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2003 Film Festival Screenplay Award Winners



PROVIDENCE, RI (September 12, 2003) The Rhode Island International Film Festival presented by BROOKS Pharmacy, is pleased to announce the winners for this year's fourth annual Screenplay Competition. 217 screenplays were received for this year's event from all over the world. The jury composed of industry professionals, screenwriters ,and members of the general public found their work challenging and exciting as they discovered this year's winning screenplays. After careful review of each entrant, one Grand-Prize winner was selected along with three First Prize winners and three finalists.

The Grand-Prize winner for 2003 is called "The Imperfect Cell" by Lance Hammer of Los Angeles, California. The plot centers on extraordinary relationship between a young composer and an aging Los Angeles waiter allowing both to face a past steeped in disillusion.


According to George T. Marshall the RIIFF Executive Director, "We are delighted to honor Lance Hammer for his exceptional screenplay. It's thoughtful, surprising, sometimes dark, and ultimately hopeful.

"This was a strong year for screenplays. We received 217 entries and what we have found with this competition is that entrants come from all over the globe. Reading a script from Australia or Italy makes you appreciate the universality of this medium."

"Our panel of judges were greatly impressed with the power of Lance Hammer’s story and quality of his writing, " said Tatiana Swancy, co-director of the RIIFF Screenplay Competition."While a tough call given so many exceptional screenplays submitted this year, the selection of "The Imperfect Cell" was a unanimous call for the Grand Prize."

"Screenplays were judged on creativity, innovation, vision, originality and the use of language," said Patrick Moran, co-director of the RIIFF Screenplay Competition."For our judges, the key element was communication and how it complemented and would be transformed by the language of film."

The Grand-Prize winner will receive a cash and prizes of worth over $6,000 include a full Scholarship at the RIIFF Master Class on Production, Take 1-2-3: Filmmaking with the Pros (to be held in late July/early August 2004); the production of segments from the screenplay which will also be used as a case study during 2004 Master Class; work in advance with the visiting director for the 2004 Master Class on the segments to be shot plus revisions; Participation in the Dailies and Editing; Involvement with Casting; a Staged Reading at the 2004 RIIFF Festival; Round-trip travel; Hotel Accommodations for up to three nights; Select meals or cash stipend; the latest version Final Draft Screenplay Software; a copy of Field's Screenwriting Workshop; Two all-access VIP Passes to the RIIFF 2004; a complimentary Subscription to Screenwriter Magazine; and promotion through the Writer’s Script Network.

“The Screenplay Competition is an integral part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival,” added Moran. “Our approach is a bit different since we work with the winners and actually produce segments of the screenplay as part of the top prize. The winning screenwriter is given formal recognition at the Opening Night Gala of each year’s RIIFF, thus solidifying our respect for this often overlooked discipline.”

The winner of last year's Grand Prize was "Checkpoint" by Timothy Jay Smith from Delaware. His screenplay was a timely drama set in the Middle that follows an American photojournalist, an Israeli war hero and a Palestinian farmer as their lives intertwine. He attended the 2003 RIIFF and saw elements of his screenplay shot on Sony HD 24 fps equipment at the High Output Studios in Canton MA. The visiting guest director was Lloyd Kaufman, the indie guru whose industry vita includes many legendary indie films and being President/CEO of Troma Industries.First Prize winners of the Competition who will receive software from Final Draft and/or copies of Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop along with subscriptions to Screenwriter Magazine.


Additionally as part of the awards for the RIIFF Screenplay Competition, top winning contestants will receive from Writers' Network: An e-mail announcement about their winning screenplay to about 6, industry professionals; plus other benefits including placement of their logline and synopsis on the WSN password protected web site; and a logline (pitch) for their winning screenplay in their printed publication.

The winners of the 2003 Screenplay Competition are as follows:


"The Imperfect Cell"
Lance Hammer, Los Angeles, CA


"Bach Double"
Barbara Marshall, Austin, TX


"The End of Grace"
Nicholas Katsapetses, San Francisco, CA


"Rebels and Roses"
Ellen Maria Gavin, Venice, CA


"The Connection"
Robin Catalano, Stephentown, NY


"Portrait in Clearing"
Wrenn Bartlett, Manchester, MA


"Pray for Rain"
Michael Gray, St. Paul, MN

The Call for Entries to the 2004 RIIFF Screenplay Competition has just been announced. Entries can be found on-line at the Festival web site www.RIFilmFest.org. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2004. Winners will be announced Labor Day Weekend 2004.

The Rhode Island International Film Festival, now in its seventh year, is created and produced by the Flickers Arts Collaborative. Brooks Pharmacy is the Sponsor. Michel Coutu, President/CEO of Brooks Pharmacy is the Festival Honorary Co-Chairman along with Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri and Providence Mayor David Cicilline. Michael Drywa, Esq. is the RIIFF Board President.

RIIFF will take place August 10-15, 2004 in historic Providence, and throughout state of Rhode Island. For more information about programming and scheduling visit the web site or call the Festival office at 401-861-4445.