Five finalists from a field of 5,000 across the Soviet Union have been chosen in the second annual Hartley Merrill screenwriting competition sponsored Ted Hartley, chairman of RKO/Pavilion Pictures, and his wife, actress Dina Merrill.

Top screenplays are “It’s My Jewish Luck,” by director-playwright Ivan Kiasashvili; “Ments And Cops,” by director-writer Alexander Shtein and Alexander Svetlov; “The Flight Of The Nightbird,” by playwrights Dmitri Ivanov and Vladmir Tifonov; “Reenactment Of The Crime,” by Piotr Khotyanovski and Inga Garuchava; and “Fishing In Siberia,” by Chinese scholar Yuri Ilyakin.

Hartley and Merrill, the latter a partner in RKO/Pavilion, announced the finalists at Great White Hall in Moscow. The winner will be revealed at a May 15 ceremony in Moscow.

Judges are David Puttnam, president of London-based Enigma Prods. and president of the British Film Academy; Italian writer-director Lina Wertmuller; David Williamson, president of the Writers Guild of Australia; Soviet director Nikita Mikhalkov; Soviet writer Rustam Imbragimbekov; and a newcomer, French producer Henry Lange. Hartley and Merrill also serve on the panel.

Sundance fellowship

The winner will receive $10,000 and a fellowship at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute Filmmakers Laboratory in Utah. Each finalist was presented with a $500 check.

Competition, open to all Soviet citizens, called for five-to eight-page treatments submitted anonymously. A committee selected 25 treatments, and had them translated into the languages of the international judges.

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