×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Heading for $45 Million Launch, Topping 'Joker'

    Angelina Jolie will topple Joaquin Phoenix from the North American box office throne as her “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” should open in the $45 million range this weekend, while “Zombieland: Double Tap” will battle “Joker” for second place in the mid-$20 millions. The film, told from the perspective of the sorceress in “Sleeping Beauty,” is [...]

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Watchmen

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Talks 'Watchmen,' 'Matrix 4': 'I’m Not Nervous At All'

    Yahya Adbul-Mateen II is facing some serious pressure. The actor is in the middle of a massive career surge, taking on roles in HBO’s “Watchmen” and the upcoming “Matrix 4” — and with those roles, the expectations of their fans.  “I have the responsibility of upholding something that was already done while also bringing in [...]

  • Gina Rodriguez'Someone Great' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Gina Rodriguez Apologizes After Rapping N-Word in Deleted Instagram Video

    “Jane The Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez has released an apology video shortly after she used the N-word while rapping along to a Fugees song in a video posted to her Instagram story. In the original video, which has since been deleted, Rodriguez raps along to “Ready or Not” while having her hair and makeup done. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content