UCLA honors blacklisted, student writers

Presented to spotlight the work of today’s graduate screenwriting students, the UCLA Screenwriters’ Showcase will also pay homage Monday to Hollywood’s blacklisted scripters.

The event, known as Specs Appeal, is part of the nine-day UCLA Festival ’99, which begins Friday under the auspices of the School of Theater, Film and Television.

Blacklisted writers Bernard Gordon (“Hellcats of the Navy”), Abraham Polonsky (“Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here”), Jean Rouverol Butler (“The Miracle”), Joan Scott (“Cairo”) and Norma Barzman (“Luxury Girls”), along with the surviving relatives of Waldo Salt (“The Philadelphia Story”), Dalton Trumbo (“Roman Holiday”) and Paul Jarrico (“The Las Vegas Story”), among others, will be given lifetime achievement awards in a ceremony at the Freud Playhouse.

The evening, hosted by UCLA alumnus Mike Werb (“The Mask,” “Face/Off”), will include staged excerpts from the five winning screenplays written by students: “Love and Squalor” by Michael A. Behrens, “Valfierno” by Lisa Dalesandro, “Willy E. Chase” by Derrick D. Pete, “Pieces of Clay” by Mark Quigley and “Last Meals” by Jaime David Silverman.

In addition to the winners, two scripts were awarded honorable mentions: “Falling Upward” by Alexander Cassini and “Harpoon” by Tony Kellam.

Also, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program this week announced winners of the 12th annual Diane Thomas Screenwriting Awards.

Valerie Grant took the top prize for “Out of Focus,” followed by Kathleen Rose for “Beyond Brooklyn” and Suzanne Kane for “Chile Verde, Chile Rojo.”

Winners received prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000, respectively. The three were chosen from 102 submissions, all developed and written for UCLA Extension courses.

The Diane Thomas Screenwriting Awards were established by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in memory of the late author of “Romancing the Stone,” who attended classes there early in her career.

The 23-member selection committee included Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Kennedy, Cathleen Summers, Deborah Newmyer and Norman Kurland.

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