Earlier this week the San Francisco Film Society announced the eight finalists for the 5th annual SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant - a $15,000 award for a screenwriter who has been practicing for at least 5 years, and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay.
The grant is open to writers residing in the USA, with priority given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have been produced as independent films.
The finalists were selected from submissions received in response to a nationwide call for entries. The winner will be announced in mid-September.
Scanning through the list of finalists for titles/filmmakers to highlight here (given this site's mission), I immediately noticed a project from Shaka King (director of this year's Sundance selection, the stoner dramedy Newlyweeds), who's obviously already graduating to his sophomore feature.
Titled Liquid Courage, based on the film's limited description, it looks like it continues writer/director Shaka King's "recreational drug" focus:
In the 90's, drugs and alcohol ruined Deuce Harding's career. In 2013 they'll make him a star.
Phase 4 Films will open the crowd-pleasing stoner dramedy on September 18, 2013, at Film Forum theaters here in New York City.
The gritty, stoner romantic dramedy stars Amari Cheatom and newcomer Trae Harris, in a bittersweet blend of comedy and drama that tells the story of polar opposites Lyle (Cheatom) and Nina (Harris) - a repo-man and a flower child whose bond is forged and frayed by their mutual adoration and voracious consumption of cannabis.
Isiah Whitlock, Colman Domingo, Tonya Pinkins, Diane Neal, Adrian Martinez and Hassan Johnson round out the cast.
Jim Wareck, Michael Matthews, Shaka King and Gbenga Akinnagbe are all producers.
It's one of 10 feature films selected by the Sundance Institute for the first-ever NEXT WEEKEND film festival (an extension of the popular NEXT <=> section at the Sundance Film Festival), August 8-11, which takes places at Sundance Sunset Cinema and additional venues throughout Los Angeles.
I'm looking forward to finally seeing Newlyweeds, and learning more about Liquid Courage.