The WGA West today announced nine winners for its 2016 Feature Access Program, the guild’s diversity screenwriting program. The honorees include three women writers, two minority writers and three writers 60 and older. Launched in 2012, the program seeks to identify outstanding diverse writers and make their scripts available to producers, studio executives, agents and managers to help raise their profile and generate potential employment opportunities.
This year’s honorees and their screenplays are:
Gus Avila – “Kingwood”
Radha Bharadwaj – “Delilah”
John Lau – “Running Dark”
Puja Maewal – “Jaya”
Lisanne Sartor – “Six Letter Word”
Karol Ruth Silverstein – “You’re My Best Friend”
Garner Simmons – “The Wall”
Marc Weinberg & Victoria Fraser – “The Midnight Ride of William Dawes”
“We are pleased to announce the 2016 Feature Writer Access Project honorees, a group of talented writers judged by their peers solely on the quality of their work,” said Tery Lopez, the guild’s director of diversity. “A compelling aspect of this program is the varied perspectives that the honorees bring to the world of storytelling.”
As part of the program, the guild hosts a series of seminars and workshops tailored to meet the needs of the honorees, covering such topics as the pitch process; agent and manager relationships; packaging; acquiring rights; independent productions; rewrites; how to obtain studio writing assignments, and the challenges faced by diverse writers. It also includes a meet-and-greet mixer with development executives.
This year’s program received 152 script submissions from guild members including 48 women, 20 minority candidates, and 84 writers 60 and older.