Screenplays, manuscripts win prizes

Discovery Awards confer options, access

A half-dozen screenplays and manuscripts, from more than 1,400 entered, have won options and other prizes in the Discovery Awards, set up in 1991 by author Carlos de Abreu.

De Abreu, who last year founded the Hollywood Film Festival, said Tuesday the prizes include options of up to $10,000, access to decision makers in the major studios, film conference registrations and story analysis software, among other benefits.

There are two categories in the Discovery contest — the Columbus Screenplay awards, for unproduced spec screenplays, and the Opus Magnum Manuscript awards, for unpublished book manuscripts that are seen as having potential for adaptation to film.

The screenplay winners for 1997 are, in first place, “Finder’s Fee,” a comedy by Robert Jones about a young advertising exec who discovers that the home he has just bought has also been sold to an attractive woman — who also turns out to be his new boss; in second place, “Clubman,” a thriller by Ted Rodemeyer about an ambitious bartender who battles a drug kingpin for control of a nightclub; in third place, “Run for the Money,” a road comedy by Steven A. Finly about the discovery in Mexico of a gangster’s long-lost car, which brings out the best and the worst in those hoping to claim its treasure.

Manuscript winners are, first, “The Undertaker,” by William F. Brown, about a man named Pete Talbot who “knew he had a problem when Gino Parini shoved a .45 in his face and showed him his obituary ripped out of that morning’s newspaper”; second, “Particle Dreams,” by Ron Howland, about a troubled high school teacher who probes the apparently accidental drowning of a beautiful student; third, “Uncool,” by Bo Rinaldo, about a conscience-stricken teenager who accidentally kills a man who appears to be a danger to his family.

Judges included Ted Kotcheff, director of “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”; producer George Litto (“Dressed to Kill”); and Chris Vogler, author of “Writer’s Journey.”

The deadline for this year’s contest is Nov. 1. For entry forms, send SASE to Columbus Discovery Awards, Suite 600, 433 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, or go to http://screenwriters.com. Phone is (310) 288-1882.