WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST FOUNDATION
REBRANDS AND BECOMES WRITERS GUILD INITIATIVE
- Name Change Reflects New Vision and Mission To Develop Writers -
NEW YORK CITY - The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation has changed its name -- it is now called the Writers Guild Initiative (WGI). The name change is part of a rebranding that recognizes the organization's long time proactive and focused mission: "to perpetuate the art and craft of storytelling, either by professionals or amateurs, through education and practical experience, on local, national, and global levels." The Initiative's programs are designed to reach various populations and help them to find their unique voice as writers.
“To grade schoolers, high school and college students, to the military to caregivers of the wounded, and even to medical personnel who treat them, we have volunteered our skills. We share our enthusiasm and knowledge. We encourage. We support. As our new name proudly acknowledges, we take the initiative,” explains Michael Weller, president of the Writers Guild Initiative.
In addition to its rebranding, the Writers Guild Initiative also named Jenna Jackson as Director of Operations and Communications. Jenna will co-ordinate development, marketing, and oversight of the Initiative’s programs, and manage day-to-day operations of the Initiative. To read more, please click here.
Military Caregivers Share Their Stories from the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops
January 2, 2013
NEW YORK CITY-- Since 2008, The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation has worked with hundreds of military veterans as part of our Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops. In 2011, the program focused its efforts on caregivers, who were equally affected by the wars but more often overlooked and very isolated. The first caregivers workshop was held in June 2011, where over two days, twenty of the country’s most celebrated novelists, playwrights, screenwriters and television writers served as mentors and gave space for exploration of storytelling in all its forms. The mentors gave guidance and support, and observed as the caregivers discussed their experiences, found their unique voice, and bonded together in mutual respect and support.
During the follow-up workshop in November 2011, the caregivers had the opportunity not only to write, to but to share their stories via conversation with documentary filmmaker and WGAE Foundation board member, Lulie Haddad. Click above to listen to their stories in their own words.
To read more about this workshop, please click here. For more information about the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops, please click here.
HEATHER DUNOON OF COLUMBIA COLLEGE-CHICAGO
TO RECEIVE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST FOUNDATION
MICHAEL COLLYER MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP IN SCREENWRITING
- 5th Annual Fellowship To Be Presented WGA Awards in New York -
NEW YORK CITY – Heather Dunoon has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation's (WGAE Foundation) Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting. The fellowship, now in its 5th year and funded by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation, is awarded to a student who plans to pursue a career in screenwriting upon completion of his/her undergraduate course of study. The recipient receives a $10,000 stipend to write an original screenplay under the mentorship of a prominent screenwriter. Lowell Peterson, WGAE Executive Director, will present Dunoon with her fellowship at the 65th annual Writers Guild Awards on Sunday, February 17, 2013 in New York City at the B.B. King Blues Club.
Dunoon is a senior in Film Studies, School of Media Arts, Columbia College Chicago. Her fellowship project, Remember Me? is about an orphaned woman’s journey of self-discovery, through the first interactions with her birth mother, who has Alzheimer’s.
"It’s an amazing feeling to know that not only can you reach people with your passion, but also that there is a possibility to turn that passion into a career. I’m so thankful to have an opportunity to work with the WGAE Foundation and to be mentored through my first steps into the screenwriting industry. I never dreamt I would win this award; it’s such an honor," said Dunoon.
"We are thrilled to now be awarding our 5th Collyer Fellowship. The fellowship seeks to discover new voices and encourage those who are at the very beginning of their writing careers. We believe that Heather and all of our past fellows will be adding great stories to the writing landscape for years to come," said Michael Weller, WGAE Foundation President.
Writers Guild Initiative Returns to Landstuhl, Germany
November 19, 2012
Photo credit: David Tucker
NEW YORK CITY-- Since 2008, The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation has worked with hundreds of military veterans and military caregivers as part of our Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops. In November 2012, we had the opportunity to return to Landstuhl, Germany to do a follow-up workshop from our April 2012 visit, where we met with the medical staff of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center who have suffered from extreme compassion fatigue. For this follow-up workshop, we were able to delve deeper into their stories and provide next steps for their writing projects.
Landstuhl, about 90 minutes outside of Frankfurt, is the largest military hospital outside the continental US and is the center where the worst of injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated. These medical personnel are on the front lines, seeing the worst of the trauma and stabilizing patients until they are moved to a US hospital for long-term care. Not only that, but Landstuhl has become one of the busiest trauma centers in the world, serving between 20-30,000 patients a year from the battlefield, and the military and their dependents from all over Europe, Africa, and much of Asia.
