2016 Winners

Grand Prize Winner


Logline:  A fourteen-year-old girl embarks on a quest to bring back her father from the dead by stealing the most prized magical artifact of the wicked conjurer, Fellstone.

About the Writer:  Marjory Kaptanoglu is an award-winning screenwriter with numerous optioned features and produced shorts to her credit. Her short films “Dearly Departed” and “Dead in the Room” screened at major festivals, including Santa Barbara, Nashville, Woodstock, and San Diego. Her screenplays have won First Place in the Slamdance, Table Read My Screenplay, Worldfest Houston, and International Horror & Sci-fi screenwriting contests. Her political thriller, “The Courtesan,” advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2015 and 2016 Nicholl Fellowships. Marjory was hired last year to write an adaptation of Christopher Bram’s novel “Gossip,” and the film, now called “Slander,” is currently in pre-production. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English and is the recipient of a Writers’ Boot Camp Fellowship. Currently, she is nearing completion of a novel based on her screenplay, “Fellstone.” 

Diversity Category


Logline:  In volatile mid-70’s Mississippi after segregation ends, a poor white boy and privileged black girl in a teen Funk band risk everything for their forbidden love.

About the Writer:  Tony entered the UCLA Graduate School’s Professional Screenwriting and Writing for Television Programs in 2012.  In 2014 he optioned two screenplays to a Chinese Production Company, and produced an award-winning short film “Refuel”.  In 2015 another script was named best feature screenplay in the UCLA Professional Programs.  It now has a commitment for financing with planned production in 2017.

“At Last”, which is inspired by actual events, has placed in or won many competitions, including: Austin Film Festival; Slamdance; Cinequest; Creative World Awards; and the Kairos Prize.  It was rated a Top 10 Drama script on Blacklist.com.  

Tony worked as a R&B/Jazz musician in Mississippi during high school and college.  He has a B.A. from the University of Mississippi, and a MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.  


Logline: A reserved choir director from conservative rural Texas inherits her deceased son’s drag/transgender nightclub in San Francisco. To the chagrin of her son’s gay partner, she moves to San Francisco to help save the club from bankruptcy and becomes “den mother” to the club’s flamboyant performers until a secret is revealed that shocks her new “family.”


About the Writer:  Brad Hennig is a feature film screenwriter based in San Francisco. He wrote and produced the 2013 indie theatrical film comedy The Hot Flashes, starring Brooke Shields, Virginia Madsen, and Wanda Sykes.

Previously, Brad placed in the top ten in four national screenwriting competitions, including the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition and the Final Draft Big Break competition.

Brad began writing as a child in rural Texas when he was abandoned in a well and wrote letters to his family in prison.  He has a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and is also a freelance writer for corporate videos, public service announcements and national ad campaigns.

Female Category

FIRST RUNNER UP (FEMALE) – THE GETBACK by Sean Kohnen and Matthew Kohnen

Logline: A recently divorced woman and her prison escapee mother dodge cops and the mob as they rush to recover stolen diamonds.

About the Writers:  Matthew Kohnen earned his MFA in film production from USC School of Cinema-Television and has spent much of his career as a cinematographer. Sean Kohnen has degrees in philosophy and biology and misspent most of his adult life as an itinerant rockclimber and musician.

The brothers have written feature and TV projects for multiple producers, including Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained), Rob Fried (Collateral) and Lee Aronsohn (The Big Bang Theory), and they’ve been finalists in several writing competitions, including Austin, Slamdance and the Nicholl Fellowship.

Their first feature, “Wasting Away”, was an award winning festival hit. Their most recent feature, “The Funeral Guest”, will soon be released through BMG Films. Earlier this year they made their first TV pilot sale to NBC/Universal, and they learned to tango… not with each other… that would be weird.


Logline: Grace Bloomer, recently widowed and disenchanted with her life, catches her rebellious teenage neighbor running away one night and instead of turning her in, drives with her across the country to crash her estranged son’s wedding.

