Student screenwriter Marty Stevens-Heebner won the top honor yesterday at the sixth annual Diane Thomas Screenwriting Awards.Stevens-Heebner, one of 10 students honored by the UCLA Extension writers program, won for “Bonny and Read,” about two women pirates in the Caribbean. Emcee Daniel Petrie Jr. (scripter of “Beverly Hills Cop”and “The Big Easy”) handed out the awards judged by 17 professionals, including Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Kennedy. Second-place winner was Tara Boles, whose “The Burning” transposes the story of Joan of Arc to the Latino gangs of East Los Angeles. Third place went to Gavin Hood, whose “A Reasonable Man” tells of a 15 -year-old boy charged with the murder of a year-old baby in a Zulu village. Other contenders were Barbara Bridges for “Revelations on the Lunatic Fringe”; Lisa Bristow for “There Was a Crooked House”; Robert Dorian for “Blood and Roses”; Ed Knies for “The Healing Arts”; Ron Lancaster for “Love With a Taller Woman”; Stuart Vance for “The Protective Custody of Jane Doe”; and Gabriela Vazquez for “White Coma.” None of the scripts has been optioned or sold. For the third year, the finalists were paired with individual industry mentors to take entries to final draft. Mentors included Cynthia Cidre (“In Country”), Tony Drazin (“Zebrahead”), Harley Peyton (“Less Than Zero”) and Patricia Resnick (“Nine to Five”). The awards–presented in conjunction with Amblin Entertainment, Warner Bros. Prods. and Disney Studios–are named after former UCLA Extension screenwriting student Diane Thomas (“Romancing the Stone”), who died in a car accident. “These awards have developed tremendous industry credibility over (their) six-year history, since many of the finalists have either sold or optioned their scripts,” said Linda Venis, head of the writers program.
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