In our continued partnership and grant from Wounded Warrior Project, the Foundation sent over 10 writers who mentored over 35 staff workers for the weekend. Writers were able to encourage the progress the participants had made since April, and give tools to continue the writing and editing process. A great time was had by all in learning about storytelling and finding their unique voice.
Mentors included: Emily Ackerman, David Tucker, KJ Sanchez, Christopher Kyle, Rick Dresser, Susan Kim, Craig "muMS" Grant, Michael Weller, Susanna Styron, Ryan Kelly.
For more information about our first visit to Landstuhl, please click here for an article written by Michael Winship. You can read here to learn more about the history of our Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops.
Writers Guild Initiative to create comedy award honoring Coleman Jacoby
October 17, 2012
Loria Parker, daughter of Coleman Jacoby, presenting Andrew Bergman with check for Coleman Jacoby comedy award at the WGAE offices.
NEW YORK CITY-- The Writers Guild Initiative, from a bequest of the Estate of Coleman Jacoby, will create an award in the writer's honor. Spearheaded by Andrew Bergman and Marshall Brickman, the award will focus on finding and encouraging talented non-established writers of comedy. Coleman Jacoby, multiple Emmy award winning writer for such stars as Bob Hope, Phil Silvers, and Dean Martin is probably most known for pairing Jackie Gleason with Art Carney. Jacoby, along with his writing partner Arnie Rosen, helped create some of Jackie Gleason's most celebrated and known characters including Reginald Van Gleason, Joe the Bartender, and Rudy the Repairman.
Jacoby's daughter, Loria Parker, star of "America's Funny Girl - Fanny Brice!" presented the check at the Foundation's board meeting in October. She discussed her father's career, his passion for writing, and how honored he would be to have this award to carry on his legacy.
For more information about Coleman Jacoby, please click here.
2011 Collyer Fellow James DiLapo finalist for 2012 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting
October 3, 2012
by Jenna Jackson/Deadline Staff
NEW YORK, NY - Our 2011 Michael Collyer Fellow, James DiLapo, has continued his success with his screenplay, Devils at Play, by becoming a finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Devils at Play, was James’s Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship script, developed under the guidance of Richard LaGravenese.
via Deadline Hollywood:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Ten finalists, consisting of nine individual screenwriters and one writing team, have been selected for the 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. Their scripts will now be read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, which may award as many as five of the prestigious $35,000 fellowships.
This year’s finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):
Nikole Beckwith, New York City, NY, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”
Ryan Belenzon & Jeffrey Gelber, Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks, CA, “X”
Robert Carter, Red Bank, NJ, “A.W.O.L.”
Sean Robert Daniels, Laezonia, Gauteng, South Africa, “Killers” James DiLapo, New York City, NY, “Devils at Play”
Allan Durand, Lafayette, LA, “Willie Francis Must Die Again”
Laurel Minter, Seattle, WA, “When Thunder Sleeps”
Bob Roden, Berkeley, CA, “Return of the Dipsticks”
April Rouveyrol, Glendale, CA, “Life Copy”
Michael Werwie, Los Angeles, Calif., “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”
You can read more about the finalists via Deadline Hollywood here. Congratulations James and we wish you much continued success!
Writers Guild Gives New Voice to Vets, Caregivers
June 6, 2012
by Emmelle Israel, AFL-CIO
Sharon Rubino-West, a former Marine herself and the mother of a Gulf War II veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), remembers the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops as the first time anyone with a military background reassured her that it was alright to share her family’s story of living with a veteran with disabilities.
Prior to that, when she needed to talk about her family’s experience, she heard a familiar refrain:
"You shouldn’t be telling your son’s business. You shouldn’t be talking about this."
Only when she was sitting in her writing group, worrying about how much to reveal in her writing, did a fellow military vet tell her not to be concerned about what other people thought.
At a Military Hospital, Warriors Are Not the Only Wounded
May 15, 2012
by Michael Winship
In this picture taken Aug. 29, 2011 a US soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan is carried out of the bus at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. (AP /Michael Probst)
The weather’s getting warmer in Afghanistan and the war there is heating up again. That means – as it has meant every year for more than a decade — that the pace will quicken at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. More casualties will be brought to this largest American military hospital outside the United States. The Critical Care Air Transport teams and their C-17 Globemasters will fly in from “downrange,” as they call the Afghan battleground, and the injured will be brought by ambulance bus from nearby Ramstein Air Force Base to the hospital front door.
