Kingman sets script contest

$1 mil in prizes to go to 10 writers, deadline June 30

Kingman Films Intl., the production company founded by 32-year-old Taiwanese entrepreneur Arthur Chang, plans to give $1 million in prizes to 10 writers who enter and win Kingman’s scriptwriting competition.

Chang told Daily Variety Tuesday that Kingman will produce at least three of the winning scripts and probably more.

“Most films fail because studios try to stick to a quota — they make too many,” Chang said. “We want to concentrate on making fewer projects better.”

Door open

Besides the contest, Chang has an “open-door” policy that enables writers to make appointments to walk into Kingman’s Glendale offices on any given Thursday and pitch projects for 30 minutes.

The contest, held every two years with Script magazine as a partner, is known as the King Arthur Screenwriters Award. It was begun in 1996 and is in its second incarnation; last time, there were more than 4,000 entries. Cost to enter is $55 and the deadline is June 30. Winners, chosen by a committee of execs from Kingman, will be announced Oct. 31.

“We have 45 readers,” corporate relations veep Eric Miller said. “We have people’s fates in our hands so we have to give them every consideration.”

If their scripts go into production, winners will be obligated to perform two rewrites and a polish, if necessary.

Finished product

One of the finalist scripts in ’96, a World War I story called “Frontline” written by Joseph Bitoni and Francesco Lucente, has already been made into a film. It’s scheduled for release this fall, with Kingman most likely handling its own domestic distribution.

Two of the winning ’96 scripts, “Doniphan of the Americas” written by Bob Bridges and “Gentlemen of the Hunt” by Dennis Lefevre and Ken Young, are in pre-production at Kingman.

Both Chang and Miller are headed for Cannes in the next few days with the intention of striking a deal with a sales agent to handle overseas distribution of “Frontline” and future Kingman films.

For more information on the contest, call Kingman at (818) 548-3456 or visit the company’s Web site at http://www.kingmanfilms.com.