Academics & Faculty

Industry Judges Select Best UCLA Scripts for June 15 Screenwriting Showcase


Filmmaker James Cameron and Screenwriter Daniel Taradash to be Honored

A panel of distinguished entertainment industry judges has selectedfive outstanding new screenplays to be featured at "Specs Appeal,"a showcase of work by UCLA graduate screenwriting students on Monday, June15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village. The eventis part of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's Festival `98,a weeklong celebration of student work June 12-20.

The evening, hosted by UCLA screenwriting alumnus Mike Werb ("TheMask," "Face/Off"), will include special presentations towriter/director James Cameron ("Titanic") and writer Daniel Taradash("From Here to Eternity") as well as staged excerpts from thefollowing five screenplays:

  • "Sundays," by Rita Augustine -- To help her grandmother throughher mental illness in the present, an 11-year-old girl visits her grandmother'spast.
  • "Hellfighters From Harlem," by Robert Davenport -- The truestory of Henry Johnson, the only African-American recommended for the CongressionalMedal of Honor during World War I. Johnson served with Harlem's all-black369th U.S. Infantry, nicknamed "Hellfighters" by the Germansagainst whom they fought.
  • "Pancho Villa," by Ronald M. Domke -- The rise and tragicfall of Mexico's most infamous rebel. From indentured servant to outlaw.Gang leader to revolutionary. Hero to outcast. Lawrence was to Arabia whatPancho is to Mexico


  • "Ayla," by Willie Hagan -- Ayla leaves the male-dominatedworld of Istanbul, Turkey, for America, where she struggles to define hernew life against her uncle, a man determined to do what he believes isbest for her.
  • "Slow Boat To China," by Kris Young -- A modern day Noahtale, but instead of saving the whole world, Bob is "instructed byGod" to build an ark to save a dying Chinese restaurant. His act offaith brings him what has always eluded him -- hope and love.

The following two scripts were awarded honorable mentions:

  • "Soul Catcher," by Laurie Hutzler -- A voudou priestess offersa young man his heart's desire. Her intervention, however, does have aprice. Inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe short story "Liegia."
  • "Night Blooming Jasmine," by Lisanne Sartor -- A reclusiveBoo Radley-like Vermont woman brings together her social worker and hisestranged 11-year-old son with her unique blend of innocence, imaginationand more than a touch of fantasy.

The panel of industry judges includes Tracy Andreen, Mandalay Entertainment;Matt Bedrosian, Paradigm; Jed Blaugrund, Mostow/Lieberman; Chris Bomba,Lynda Obst Productions; Lisa Buono, Egg Pictures; Glenn Cockburn, TempletonProductions; Emily Cummins, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment; Derek Evans,Caravan Pictures; Marc Evans, Addis-Wechsler & Associates; RichardFreeman, Writers & Artists Agency; Ashley Kramer, Fox 2000; Kelly Kulchak,Gracie Films; Donna Langley, New Line Cinema; Amanda McHugh, Blue Relief;Bryant Mulligan, Agency for the Performing Arts Inc.; Abram Nalibotsky,The Gersh Agency; Maureen Peyrot, Imagine Entertainment; Lani Pollock,The Meyers/Shyer Company; Christy Prunier and Nick Morton, Phoenix Pictures;Molly Rain, Scott Rudin Productions; Philip Raskind, Endeavor Talent Agency;Melissa Reid, Red Wagon Productions; Jeff Robinov, Warner Bros.; JustinSilvera, Broder Kurland Webb Uffner Agency; Robin Schorr, The Kennedy/MarshallCompany; Ricki Spector, MGM/UA; Brady Thomas, Castle Rock Entertainment;Carl Waynberg, The William Morris Agency; Lindsay Williams, Wendy FinermanProductions; Julie Vallely, Dogstar Films.

Admission is free. Reservations suggested. To RSVP, or for more information,call (310) 203-1420. The Geffen Playhouse is located at 10886 Le ConteAve. in Westwood Village, a half block east of Westwood Boulevard. Parkingis available for $2 per entry in Macy's parking lot, just east of the theater,and in the Westwood Plaza Century parking garage, just west of the theater.

"Specs Appeal" is part of UCLA Festival `98, a spectacularnine-day celebration showcasing the best work by UCLA School of Theater,Film and Television students on the Westwood campus June 12-20. Eventswill feature animators, screenwriters, actors, digital artists, video producers,filmmakers and much more.



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