“The public is screaming for Asian American talent,” CAPE director, Jennifer Sanderson tells me. “Screaming for Asian American talent. I get calls on a daily basis asking for Asian American writers and talents. I want our communities to know about these opportunities and just really go for it.”
Judging by the numerous submissions that CAPE received from the United States and all over the world (including Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan), it seems like the talents are responding. The prestigious 11th annual CAPE New Writers Awards, in both Screenwriting and Television Writing categories packed the Japanese American National Museum’s (JANM) theater with industry newcomers and pros alike.
The event, produced by CAPE (the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) Foundation, Inc., and Fox Entertainment Group (with support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), honored Jaffar Mahmood as the Screenwriting winner for his script, How to Throw a Party in Pakistan. Mia Riverton’s script, His & Hers and Ann. N. Truong’s script, So I Married a Black Guy were 1st and 2nd runner up, respectively. Randall Park took home the Television Writing award for his original script, Erasists. Leonard Chang’s Isa’s Return was 1st runner-up and Becoming Kate by Leonardo Nam and Sara Drew was 2nd runner up.
If many of these names sound familiar to you, it’s probably because they are familiar faces.
Ceremony producer Leo Chu remarks, “About half of our finalists this year have been actors so apparently, they have been busy acting as well as writing.” He goes on to joke, “Some of them, it’s the first script they’ve ever written which is pretty astounding and disheartening to me as a writer.”
And even more impressive is the fact that whereas in the past, winners have been scripts that were adapted from shows currently on air or movies that have already been made (for example, last year’s Television Writing Winner, Aaron Ho’s script was his version of a How I Met Your Mother episode), all 6 of this year’s scripts were original.
After the awards were handed out, the audience was treated to readings of last year’s winning scripts. Amusing, heartfelt and very well-written, the works definitely carry merit.
“Writers are king, “ Sanderson says, “We have to develop these talents.”
Future projects CAPE has in store for aspiring writers include a “Writing for Mainstream” workshop which Sanderson feels will be an amazing way for writers to get their work out.
Photos courtesy of Steven Lam
Have a secret stash of stories hidden away in your sock drawer? Tired of seeing all your writer friends find fame and fortune while you toil away as a barista? If you are, you could probably use some cold hard cash, like say, $1,000 bucks in addition to the recognition you so rightly deserve. Here’s the break you’ve been waiting for:
Hyphen magazine and Asian American Writers’ Workshop is putting out the call for the next best Asian American writer. This is no small writing contest — Houghton Mifflin published past winner Preeta Samarasan’s book Evening Is the Whole Day, which was long-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize (and, more importantly, was featured with an excerpt in Audrey, thank you very much). And this year’s judges include no less than Whiting award winner Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh (Picador), and Jaed Coffin, author of A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants (De Capo Press). The winner not only gets one thousand ducats, she (or he) also gets her (or his — hint hint) story published in the pages of Hyphen itself.
But you don’t have a whole lotta time — the deadline for submissions is March 31. Go here for submission guidelines and info. And get writing!