I spent a few days at Landstuhl recently, one of a group of writers from the Writers Guild Initiative, part of the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation (Full disclosure and just to add to the confusion: I’m president of the Writers Guild, East, the union with which the foundation’s affiliated).
For the last four years, the Foundation has been conducting writing workshops. The project began with professional writers from stage, TV and movies mentoring veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars, working with them on writing exercises and projects ranging from memoirs and blogs to children’s books, screenplays and sci-fi novels. Recently, in collaboration with the Wounded Warrior Project, the foundation started similar workshops with caregivers, the loved ones of veterans helping them through the aftermath of catastrophic injuries.
Now, Wounded Warrior had asked some of us to come to Landstuhl to meet with the medical staff there. Some 3,000 strong, military and civilian, they work ceaselessly in what has become one of the busiest trauma centers in the world, helping between twenty and thirty thousand patients a year (not just from the battlefield, but also military and their dependents from all over Europe, Africa and much of Asia). (READ MORE).
We've Exceeded Our Goal!
$26,000 raised during our Annual Appeal for Actors and Writers Book Club
In the spring of 2011, the WGAE Foundation was awarded an "Access to Artistic Excellence in Literature" matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support our Actors and Writers Book Club program. We reached out to you, our valuable supporters and your response was immediate. Not only did we receive the $10,000 match, but because of your generous giving, over $26,000 will go to bring established actors and writers to high-schools to read and discuss classic works of literature and support our other programs! Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you our donors – for believing in us, our work, and the value of spreading appreciation of literature and reading to underserved classrooms.
This year, the Actors and Writers Book Club has gone to Brooklyn, NY with Michael Patrick MacDonald (All Souls: A Family Story from Southie) and Donnie Wahlberg (Bluebloods, The Sixth Sense), St. Louis, MO with Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie), and Buffalo, NY with Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street, Oz), Tom Kelly (Empire Rising, Payback), and Dean Winters (Law&Order: SVU, 30 Rock, Rescue Me). We are also planning to bring the Book Club to Philadelphia, PA. To read more about the Actors and Writers Book Club and the work we’ve done this past year, please click here.
Thank you again for all of your support!
HAILEY O’BRIEN OF WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY
TO RECEIVE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST FOUNDATION
MICHAEL COLLYER MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP IN SCREENWRITING
- Presented by Michael Winship at WGA Awards in New York -
NEW YORK CITY – Hailey O’Brien has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America,
East Foundation's (WGAE Foundation) Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting.
The fellowship, which is funded by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation, is awarded
to a student who plans to pursue a career in screenwriting upon completion of his/her
undergraduate course of study. The recipient receives a $10,000 stipend to write an original
screenplay under the mentorship of a prominent screenwriter. Michael Winship, WGAE
President, will present O’Brien with her fellowship at the 64 th annual Writers Guild Awards on
Sunday, February 19, 2012 in New York City at the B.B. King Blues Club.
O’Brien is a senior in Film Studies and Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,
Wayne State University. Her fellowship project, Losing Grace, is about one woman’s struggle
and search for penance after an accidental drowning of a young neighbor while in her care.
“This is such an incredible opportunity; I cannot begin to express how excited and grateful I am
to be the 2012 recipient of the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting. I am
looking forward to attending the WGAE Awards and meeting the Collyer family as well as others
who have made this fellowship possible. I am so thankful for this opportunity that they have
provided me with. I would also like to thank Joel Silvers for nominating me for this award. It was
his insight and passion for screenwriting that fueled my own desire to make words and film
matter,” said Fellowship recipient Hailey O’Brien. Read more HERE.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - An award-winning TV producer is back in his hometown of Buffalo and students at Lafayette High School are hoping to learn a thing or two about show-biz.
It's not every day that a group of international celebrities make their way to the Queen City. On Friday, just such a group came with a strong message for high school students during a workshop held at Lafayette High School.
It didn't hurt that one of the leaders of the group, Tom Fontana, writer and producer of "St. Elsewhere," "Homicide," "Oz," and "The "Philanthropist" has deep roots in the Buffalo. Friends of Fontana, Dean Winters, with "Oz" and "30 Rock" on his bio, along with novelist Thomas Kelly who presently writes and produces CBS's "Blue Bloods," drove home the importance of reading and writing.