About the Writer:  Originally from Austin, TX, Mandy was a film major at Vassar College before beginning her career as a writer/performer in New York City.  There, she did sketch comedy and improv before moving to Los Angeles, and transitioning into songwriting. 

Soon, Mandy returned to her roots as a director, where all the disciplines happily folded into the best job she’s ever had.  Mandy has been awarded a Sony Pictures TV Directing fellowship, Best New Filmmaker of the Year by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, and most recently, created and directed “The Young Hillary Diaries” Lifetime’s first original digital series, imagining a 15 year old girl who very much wants to one day grow up to be president.  She writes dark comedies with strong female protagonists of all ages and is prepping her first feature film, going into production April 2017. 

For more information, visit MandyFabian.com   

African Harvest by Marise Samitier
Bound in Shallows by Joanne Lalli
Daughters Lost to the Desert by AM Sanchez   
E.I. by A.W.Scott
Endless Traveler by Wayne Bibee
Hero by Jami Deise
Purified by Elizabeth Savage Sullivan   
Redcoats on the Hudson by Carole Ryavec
Secretarial Wars by Linda Gould
Tall, Dark and Persian by Tamara Farsadi
The East Trail by Kathleen C. Rooney
The Leper Farm by Nancy Zafris
The Purple Ribbon by Susan Zimmerman
Viva Gloria by Sean Buckley  

3 Rivers to Cross by Herb Blitzstein
Ascension by Darryl Hill
Big Sister by David Chester and Blake Pinter   
Bitch by Lonas D.Taylor
Blood of the Iceni by Tina Cameron
Boat People by David Kane
Butterball by John D. Murphy
Catching the Evening Sun by Margaret Folarin
Colleen by Mary Anne Quigley  
Curing Liza by Melanie Cohn
Dark Spot by Evan Tognotti
Devil’s Apprentice by Frederick Thomas
Endless Traveler by Wayne Bibee
Fly Girls by Guershon Moreno and Dave Strauss
Greatest of All Time by Nick Epstein
Imperative by Jeffrey Radlauer
Inspired by C. Marie Robinson
Jacob’s Ocean by Jan D.Evans
Marilyn 13 by Jocelyn Osier
Masa by Chad DeMiguel
Me, Mom and the Medallion by Susan Holtzer
Metal Girl by Judy Sandra   
Never Been Born by Adria Tennor
Project Athena by Belinda Robertson  
The Cuban Circuit by Pamela Jaye Smith and Monty Hayes McMillan
The Cure by Martin Blinder
The Door at the Top of the Stairs by Alison Naomi Holt
The Extremist by Ron Peer
The Fair Unknown by Martha Mendenhall
The Falling by Martin Blinder  
The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla
The Story of Love by Trace Taylor
The Thief and the Princess by Alan Bradshaw and Gillian Bradshaw
The Winemaker by M. Charles McBee
Two Fates by Jeffrey Radlauer
Unraveled by Eva Moon
Villette by Marjory Kaptanoglu   


Bodey’s Banner by Ernestina Juarez
The Evil Around Us by C. Marie Robinson
The White Lobster by Gabriel Brugni 
Trunk by Sean Kohnen and Matthew Kohnen 

Blood Brothers by Matthew Elam  
Dannemora by Matthew Williams and Andrew Griffiths
Death’s Hidden Love by Ernestina Juarez   
Muted by Brandi Nicole Payne
No Brick Aims at the Sky by Rajko Stiglic
Pancake Queen: The Ballad of Nancy Green, The Story of Aunt Jemima by Yolanda Brown
Parent Management by A.W.Scott and Sharon Xinrong Liu
Pump and Punishment by Todd J. Nickens
San Francisco Sandinista by David Cupples
Stealing Buddha by Martin Blinder
The Father, The Son by Jace Serrano   
The Last Adventure of Shay Blaze by Howard Fridkin
The Local by Christina Pamies  
The Missouri Compromise by Aaron Yarber
Unconscionable by Howard Fridkin
Wasted by Margaret Folarin

cynosure screenwriting awards