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Hearst Screenwriting Grant

The Hearst Screenwriting Grant is given to a mid-career screenwriter who has been a practicing writer for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay.

Name of Contest:
Hearst Screenwriting Grant

Sponsoring Organization:
San Francisco Film Society

Graham Leggat, Executive Director
Sara Dosa, Grants & Residencies Coordinator (contact for SFFS Grants)

39 Mesa Street, Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94129





Purpose of Contest:
The Hearst Screenwriting Grant is given to a mid-career screenwriter who has been a practicing writer for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay. The grant is open to writers residing in the United States whose project expresses both a unique personal perspective and an artistic approach to the subject. Priority is given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have been produced as an independent film.

Number of years this contest has been running:

October 1, 2010 (Letter of Inquiry period opens Sept 2, 2010)

Entry Fees:
$35; Fee is waived for SFFS Filmmaker Pro members ($90 for one-year membership)

Kinds of scripts accepted (i.e. Teleplays, features, MOWs):
Open to all genres; work must express both a unique personal perspective and artistic approach to the subject, and be vibrant, intelligent, moving and innovative. The application, screenplays and treatments must be written in English.

•Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
•Applicant must have been a practicing writer for at least five years and have written a minimum of one previous feature screenplay.
•Applicant must reside in the United States.
•Filmmaker may not be a full-time student.
• Project is not work for hire.
•Only one application per project will be accepted.
•Script must not have been optioned, purchased, in production or produced.
•Adaptations of any work (other than your own or your co-writer's) are not eligible.

Description of Prizes:
$15,000 will be disbursed in December 2010.

Readers and Judges:
SFFS Grants readers and judges are filmmakers and screenwriters working in the Bay Area; industry professionals such as sales agents, producers and consultants; as well as SFFS staff.

Success Stories:
Mora Stephens, $15,000, Made in the USA
Following the funeral of his high-school girlfriend, a young American man sets out on an odyssey to Shanghai, Shenzhen and finally Saipan to find and rescue his daughter.
Mora Stephens cowrote and directed the feature film Conventioneers, which won the 2006 Independent Spirit Awards’ John Cassavetes Award for Best Feature (Made for Under $500,000) as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Florida Film Festival. The film premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, had its international premiere in Korea at the Pusan International Film Festival and was released by Cinema Libre Studio in 2007. An alumna of NYU’s graduate film program and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Stephens has written numerous short films and plays including Breaking Bread, which aired on Showtime in September 2002 as part of Reflections from Ground Zero. She cowrote the independent feature Devil’s Pond, directed by Joel Viertel and starring Kip Pardue and Tara Reid, released by Artisan in 2003. She has been the recipient of a number of prestigious screenwriting awards and filmmaker labs including the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program, Film Independent’s Directors Lab, the Los Angeles Film Festival/Filmmaker Magazine’s Fast Track program, the Asian Cinevision Screenplay Contest and the Korean Film Council Filmmakers’ Development Lab. At the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival, Stephens was awarded the PPP/Overseas Koreans Foundation Filmmaker Fund prize for her screenplay The 38th Parallel. She currently is developing her screenplay Homeland with producer Heather Rae (Frozen River). Stephens is a cofounder of Hyphenate Films.

Please take a moment to describe why you feel your contest is best able to help writers break into the industry.
SFFS Filmmaker Services ensures that all applicants, whether chosen to receive a grant or not, receive constructive feedback on their projects from their professional Bay Area filmmaking community reviewers. This feedback, along with the additional consultation provided by SFFS staff on its filmmaker services, classes and professional development opportunities, strengthen applicants’ projects for future granting opportunities and connect them to a substantial community of film professionals that will provide them with greater resources and knowledge for growth in their careers.