Family drama “Great White Shark,” written by Andrew Kightlinger has won the 2016 Slamdance Writing Competition Grand Prize.

Kightlinger, born and raised on Madagascar before transplanting to South Dakota, was awarded $7,000 in cash prizes for his feature script at the annual awards ceremony hosted by the Writers Guild of America West on Thursday night at the WGA West headquarters in Los Angeles. The event drew about 170 attendees.

“Great White Shark” tells the story of estranged siblings who embark on a scavenger hunt in South Dakota to secure their inheritance after their loathsome father dies.

The Slamdance Festival was founded as an alternative to the larger Sundance film festival. The 23rd edition of the Slamdance Film Festival will run concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 20-26, in Park City, Utah.

Slamdance received a record-breaking 3,600 submissions for the 2016 Writing Competition. Shane Andries, who won last year’s Grand Prize for “The Delegation” was able to land a literary agent at CAA, attach an Oscar-winning producer to the script and has been brought on to adapt a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Screenplays connected to the Slamdance Writing Competition that have gone to production include “Maria Full of Grace” from writer/director Joshua Marston and” The Woodsman,” co-written by Nicole Kassel and Steven Fechter, directed by Kassel.

The top three Slamdance screenplays in each prize category are as follows:


1st Place: “Great White Shark” by Andrew Kightlinger

2nd Place: “Oil and Water” by Alfred Thomas Catalfo and Morgan Webster Dudley

3rd Place: “Montana Quagmire” by David Biscevic


1st Place: “The Housesitter” by Suju Vijayan

2nd Place: “Welcome to the Hotel Chateau Cheveux” by Michael Snow

3rd Place: “Dead Pilgrims” by Colin Campbell


1st Place: “Conviction” by Anju Andre-Bergmann

2nd Place: “Fetch” by Sam Gill

3rd Place: “Entrenched” by Joey Chebatte


1st Place: “Feral: Lone Wolf” by Bryan Kett

2nd Place: “Lovecraft” by Doug Wolfe

3rd Place: “Sugartown” by Amanda Toye