TFT's Meg Gifford tops Goldwyn Writing Awards

Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.: "55-year-old competition encourages aspiring writers"


UCLA screenwriting student Meg Gifford has taken the top prize in the 55th annual Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards competition. The winners were announced Nov. 1 in a ceremony at the James West Alumni Center at UCLA, with TFT dean Teri Schwartz and veteran producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr., president of the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, in attendance.

In her opening remarks, Dean Schwartz called the Goldwyns “one of the most respected awards programs in the entire field of entertainment.” Open to all students in the University of California system, the awards were founded by Samuel Goldwyn Sr. in 1955. With a roster of past recipients that includes filmmakers Allison Anders, Carroll Ballad, Francis Ford Coppola and Colin Higgins, and bestselling novelist Jonathan Kellerman, the Goldwyns have a track record that is second to none.

“We did a little research recently,” Goldwyn said, “and found out that 80 percent of past recipients of this award are still working in film and television.”

The awards were judged this year by talent agent Richard Green (CAA), production executive Hutch Parker (New Regency) and journalist Elizabeth Guider, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter.

The awards carry prizes of $15,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, $2,000 for the first honorable mention and $1,000 for the second honorable mention.

The winning scripts:

First Place: “Paint It Black” by Meg Gifford, UCLA. Four siblings are being raised to fulfill their parents’ own desires for success until a hippie neighbor moves in and introduces the kids to a world their parents never wanted them to see.

Second Place: “Burnt Bridges of Cartwright” by Branden Cahn, UCSB. A dramatic comedy about a timid son, an apathetic father and a kooky grandfather who try to re-establish a relationship that never really existed in the first place.

Third Place: “Hit and Run” by Owen Donavan Yarde, UCLA. An irreverent meditation on the meaning of life in the face of death, the story of how Mickey Kalligheri becomes a hit man without really trying.

FTF2 1st Honorable Mention: “How To Leave Your Lover” by Matt Wheeler, UCLA. James Langford is under pressure to marry his college sweetheart, Kirsten, but realizes he wants to end their 10-year relationship instead. He tries to break up with her without breaking her heart, but hilarity ensues when his various attempts go awry.

2nd Honorable Mention: “Short Stories” by Ryan Finnerty, UCLA. The gritty tale of a homeless junkie who attempts to turn his life around for the woman he loves and avoid going back to prison.

The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation was created in 1947 by Samuel Goldwyn Sr. Under his leadership and those of subsequent presidents, Frances Howard Goldwyn and currently Samuel Goldwyn Jr., the Foundation has been a major contributor to organizations that deal with children, health and education in Los Angeles. Two of its major contributions are the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards, created in 1955 and held under the auspices of UCLA and the 1974 construction ot the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. ln 1983 the Foundation ventured into a publlc/private partnership with the City of Los Angeles to rebuild a city library burned by arson. The result was the award-winning Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch Library, which opened in 1986. The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation Children’s Center is the Foundation's most recent project. The Center houses 80 children whose parents work in the entertainment industry. ln addition to the major projects that it funds, the Foundation also annually funds many innovative community, educational and social programs.

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