UCLA student Gifford takes top place
Meg Gifford, a UCLA graduate screenwriting student who is also a chemistry teacher, has scored the top prize at the 55th annual Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards for her screenplay “Paint It Black.”Kudos are handed out each year honoring feature scripts penned by students from the U. of California system. Top prize comes with a check for $15,000, with second prize — which went to UC Santa Barbara student Branden Cahn for “Burnt Bridges of Cartwright” — totaling $7,500. Owen Donovan Yarde (“Hit and Run”) took third, which comes with a $4,000 prize. First and second honorable mentions went to Matt Wheeler (“How to Leave Your Lover”) and Ryan Finnerty (“Short Stories”), respectively, with the former getting a $2,000 check and the latter receiving $1,000. Past winners of the awards, which are overseen by the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, include Francis Ford Coppola, Allison Anders and Jonathan Kellerman.