×

Cal State Northridge Student Wins Million Dollar Screenplay Competition (EXCLUSIVE)

Abdullah Alhendyani, a student at Cal State Northridge, has won the The Launch: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition.

The contest, now in its second year, awarded the college student with a production budget of at least $1 million for his winning screenplay “Haram” as well as a prize of $50,000 in educational grants. Alhendyani’s script follows a Muslim woman falling in love with a female tattoo artist despite her parents’ religious demand for an arranged marriage. The story highlights themes of acceptance, tolerance and love. Production for “Haram” will begin during the first quarter of 2020.

Philanthropists Chuck and Marni Bond funded the competition. “The Launch” was co-founded by the two last year along with producers Zachary Green and Jason Shuman.

“There we so many incredible screenplays to read in this years competition and those that made the Top eight were the best of the best. Abdullah’s screenplay “Haram”, with its themes of culture, tolerance and love is a beautiful, yet chilling story we all felt deserved to be told,” said Green in a statement. “’The Launch’ is about discovering diverse, new talent, with strong voices that have something to say and we are lucky to have found Abdullah to continue the mission in 2019.”

The winner of last year’s competition was USC student Stanley Kalu, who wrote “The Obituary of Tunde Johnson.” His film will have its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival this September.

Popular on Variety

As part of the prize package, the second and third place winners, along with Alhendyani, will be represented by APA and Valor Entertainment. All remaining seven finalists will receive educational grants. The judges, comprised of ‘The Launch”s board of advisors, partners ScreenCraft and Coverfly and a panel of industry professionals, scored each screenplay based on quality of character development, creativity, voice originality, story and honest emotion.

“Once again, we are looking for original screenplays with captivating stories, unique voices and honest emotion in any genre. The amount of raw talent out there is staggering and we can’t wait to read next year’s screenplay’s” said Green.

Next year’s competition will reconvene with submissions opening on March 1, 2020 and closing on May 31. The worldwide contest is open to college and graduate students enrolled in two-year and four-year universities.

More Film

  • The Invisible Man

    Box Office: 'The Invisible Man' Eyes $20 Million-Plus Debut

    With “The Invisible Man,” a terrifying thriller starring Elisabeth Moss, Universal is attempting to revive the cinematic prospects for its classic monster properties. After “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise flamed out theaters in 2017, the studio scraped its plans to form an interconnected Dark Universe and instead retooled its vision to create standalone stories unique [...]

  • Dau

    'Dau' Director Defends Controversial Russian Competition Film: 'It's not Hollywood'

    “Dau. Natasha,” the Russian art project-turned-movie franchise competing at the Berlinale, has triggered headlines in the local and international press over the years due to its epic scale, scenes of graphic violence and anecdotes of an allegedly oppressive work environment for women. Hours before the film’s premiere at a presser on Wednesday, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, who [...]

  • The Trouble With Being Born

    Sandra Wollner on Berlin A.I. Drama 'The Trouble With Being Born'

    At first glance Elli appears to be a normal young girl living with her single father, spending idle afternoons lazing by a sunlit pool. But a disturbing reality is soon revealed: Elli is actually an android whose memories were programmed by the man she lovingly calls “Daddy.” Before long the true nature of their relationship [...]

  • Legendary Entertainment Hires Matthew Erramouspe Chief

    Legendary Entertainment Hires Matthew Erramouspe as Chief Legal Officer

    Legendary Entertainment has appointed veteran sports-media attorney Matthew Erramouspe to the newly developed role of chief legal officer and executive VP. Erramouspe has been co-chair of O’Melveny & Myers’ Entertainment’s Sports and Media practice group. He will report to Legendary’s CEO Joshua Grode and work closely with the heads of Legendary’s business units. “Matthew has been [...]

  • The Roads Not Taken

    'The Roads Not Taken': Film Review

    In 2013, Sally Potter lost her younger brother, artist and musician Nic Potter, to early onset dementia, although the disease is so cruel, one could say that she began losing him a couple years earlier — that he started to disappear on her in 2010 — and that her film “The Roads Not Taken” is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content