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Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards Honor Next Screenwriting Generation

by ScreenCraft Staff on November 6, 2013

Monday marked the 58th Annual Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards, where UCLA student Rocco Pucillo won first prize for his screenplay, Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow.

In his report about the awards for Deadline, Pete Hammond said Pucillo's screenplay was an "extremely clever film-noirish animation screenplay revolving around spiders" that's "so good, it could probably go into production tomorrow."

The judges included Deadline award columnist Pete Hammond, TriStar Productions Chairman Tom Rothman, and 2007 Goldwyn award winner Jennifer O’Kieffe.

The prestigious screenwriting competition began in 1955, and the annual awards are bestowed by the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation. Producer and president of the foundation, Samuel Goldwyn Jr, was in attendance Monday and announced the winners.

Among awards and congratulations came some advice for aspiring screenwriters. According to Hammond, Judge Tom Rothman told the students, “If you can close your eyes and think of any other profession you would be happy doing, leave the room immediately and go do it. If this is it, this is your passion, this is what you were born to do, then welcome to the club. We need you. We need the stick-tuitiveness it will take. We need the talent. We need the voices. We need the belief. It’s the mile, not the 100-yard dash but welcome to the race.”

The competition is open to all University of California students and offers a first place prize of $15,000. Though the students may not be well known to the public during the time they receive the award, history shows that many go on to achieve later filmmaking fame. Notable past winners include Francis Ford Coppola, Allison Anders, Carolyn See, Eric Roth, Pamela Gray and James Robert Baker.

According to Hammond, John Goldwyn was also in attendance and said the foundation is proud of the "extraordinary contributions to the art of cinema produced by our former winners." He "noted that former winners have written more than 300 films, TV series and made-for-TV movies in productions that have won a total of 27 Oscars, 87 Emmys and 35 Golden Globes."

In addition to Pucillo winning first prize, UC Riverside student Jared Robbins won second place for his screenplay, Farang, and there was a three-way tie for third place among UCLA TFT students Jeffrey Baker for Dr. Acker’s English Elixir, Turner Hay for Broken Grey, and UC Irvine student  Sean Harrigan for Dust Red.

Last week, the 2013 ScreenCraft Comedy Script Contest semi-finalists were announced. Check out the winners here.

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