The Top 10 winners of the 13th Annual Slamdance Screenplay Competition have been announced, with a screenplay about numbers taking top honors. Numbered writer Neil McGowan, who works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit research and analysis company and is a first time screenwriter, was given a $7,000 cash prize for best feature-length screenplay during an awards presentation hosted by the Writers Guild of America, West.
Other winners (ordered 2nd through 10th place) include: Goodman’s Garden by Douglas Miller; Want and Curiosity by Eric Weller; Human Resources by Marissa Jo Cerar; Lucas Donovan by Keisha Poiro; Moonbeam Fisherman by John Dummer; Mendelssohn by Joseph Yuan and Jeanette Manning; Hair Today by Dennis Douda;Czechoslovakia by Alvin Easter; and Truckers VS. Bikers by Aaron Grunland and Sean Huet. Honorable Mentions went to Fausta by Dalisia Mendoza; Fireseason by Tim D. Stickler; Repeat After Me by Scott Honea; Sapna’s Gift by Anthony Dodd and Somewhere Better Than Here by Vince Orlando. The winner in the Best Short Screenplay category was Crybaby by Mark Seidel.
The competition was overseen by Slamdance’s new Director of Writing Competitions, Joy Saez, who joins the staff after several years of working the festival and six years of experience in indie film production. “This year our finalists are a diverse group of writers telling original stories with an independent spirit,” says Saez. “Numbered is a perfect example of an unknown, naturally talented voice that is just waiting to be discovered.”
The winners were announced at a special awards reception at the Writers Guild of America, West. Attendees included Slamdance alumni, members of the WGAW Independent Writers Caucus and Slamdance Screenplay Awards Sponsors.
Slamdance received over 2,000 submissions for the Screenplay Competition, which strives to bring attention to the most talented emerging screenwriters and introduce them to the industry. Previous Competition-winning screenplays that were acquired for production include Nicole Kassell and Stephen Fetcher’s The Woodsman, Joshua Marston’s Maria Full of Grace and Tim Boughn’s Neo Ned.
The success of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition over the past twelve years and the writers it has discovered continues to attract the attention of industry searching for the best new independent writing talent. This year’s competition introduced Upload Films as an award sponsor for the Independent Feature Screenplay Award, which went to Numbered. In 2006, Todd Williams, John Portnoy and Nick Thurlow founded Upload Films in order to provide a new home for filmmaker-based projects that expand the vocabulary of independent film. Combining production, finishing funds, and post-production services under one roof, the company develops its own projects and teams up with other producers to bring engaging films with strong visions to the screen. Shotgun Stories, the first film completed by Upload Films, had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 14th, 2007. Upload is currently in post-production on the 2006 Slamdance Screenplay Grand Prize winning film, Drool written and directed by Nancy Kissam. Drool will premiere as a special screening at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
2008 Slamdance Screenplay Friends of the Competition include Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment; Enigma Entertainment and Media Talent Group. The Slamdance Screenplay Awards are additionally sponsored by: Final Draft, InkTip, Killer Screenwriting, Script Magazine, Storylink, Writers Bootcamp, and the Writers Store.
Following this successful contest, Slamdance is currently preparing the full 2009 Writing Competition Slate, including next year’s Screenplay Competition along with the returning Teleplay Competition, Horror Screenplay Competition, and Short Screenplay Competition.
The 2009 Teleplay Competition will be sponsored in part by The Greif Company, which produced the Cannes Film Festival critically acclaimed documentary, "Brando," and is currently in production on season four of A&E's hit reality series "Gene Simmons Family Jewels", as well as "Battleground Earth: Ludacris vs. Tommy Lee" for Discovery's Planet Green network, VH1's first HD series "Eddie Griffin: Going For Broke", and two distinctive law enforcement reality series, "Rookies" for A&E, and "Female Forces" for the Biography Channel.
As a year-round organization, Slamdance serves as a showcase for the discovery of new and emerging talent and is dedicated to the nurturing and development of new independent artists and their cinematic vision. Celebrating its 15th Anniversary at this year’s festival, the Slamdance Film Festival will run concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival, January 15-23, 2009 in Park City, Utah. Slamdance still lives by its mantra: “By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers.” No other festival is fully programmed by real, actual filmmakers. Slamdance is proud to count among its alumni many notable writers and directors who first gained notice at the festival, including such cinematic luminaries as Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster and Jared Hess. New filmmakers and writers today realize that Slamdance is a place to launch their careers. For more information, log onto http://www.slamdance.com/.