Screenwriting and Producing Alumni Awards will also be handed out during the festival that celebrates the achievements of UCLA TFT students, while recognizing some of the industry's most distinguished talent

Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning director/producer Ryan Murphy, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer, Annie Award-nominated animator Erick Oh and director Reed Morano will be honored at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s 26th Annual Film Festival, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Kanbar Entertainment with support from SAG-Indie, and in-kind support from Cast & Crew Entertainment, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, International Screenwriters Association and Stella Artois. The festival takes place June 10-14, 2017 at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the Directors Guild of America.

On Saturday, June 10, Oh will be honored with the Crystal Anvil Award during the Festival of Animation, which honors outstanding contributions to the world of animation. Oh, who worked at Pixar Animation from 2010-2016, was nominated for an Annie Award for his animation in Finding Dory (2016). Other Pixar titles he contributed to include the Oscar-winning films Inside Out (2015) and Brave (2012). His independent films have been introduced and awarded at numerous international festivals including the Student Academy Awards, Annie Awards, Annecy Animation Festival and SIGGRAPH, among others. Oh recently joined Tonko House, founded by former Pixar artists Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, to direct The Dam Keeper TV series. He is an alumnus of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

A screenwriter, producer, director and author, Heisserer will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Screenwriting Award during Screenwriters Showcase on Monday, June 12. Director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) will present the award. Earlier this year, Heisserer earned an Academy Award nomination as well as a Critics’ Choice Award and Writers Guild Award for his adapted screenplay Arrival (2016), based on author Ted Chiang’s short story The Story of Your Life. His other writing credits include Lights Out (2016); Hours (2013), which he also directed; The Thing (2011); Final Destination 5 (2011); and the reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Extinction, set for a 2018 release, is in pre-production, starring Michael Peña and Lizzy Caplan. For Valiant Comics, he is writing Secret Weapons, an ongoing title that introduces new characters as well as fan favorites from the Valiant universe, debuting in June. Heisserer is also in negotiations to write and executive produce an AMC series based on another Ted Chiang short story.

Also during Screenwriters Showcase, writer-director-producer Don Mancini will be announced as the Hunter/Zakin Screenwriting Chair for the academic year 2017-18. Mancini created the Child’s Play franchise, the successful series of horror movies featuring “Chucky,” the killer doll. Mancini wrote the screenplay for all seven films in the series, and directed Seed of Chucky (2004); Curse of Chucky (2013); and the franchise’s latest, Cult of Chucky, which will be released in October 2017. Mancini conceived the screenplay for the original Child’s Play in 1988, while an undergraduate student at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In television, Mancini has been a writer-producer on NBC’s Hannibal, HBO’s Tales From the Crypt, and SyFy’s anthology series Channel Zero. He has also appeared as a judge on Syfy’s reality competition series Face Off and Food Network’s Halloween Wars.

The Hunter/Zakin Chair Holder in Screenwriting Award was established in 1999 by San Francisco businessman Jonathan N. Zakin and requires that the recipient teach a 10-week screenwriting seminar at UCLA TFT. Zakin is a member of UCLA TFT's Executive Board. Hunter is an emeritus professor in UCLA TFT's prestigious screenwriting program. Previous Hunter/Zakin Chairs in Screenwriting have included Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Cormac and Marianne Wibberley (National Treasure, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle), Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar) and Sacha Gervasi (The Terminal), among others.

Additionally, feature and TV writer Noga Landau (M.F.A. ’14) will receive the Screenwriting Alumni Award on Monday, June 12. Her sci-fi feature TAU, which appeared on the 2014 Black List and is currently in post-production, was written while she was a UCLA TFT student. Landau is a staff writer on the Syfy series The Magicians and recently developed and produced a pilot, The Haunted, also for Syfy. Producer Giacun Caduff (M.F.A. ’08) will receive the inaugural Celebrated Producing Alumni Award during Producers Marketplace on Tuesday, June 13. This will be an annual award bestowed to a recent UCLA TFT Producers Program graduate in recognition of their talent, success and leadership within the film community. Earlier this year, along with director Timo von Gunten, he received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Live Action Short for producing the short film La femme et le TGV.

On Tuesday, June 13, Murphy will be honored with the Vision Award during Producers Marketplace. Producer Gary Lucchesi (The Lincoln Lawyer, Million Dollar Baby) will present Murphy with his award. Murphy is the executive producer and director of the Emmy-winning limited series American Crime Story and creator, writer, director and executive producer of the Emmy-winning anthology series American Horror Story, as well as the Screen Actors Guild, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series Glee, and the Golden Globe-winning original drama series Nip/Tuck. Most recently, he served as director, writer and executive producer on FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan, an anthology series starring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.

Directors Spotlight takes place on the closing night of the festival, Wednesday, June 14, at the Directors Guild of America. Directors Spotlight features a jury-selected showcase of the latest distinguished student films in the production/directing and animation programs. Films selected by panels of industry professionals and alumni will be presented with the Blue Ribbon Panel Award, Alumni Jury Award and awards for Spotlight finalists. Director Morano will receive the Distinguished Vanguard Filmmaker Award. Morano, named one of Indiewire's 20 Best Breakthrough Directors of 2015, made her directing debut in 2014 with the drama Meadowland, which premiered in competition at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, and also served as the DP on the film, earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination. She was the executive producer and director of the first three episodes of HULU/MGM’s critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss. She is currently in post-production on her latest feature as director/DP, I Think We’re Alone Now, starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning, and prepping for her next directing feature, starring Jeff Bridges and Diane Lane, which begins production in October 2017. Morano is the lauded cinematographer of Vinyl, Kill Your Darlings and Frozen River. In 2013, she became the American Society of Cinematographers’ youngest inductee and one of only 12 women in the organization at the time.

Student films from many notable alumni have showcased at the annual UCLA TFT festival including Shane Acker (9); Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar); Gil Kenan (Monster House, Poltergeist); Justin Lerner (The Automatic Hate); Justin Lin (Fast & Furious franchise) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees), among others.

Posted: June 9, 2017