Yellow by Zara Meerza has been selected as the grand prize winner of the inaugural ScreenCraft Public Domain Competition. A pilot set at the end of the 19th century as the bitter rivalry between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst reaches a boiling point and “yellow journalism” is born. In addition to the excellent writing, the timely concept and vivid world of a crumbling corrupt New York City impressed the judges.
The First Detective by James Spector has been selected as the runner-up. The feature film tells the true story of the man considered to be the first ever private detective. The sample showed incredible promise and loving homage to the iconic film trope born from this profession.
In addition to the ScreenCraft team, the judges included: Greg Hunt, agent at Independent Talent Group, the UK agency that represents such acclaimed writers as Peter Morgan (Netflix’s THE CROWN, FROST/NIXON and THE QUEEN) and actress Dolly Wells (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES); James V. Hart, Award-winning screenwriter of HOOK (directed by Steven Spielberg), BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) and the NBC series CROSSBONES (starring John Malkovich); Daniel Bobker, Producer and partner at Bobker/Kruger Films since 2004. The company’s focus is shepherding elevated material and singular filmmaking voices in all genres. He has produced films including OPHELIA starring Daisy Ridley & Naomi Watts, THE BROTHERS GRIMM starring Matt Damon & Heath Ledger, and THE SKELETON KEY starring Kate Hudson & John Hurt; Andrea Dimity, Literary Manager / Producer with clients including Pete Barry who recently sold his spec script MARIAN to Amy Pascal/Sony with Margot Robbie attached. She is currently producing BURN RUN written by Mitch Lafortune that is set up at Thunder Road Pictures, and Adi Shankar, Creator of The Bootleg Universe, a YouTube channel with over 30 million views which has released several high-profile short films that focus on reinterpreting pre-existing intellectual property (ironically, not in the public domain). Adi has produced features films including DREDD (starring Karl Urban), THE GREY (starring Liam Neeson) and MACHINE GUN PREACHER (Gerard Butler). His TV credits include Netflix’s CASTLEVANIA.
Grand prize winner Zara Meerza will receive a $1,000 cash prize, a one-year license to the HartChart story-mapping software and hand-picked industry consultations and introductions., while Spector will receive a $500 cash prize, a HartChart license and have his script circulated and recommended to ScreenCraft’s network of over 60 managers, agents, producers and development executives.
Congratulations to these winning writers, and thank you to our judges and to everyone who submitted projects; we read a number of remarkable screenplays.
And be sure to check out more of ScreenCraft’s recent success stories here.
Writing a feature film, short, or TV pilot script? Don’t miss these upcoming competition deadlines.