There's no question that the message clicked. And it's not just about writing and acting. The group clearly communicated the role of tenacity in any career path.
To see video and read more about this event, please click here.
Writer's Guild of America, East Foundation Members Help Give Voice to those Caring for Wounded Veterans
NEW YORK CITY - They are some of the country’s unknown heroes - young, strong yet vulnerable, and very brave. Most never viewed themselves as important nor ever believed their thoughts and stories were of interest to anyone but themselves. But, now thanks to some of the country’s leading writers - screenwriters, TV writers, playwrights and novelists – and a unique mentorship program of the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation, these unsung heroes are believing and giving voice to their stories.
The writers are members of the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation, which held its Helen Deutsch Writing Workshop on November 5th and 6th. During the two-day workshop, more than 20 WGAE Foundation members, including Marsha Norman, Jenny Lumet and Tom Fontana, mentored 40-plus caregivers brought to New York City with the support and assistance of the Wounded Warrior Project TM. They also had the opportunity to share their stories with award-winning documentary filmmaker, Lulie Haddad. These caregivers are assisting or providing care for service members who have been wounded either with physical or psychological damages of war. They face layers of bureaucracy stalling assistance, as well as feelings of isolation and unworthiness. The workshop helped them connect with other caregivers facing similar challenges and with mentors eager to help them express themselves and empower them to write about their personal journeys.
Mentors included: Marsha Norman, Tom Fontana, Jenny Lumet, Chris Albers, Stephen Belber, Jessica Blank, Amy Cohen, Rick Dresser, Anne Flett-Giordano, Gina Gionfriddo, Craig muMS Grant, Dave Hackel, Lulie Haddad, Erik Jensen, John Markus, Willie Reale, Susanna Styron, and Michael Weller. Three of the mentors had personal military experience – Ryan Kelly and David Tucker in Iraq and Matthew Eck in Somalia – which uniquely helped them understand the battles of war impacting these caregivers and their loved ones now.
“The WGAE Foundation is a group of volunteer writers, some of the most successful and celebrated in the country, who shares our skills with underserved populations of people, who for whatever reason have not had an opportunity to learn how to tell the stories they wish to tell about their lives. We have mentored injured veterans and now caregivers of severely wounded service members. The time spent with the caregivers has been profound for all of us, mentors and caregivers alike. For the professional writers to hear stories of the courage and devotion of these caregivers, and for the caregivers to have encouragement from writers whose shows they watch on television, movies screens and on stages, is special. It was inspiring to watch the incredible eagerness and hard work from everyone involved, all of who donated their time and talents. It is a time together that none of us will ever forget,’” said WGAE Foundation President Michael Weller.
Helen Deutsch Veterans Writing Workshop for Caregivers (Part 2)
Our next Helen Deutsch Veterans Writing Workshop will be held in New York City on November 5th and 6th. We are thrilled to partner with Wounded Warrior Project again. Our volunteer mentors will work with the family members who have become full-time caregivers of their loved ones who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe and debilitating injuries. They also have the opportunity to share their stories with award-winning documentary filmmaker, Lulie Haddad. The workshop is a follow-up to our June workshop and will again involve about 40 caregivers and more than 20 Foundation mentors.
Mentors are: Chris Albers, Stephen Belber, Jessica Blank, Amy Cohen, Rick Dresser, Matthew Eck, Tom Fontana, Anne Flett-Giordano, Gina Gionfriddo, Craig Grant, Dave Hackel, Lulie Haddad, Erik Jensen, Ryan Kelly, Jenny Lumet, John Markus, Marsha Norman, Willie Reale, Susanna Styron, David Tucker, and Michael Weller.
Stories from the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops
Kat Honaker (aka Uncle Sam’s Mistress) one of our recent participants during our Helen Deutsch Writing Workshop for Caregivers in June, writes about her experience in New York and meeting interesting people along the way.
Kat states of the opportunity to share her story, “I am quite honored and stunned, as it truly means the world to me. Maybe it's because for the first time I am being recognized for just me and my writing and not something that has to do with my husband? I don't have many accomplishments in the past four years that is just solely mine, as selfish as that sounds. Sometimes I think that's needed for the broken minds of spouses and caregivers of our wounded. I am sincerely honored and would love for you to utilize my story.”
