LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America West has announced the honorees for its 2017 Feature Writer Access Project, the WGAW’s diversity screenwriting program for minority, women, and 60-and-older writers.
This year’s Feature WAP honorees and their screenplays are:
Brian Cox – About Face
Andrea Janakas – Tiger and the Lion
Barbara Johns – The Ones Who Know
Italome Ohikhuare – The Mermaid
Tamara Lynn Roth – Hearts of the South
Amy Sorlie – Game Changer
Thomas Thonson – The Moor
Bayan Wolcott – Go to Hell, Tina Rhodes
More information about the Guild’s 2017 Feature WAP honorees and complete versions of their screenplays can be found at: http://www.wga.org/fwap
The WGAW’s eight 2017 Feature WAP honorees include two minority writers, four women writers, and two writers age 60 and older.
Launched in 2012 and coordinated by the WGAW Diversity Department, the Guild’s program seeks to identify outstanding diverse writers and make their scripts available to entertainment industry decision-makers – including producers, studio executives, agents and managers – to help raise their profile and generate potential employment opportunities.
“Now on its fifth year, the WGAW Feature Writer Access Project is one way in which the Guild works to highlight historically underemployed screenwriters. Our hope is that agents, managers and industry decision makers who see the importance in inclusive storytelling, read through the selected writer’s bios and screenplays and give them serious consideration as clients and for open assignments, said WGAW Director of Diversity Tery Lopez.
“It was an incredible honor to be a part of the WGAW Feature Writers Access Program that provided me with a map, a compass, and a confidence that I needed to pave new paths as a diverse writer,” said 2015 Feature WAP honoree Bo Yeon Kim (Reign), who is currently writing a feature for Paramount. “This program remains more relevant than ever before, and I sincerely hope that it will continue to be a staunch reminder for Hollywood that diversity is not simply a trend, but a necessary foundation for all stories.”
“Although inclusive hiring is widely touted as an industry ideal, actual hiring practices have not yet matched ambitions – particularly in the area of screenwriting,” said Feature WAP Advisory Committee member Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee). “That’s why the WGAW’s Feature Writers Access Project is so important. It highlights truly talented writers, gives them the tools they need to navigate the evolving world of feature films, and introduces them to industry professionals dedicated to the cause of inclusiveness.”
The 2017 Feature WAP program received 189 script submissions from Guild members, including 36 minority, 57 women, and 96 60-and-older writers.
For consideration, qualified writers who met program criteria were asked to submit a current, feature-length, unproduced spec script. Entries were read and scored on a blind submission basis by a panel of judges recruited by the Feature WAP Advisory Committee.
The program’s pool of second-round judges included 47 feature film writers, 41 drama and six comedy, including WGAW members Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel), Angela Workman (The Zookeeper’s Wife), and Jon Lucas (A Bad Moms Christmas, Bad Moms).
As part of the Feature WAP program, the WGAW hosts a series of workshops tailored for honorees, covering industry topics such as how to pitch yourself and an evening with screenwriter Elgin James (Lowriders), as well as meet-and-greet mixers with development executives, agents, and managers.
The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.