepared to showcase the completed work at the Brenden Theatres at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas and acknowledgement of foundation support will appear in the film credits.


The first winner of the Johnny Brenden Filmmakers Award was producer Constanza Castro. Her feature film, “Liars, Fires and Bears” has been an official selection of a dozen film festivals. The second award was to Ryan LaBouef. His feature film, “Rabbit Days” was completed in the spring of 2014.