2015 Winners

Grand Prize Winner


Logline:  Set during World War II in Russia, an idealistic, young woman enlists in the Soviet Air Force and embarks on an unrelenting journey to find her six-year old sister, lost during the first night of Germany’s assault on Russia.

About the Writer:  Roma Simons grew up with two lasting passions – the movies and Russian literature. Roma graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Colorado with degrees in Russian studies and began a career in writing and research, first as a military historian for the Air Force and then as a corporate researcher at Northwestern University, all the while allowing her passion for the movies to simmer in the background as a hobby. After leaving Northwestern, Roma decided to follow her heart, move that movie passion to the forefront, and seriously study screenwriting. She enrolled in the online screenwriting program at UCLA. After completing the required 18 hours of coursework, Roma received her screenwriting certificate. Her first two screenplays, Waiting at Hemmler’s Café and From the Stump of Jesse, have been finalists in screenwriting competitions this year. Roma’s goals are to continue to hone and develop her screenwriting skills and, hopefully, see her work transformed into a high-quality film.

Diversity Category

FIRST RUNNER UP (DIVERSITY) – 9/10 by Richard Willett

Logline:  Four interconnected stories that take place in the World Trade Center on the night before September 11, 2001.

About the Writer:  Richard Willett spent several years as a playwright in New York before recently returning to Los Angeles. His stage plays have been presented off-off-Broadway and at theaters across the country.  Other honors include an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellowship; a Tennessee Williams Scholarship; grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts (among others).  His screenplays have made it into the semifinalist round for the Academy Nicholl Fellowships and Austin Film Festival.


Logline: As a Saudi, Saarah is desperate to escape the stifling restrictions of women, yet afraid to study in the US. Still she comes and encounters trouble in the person of fearlessly independent Debbie, who forces her to realize that freedom has a price.

About the Writer: Barbara has written over a dozen pilots, shorts and full length scripts, several of which have won or placed in national contests – two scripts placed in the Quarterfinals of the Nicholl Fellowships.  Another short she wrote won a national contest and was produced.  She is a member of SAG/AFTRA. She earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in IL and is an active member with the Chicago Screenwriters Network.  Like any screenwriter she would like to have more of her scripts produced. 

Female Category


Logline: A woman’s post-apocalyptic survival skills are put to the test when she finds a young man-the only other person she’s encountered in years-trapped in one of her hunting snares.

About the Writer: Joe Rechtman attended Emerson College, where he earned a B.F.A. in Film Production with a minor in Fiction Writing. After graduating, he was hired by Maker Studios to develop and write a wide range of digital content, from parodies of pop songs to animated web series. Since leaving in Maker in 2013, Joe has been working as a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter, but is excited to begin his career as a feature screenwriter.



Logline:  A young woman, sent to Korea as a child, returns to America as a bounty hunter in order to catch the hitman who brutally murdered her parents twenty years ago.

About the Writer:  Shequeta began her career in entertainment as a College Representative for Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella Records while attending North Carolina State University. Upon graduation, Shequeta began working on her very first screenplay. One year later, she was a finalist in the “Sundance Filmmaker’s Lab.”  Over the next few years, Shequeta’s work has placed in the Nickelodeon program, AFI Directing Workshop for Women,Tribeca All Access, and the Universal Studios Emerging Writers Fellowship. Most recently, Shequeta beat out over five thousand filmmakers to be selected as a Top 20 Finalist in HBO’s Project Greenlight with her teaser trailer, “The Gestapo vs. Granny”.  

2015 Female Semifinalists
Dance Rocket by Eleanor Hart Seigler
Faithless by Tamar Halpern
Gentleman of Good Hope, A by Christina Hulen
Grace by Lydia Lemberg and Jeffrey Allen Russel
Hot Flash by Su Hoyle and Nina Wishengrad
Jacob’s Ocean by Jan D. Evans
Our House by Nancy Hendrickson
Robo4ce by Jeffrey Howe
Target Audience by Michael Raymond
Tongues of Men and Angels by Elizabeth Hayes

2015 Diversity Semifinalists
Bender by Brian MacEvilly
Breaking the Code by Robert V. Schmidt Jr.
Bullring, The by Luke Garza
Donuts with Jerry by Ron Peer
Hunters Pointe by Scott Liapis
Last Adventure of Shay Blaze, The by Howard Fridkin
Moon of Popping Trees, The by Daniel Leonetti
Silent Rescue by Todd Sorrell
Tall, Dark and Persian by Tamara Farsadi

2015 Female Quarterfinalists
5 Days, 55 Miles by Tamar Halpern
African Harvest by Marise Samitier
Bloodline: Geneva’s Tale, The by Chris Robertsson
Cahoots by Elan Carlson
Cat and Mouse Game, The by Coletta Preacely-Garcia
Courtesan, The by Marjory Kaptanoglu
Devils & Dust by Dagmar Blommaert
Father Panic Village by Michele Santopietro
Free As The Wind by Susan Zimmerman
Harper’s Heist by Gianna Jackson
Hot Match by Marjory Kaptanoglu
Knot of Toads by Penelope Thomas
Legacy by Elizabeth Armancas
Lorna Doone by Janice Margolis
Miss C by Kelly Jean Karam
Mouth by Kimi Howl Lee
One-Eye Charlie by Tara Evans
Party Lines by Norma P. Sepulveda
Performers, The by Nandana Sen
Princess of the Strange by Shawnelle Gibbs
Rhymes and Reasons by Doug Williams
Ripple by Heather Faris
Rosemary’s Revenge by Laura Gilliam
RUTH and ROSE by Brian Nicol
Sadie’s Way Out by Jaimie Tod Bouwkamp
Saints and Sinners by Christopher Willis
Sanctuary by Karen L. Samuelson
Screaming My Heart Out by Janyce Lapore
Searching for Asia by Garey Riester
Secret Roses by Elan Carlson
SIG by John Geraci
Stewardess by Teresa Sullivan
Thicker Than Water by Lauren Hendler
This Side of Heaven by Nevada Grey
Turning Tricks by Kenneth Lindebak
White Lily by Preston Poulter
Wicked Scales, Deceptive Weights by Anthony J. Stampalia
Woman in the Shadows, A by Julia Fontana
Wrap Party by Sherene McLeary
Wrecking Ball by Gus Avila

2015 Diversity Quarterfinalists
623 Days by Dan Melchior
Black Hickory by Ronald L. Ecker and Evan M. Pinchuk
Blemish by Gustavo Adrian Garzon
Boat, The by Robert Wooldridge, Jr.
Crime Extraordinaire by Howard Fridkin
Damnation by Nicolas Caicoya and Cesar Garcia Munoz
Dead Ringer, The by Suzanne Lutas
Dust by Roy Lucas Garza and Betty Garcia
Father Rennie by Bonnie Eaton
First Chef, Tell Me What You Eat by John Richo
Good With Words by Irina Schmedes
Inherent by Rosaia Shepard
Jobe’s Release by Brady Morrell
Life After Hope by John Ho
Lucky’s Trouble by Molly Brown Pennington
To Grow Free and Fertile by Andrew Gilchrist
You Are Cheyenne by Jan D. Evans

cynosure screenwriting awards