2012 Winners

Female Category

Grand Prize Winner:  THE OIL MAN’S WIFE by Alice McAfee

Logline:  After a Houston oil company executive is kidnapped by militants while working in Nigeria, his high society wife leaves the safety of her country-club existence to negotiate his release, only to find herself in the cross-fire of a dangerous battle for oil, money, and power in the Niger Delta. 

About the Writer:  Alice McAfee has a law degree and an M.A. in journalism, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing.    

Second Place:  CRICKET by Alissa Dean 

Logline: Once voted best performer in high school, Cricket has strayed far from her chosen path. Now 32 and still living at home, her stagnant life is jarred awake by the realization that she just got knocked up by the local deli guy. 

About the Writer: Alissa Dean is a writer/producer/actress originally from Plainview, NY who now resides in Los Angeles. She graduated from NYU with a Bachelor of Music and a concentration in musical theatre. Alissa credits her extensive acting and improv background with finding her voice as a writer. She writes close to the vest, creating stories that have sprung from her off-beat childhood in suburban Long Island. As an actress, Alissa has created characters in both film and television and will be seen on the upcoming season of Showtime’s Californication.  Alissa is currently hard at work writing an untitled anthology feature as well as an animated half-hour entitled “I’m With Stamos” along with her always absurd Tumblr blog Zosia Mamet Hates You (

THIRD PLACE:  THE HAMMER by J. Neff and Monika Lind

 In a dystopian future, a troubled young woman becomes a hammer swinging vigilante.  

About the Writers:  Sibling writing team Monika and J. Neff Lind come from a family of artists, writers, and performers. With roots in the South and Midwest, they now reside in Los Angeles where they are hard at work on their seventh feature script. A USC film school grad and a professional poet respectively, their scripts are in the final rounds of five contests. They love good food, great movies, and cage fighting. 

Diversity Category

Grand Prize Winner:  MISS CHINATOWN by Christopher Sansone    

Logline:  A police lieutenant newly assigned to Chinatown, must solve the murder of a local doctor’s wife, while coming to terms with who her long-dead father was, a police sergeant who played both ends against the middle in Chinatown. 

About the Writer:  Christopher Sansone, 
a long time resident of Honolulu, drew inspiration for “Miss Chinatown” from the rich cultural mix and ancient traditions still practiced in the Islands. He recently completed a spec for Hawaii Five-O called Pu’uhonua and is currently working hard on his next goal – a “written by” credit.  

Second Place:  THE BULLRING by Luke Garza 

Logline: A Mexican American businessman investigates the murder of a farm labor union organizer and uncovers a conspiracy between the union, a drug cartel and the company where the businessman works.  The businessman must risk his career and his life to bring the murderers to justice.     

About the Writer:  Luke Garza received his B.S. in Radio-TV Film and B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as an M.F.A. in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California.  As a story analyst for numerous companies, most notably HBO, Rat Entertainment (director Brett Ratner) and Phoenix Pictures (producer Mike Medavoy), Luke evaluated thousands of projects for development into features. Luke parlayed his development experience into a stint as associate producer for the Fox Network’s “Police Videos.”  Since 2003, Luke has taught courses in screenwriting, TV writing and script coverage in the greater Austin area.  His screenplays have placed in the quarter to semi-final rounds of the Nicholl Fellowship, Sundance, Final Draft/Big Break, Chesterfield Film Company Writer’s Fellowship, America’s Best, and Austin Film Festival competitions. 

Third Place:  I, OF THE HURRICANE by Ken Pearson

Logline:  A down-on-his-luck English Professor, trapped in Hurricane Katrina, finds a priceless, handwritten manuscript of Mark Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” only to discover that this version has a radically different ending than the published original. As he reads this different ending, about how Huck Finn and the fugitive slave Jim battle to survive on a raft on the Mississippi river, the English Professor is continually interrupted, because he, too, is battling to survive on a raft, with an African-American named Jim, in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.  

About the Writer:  Ken Pearson has spent six years honing his craft as a screenwriter, and no matter the genre, a measure of comedy usually finds its way into his scripts. Past achievements include being a top five finalist at the Austin Film Festival and being one of three writers awarded a fellowship in AFF’s prestigious Writers Ranch mentoring program. He is a graduate of the screenwriting program at Scottsdale Community College. He currently lives on an Indian reservation where he is free to pursue his dream of reaching out, through the magic of storytelling, and touching the lives of others on a heartfelt level.

A Certain Charm by Betty Ellington Smith
A Match Made in Hell by Marjory Kaptanoglu
Annie Never Got To Be The Cowboy by Betty Ellington Smith
B1llion (One in a Billion) by Gwyneth Kozbial
Battle of a Lifetime by Stoney Morrison
Big Skinny by Sean Toren
Carmen’s Revenge by Richter Alan Cox
Chicken Day by Melissa Brandt
Christine & the Cotton Tree by Anton Gill
Clueless About Christmas by Jan Stanton
Condition of Return by John E. Spare
Confession by Sean Corrigan
Consider Icarus by Lori Romero
Culture Shock by Jodi Levitan
Dance Rocket by Eleanor Hart Seigler
Documented by Jocelyn Osier
Dog Tag Messenger by Russell Bush
Drosselbart by Effie Bathen
Epoch of Stone by Douglas McDougall
Fine Lines by Tynan Hansen and Irina Tuchinsky
For Richer or Poorer by Beth Jones
Frontman by Elise Carr
Funny Bone by Jan Stanton
Girl on Main by Christine Hinz
Guys You Meet on the Subway by Betsy Nagler
Hard Ride Home by Julie Johnson Oliver
Hedged Out by Gesha Marie Bland
Higher Ground by Lisa Henry
How To Die Happy by Chelsea Mize and Matt Giegerich
In Deadly Pursuit by Richard Hohenrath
Kate! by Ray Rhamey
La Mujer (The Woman) by Steve Lucas
Legacy by Jodi Levitan
Lhasa by Luann Kay Grosscup and Josephine M. O’Connor Tazelaar
Lizzie Fox by Mike Murphy
Mrs. Zaharias: The Untold Story of the Best That Ever Was by Robert Stork
On Track by Jodi Levitan
Play Like A Girl by J. Neff Lind and Monika Lind
Ripple by Heather Faris
Roughnecks by Michael Edwards
Shakespeare and Company by Liz Janzen
Somebody Swam Away by Rajko Stiglic
Street Corners by Marie Robinson
Sweetwater by Christina Hulen
Tall, Dark & Persian by Tamara Farsadi
The 49th Day by Craig Peters
The Lilith Code by Wendy Wheeler
The Opposite of Infinity by Janice Margolis and Karen Johnson
The Rise of Lilith by Michael Stuart Baskin
The Somalia by Saidu Kalokoh
The Washing Away of Wrongs by Joanne Lalli
The Way Home by Kathryn Kyker
Vindication by Laura Burns
Zelda by Barbara Thomas
Zero Degrees of Separation by Jocelyn Osier

cynosure screenwriting awards