Seven Emerson students and one recent graduate have won top prizes or scored as finalists in five national writing contests for TV scripts and short film scripts. Two others placed as semi-finalists.
Ivy Film Festival short script competitions
Christian Hunt (graduate students) and Armando Vazquez won top writing awards at the Ivy Film Festival’s awards banquet on April 14. Hunt won the graduate prize for best short film script with her work We Buried Our Spirits and Vazquez won the undergraduate prize for Plop Plop Fizz Fizz.
It was no surprise that an Emerson student won in the graduate category because all three finalist slots went to Emerson students: Hunt, Allyson Sherlock, and Bob Giordani. But Vazquez was the only Emerson student in the finals for the undergraduate category. He said he was shocked when his name was announced at the awards banquet at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
“I couldn’t believe it. I honestly didn’t think I’d win. Not for my first script,” he said.
Both Hunt and Vazquez received cash prizes and passes to the Nantucket Film Festival in May.
The Ivy Film Festival was first organized in 2001 to celebrate the work of students at the Ivy League universities. It has since branched out to include students at other colleges and universities. Mike Makowsky, one of the festival’s two competition coordinators, said the festival’s feature-length and short script contests attracted more than 70 submissions this year. He said that “the number of Emerson finalists is a testament to how great your screenwriting program is.”
All of the students wrote their scripts in Visual and Media Arts Assistant Professor Jim Macak’s graduate and undergraduate courses on Writing the Short Subject.
Acclaim TV writing competition
Several students were recently honored for their TV writing.
Nick Ciarelli ’12 won the Acclaim Film & TV’s fall/winter writing competition for spec scripts of existing TV shows. He won the $500 first place award for his episode of Bob’s Burgers, the animated comedy on FOX, which he wrote in Associate Professor of Visual and Media Arts Martie Cook’s summer course on Writing Television Comedy. He credits the feedback he received from Cook as well as from students in the class for helping him improve the script.
Two other seniors, Andreas Ignatiou ’12 and Katherine Scheines ’12, scored as two of the five finalists in a second Acclaim competition for TV pilots for their scripts Bishop and Elemental, respectively. And two additional students, Ross Hansen ’12 (Templeton) and Zachary Ehrlich ’14 (Ramrod), were tapped as semi-finalists in this same competition.
Ignatiou, Scheines, and Hansen all wrote their scripts for Macak’s course on Writing Television Pilots.
Ehrlich wrote his pilot based on a pitch he used to win a pitch competition at the Austin Film Festival Screenwriters Conference last year.
All Sports LA Film Festival
Ben Pepin ’11 won the short script competition at the All Sports LA Film Festival, a festival that honors sports-themed films and screenplays.
Pepin’s comedy Dugout was chosen from nearly three-dozen entries. He wrote the script in Macak’s course on Writing the Web Series and now works as a production assistant in Los Angeles.