What I Learned On the Cracked Streets of New York
This past June, I was invited to attend a trip to the Big Apple (That's New York for you non-city slickers) for a Writer's Guild sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project. Now this small, moo-cow town, semi-misplaced, semi-country girl indeed experienced one hell of a culture shock heading into the city that never sleeps. Between the airport, driving into downtown Manhattan in a cab (which by the way could give you PTSD just from the traffic and the way folks drive out there) and just the jittery nerves of meeting other women like me, had me wound tighter than Dick's hat band! It was go go go from the start, and with the constant traffic and sounds of the city....I found myself missing those early hours with quiet, my moo cows and roosters crowing in the distance.
Since I take my coffee intravenously in the mornings, the one tiny, tea bag coffee filter in a one cup maker just wasn't going to do it for me. I rose way too early on Saturday morning and went in search for the elusive large suicide cup of coffee. As if God was on my side, it led me around the corner where angels started singing and bright lights illuminated in the form of a Dunkin Doughnuts sign. So in the early hours of the morning, I sat outside and watched the food vendors set up for the day, businesses washing off the sidewalks in front, the trash being set out and just listened to the bit of silence that New York City could offer me.
Kickoff of NEA award winning WGAE Foundation’s Actors and Writers Book Club in Brooklyn, NY
“What do a former teen heartthrob and a son of Southie have to say to roomful of Brooklyn high school students? Plenty it turns out,” says Tom Deignan, English teacher at Automotive High School in Brooklyn, NY where the Actors and Writers Book Club kicked off last week.
Recipient of a grant from the NEA, The Actors and Writers Book Club is an opportunity to send actor and a writer to high schools around the country in underserved areas to discuss works of literature with students, in an effort to get students excited about reading, writing, storytelling, and the importance of language skills. Book Club Chair Tom Kelly (novelist, writer/producer Bluebloods) remarks, “Studies show that students engaged with literature are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to achieve academic success in college. Consistent readers learn critical analytical skills which bring understanding and confidence that will serve them the rest of their lives.”
For the first session, Deignan read excerpts from the book All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald to his sixty 12th grade students for two weeks in preparation for MacDonald and actor Donnie Wahlberg (Bluebloods, Saw franchise, The Sixth Sense) to come and discuss the memoir.
For MacDonald and Wahlberg it’s about remembering where they come from – they both started from humble beginnings so can understand how kids in traditionally underserved communities sometimes need different kinds of motivation. For the students, it was an afternoon about asking about writing, acting, and showbiz, but also thinking about how people are shaped by their environment.
“Destiny -- that’s a powerful word,” replied Wahlberg during the assembly in the Automotive auditorium, when he was asked by a student if he believes “geography is destiny.” However, they both agreed that with passion and tenacity, you can become anything you want, wherever you come from.
A wonderful time was had by all, with Wahlberg even vowing to return to the school for a basketball game when the season starts.
The Actors and Writers Book Club plans to travel to St. Louis, Buffalo, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tucson during 2011-12. In conjunction with the high school’s curriculum, the actor and writer will read and discuss from various classics such as Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The assembled students connect with the literature by sharing the experience with actors and writers they know and admire.
To read more about the kickoff event in Brooklyn, please click here.
For more information about the Actors and Writers Book Club, please read here.
The 12th WGAE/WGAE Foundation Screenplay Reading at the JCC Manhattan
New York - On October 17th, 2011, The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation (WGAEF) held their twelfth screenplay reading in the popular series at the JCC Manhattan. Excerpts from two new scripts, Mama’s Boy by Olga Humphrey, and Six Things Before Breakfast by Andrea Schully and Eric Saiet, were professionally produced with a talented cast of actors.
At 7:15 PM, the audience gathered at the JCC Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Auditorium to hear these new great works. First was the reading of Mama’s Boy, which was based on the true story (first written as a novel of the same name) of Eric Napolentano, his mother Carolyn, and their involvement with the murders of three Latina women in 1980’s New York. A Q&A session with the screenwriter Olga Humphrey as well as the author of the book Richard T. Pienciak followed the presentation. Second was the reading of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a comedic drama about a disenchanted workaholic who returns to Martha's Vineyard to settle his grandmother's estate. Complications arise when he encounters his childhood imaginary friend who he has to keep from disappearing forever. Following the reading was a Q&A session with the writers Andrea Scully and Eric Saiet. Both Q&A sessions were moderated by WGAE President, Michael Winship, Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Bill Moyers Journal.
If you would like to read more about this event, please click here.
