Five screenplays by UCLA students got their night in the limelight Monday at an event that also honored James Cameron and screenwriter Daniel Taradash.
A panel of industry judges selected the students’ scripts for the “Specs Appeal” showcase at the Geffen Playhouse as part of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Festival ’98, a weeklong celebration of students’ work.
The evening was hosted by UCLA screenwriting alum Mike Werb (“The Mask,” “Face/Off”). Highlight was the presentation of lifetime achievement awards to writer/director James Cameron and writer Daniel Taradash (“From Here to Eternity”).
In addition, there were staged excerpts from the following screenplays:
- “Sundays,” by Rita Augustine, in which an 11-year-old girl visits her grandmother’s past in order to help the woman heal her mental illness.
- “Hellfighters From Harlem,” by Robert Davenport, the true story of Henry Johnson, the only black recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War I.
- “Pancho Villa,” by Ronald M. Domke, about the rise and fall off the infamous rebel.
- “Ayla,” by Willie Hagan, in which the female protagonist leaves the male-dominated world of Istanbul, Turkey, for America.
- “Slow Boat to China,” by Kris Young, a modern-day Noah’s tale in which, instead of saving the whole world, Bob is “instructed by God” to build an ark to save a dying Chinese restaurant.
Two other scripts were awarded honorable mentions: “Soul Catcher,” by Laurie Hutzler, about a voodoo priestess who offers a young man his heart’s desire — at a price; and “Night Blooming Jasmine,” by Lisanne Sartor, in which a reclusive Vermont woman brings together her social worker and his estranged 11-year-old son with her unique blend of innocence and fantasy.