The war on Iraq has forever changed the mindset of my dear friend and so many other military personnel and veterans who served during this time in history. It is easy for people on the outside to talk about the war and their beliefs about what is right and wrong in their eyes. People are quick to judge military troops’ actions and have not lived one moment in his or her shoes in the war the zone. Speculations fill the airwaves and the media runs rampant with footage that leaves negative imprints in minds of people. Some footage has left people criticizing military personnel and veterans for the role they played during the war. Yes, the media is doing what they know best, but sometimes they may be fueling the wrong fire in their reporting on the negative aspects of the war. Many Americans are more wrapped up in what is going on with the war overseas rather than on some of the negative affects it has left on our military personnel and veterans’ states of mind outside of the war zone.
Collyer Fellow Sara Van Acker moved to Semi-final round of the 2011 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting
Our 2009 Collyer Fellow, Sarah Van Acker, continued her success with her screenplay, Bloodlust, by becoming a semi-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Bloodlust, about the fearsome female pirate Anne Bonny, was Sarah’s Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship script, developed under the guidance of Marshall Brickman.
Sara explains the origins of Bloodlust: "[A few] years ago during lunch with a couple of writers, somebody in the group started listing “out-of-the-box” pairings for screenplay ideas: Werewolves and Abe Lincoln, Children Arms Dealers and Female Pirates. While the rest of the table discussed kindergartners swapping Uzis, I fixated on the idea of female pirates."
Sarah Van Acker graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2009 and was awarded the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship the same year. Bloodlust won first place in the 2010 Bahamas International Film Festival’s Filmmakers’ Residency Program. Of 6,730 scripts entered for the Nicholl Fellowship, 351 were chosen to go to the Quarterfinals and Bloodlust was one of 120 selected to proceed to the semi-final round of judging.
The Nicholl Fellowship, founded in 1985, awards up to five $30,000 fellowships to talented writers each year.
Third PencilPALS event with mentors and students in Corona, Queens
NEW YORK— On May 20th, nineteen writer and actor mentors went to P.S. 16, an elementary school in Corona, Queens, as part of their ongoing participation in PencilPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools). PencilPALS is an offshoot of BookPALS, a nationwide program of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, and is part of the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation.
To start the day, a portion of the writers and actors gathered in the library, where they were dispersed to nine different first and second grade classrooms to read picture books to students as part of the BookPALS program. The mentors had a wonderful time reading and sharing with the students.
Afterward all the writer mentors gathered in the 5-4 Gifted and Talented class taught by fifth grade teacher Janine Esposito to meet their PencilPALs. Sitting on kid-sized chairs and a carpet on the floor, the young students talked about their favorite books, going to school and their summer vacations with the older writers. Visitors included writer and director Nora Ephron, her sister screenwriter Delia Ephron and writers from television shows such as Law & Order: Criminal Intent, One Life to Live and The Cosby Show. Please click here to read more.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES GRANT TO WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST FOUNDATION
$10,000 grant will support Actors and Writers Book Club
May 19, 2011—New York, NY—Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, today announced that the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation has been recommended for a grant of $10,000 to support the Actors and Writers Book Club, which will bring established actors and writers to underserved high schools to read and discuss classic works of literature. The NEA grant will be matched by $10,000 pledged to the WGAE Foundation by an anonymous donor.
The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation is one of 1,145 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects nationwide.
An independent agency of the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.” (READ MORE)
For more information about the Access to Artistic Excellence and other grants awarded by the NEA, please click here.
The 11th WGAE/WGAE Foundation Screenplay Reading at the JCC Manhattan
New York - On June 22nd, 2011, The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation (WGAEF) held their eleventh screenplay reading in the popular series at the JCC Manhattan. Excerpts from two new scripts, American Gothic by Scott Smith, and Citizen Kowalski by David Steven Cohen, were professionally produced with a talented cast of actors.
At 7:30 PM, the audience gathered at the JCC Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Auditorium. Despite the horrible weather, there was almost a full house that evening. First was the reading of American Gothic, which tells the story of the Booth Brothers, Edwin and John Wilkes, and their respective journeys that give both fame and notoriety to their family name. The reading featured Jack Noseworthy, Patrick Yeoman, PJ Sosko, Robert Mobley, Jason Jurman, Gary Swanson, Mark Bailey, and Megan Lappin. This was followed by a question and answer session with writer Scott Smith, moderated by WGAE President, Michael Winship, Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Bill Moyers Journal. To read more about this event, please click here.
Interested in Volunteering with the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation? Please review our project section to see if you'd like to participate. Contact us at email@example.com to sign up and find out more.