Hailey O'Brien has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation's (WGAE Foundation) Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting. The fellowship, which is funded by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation, is awarded to a student who plans to pursue a career in screenwriting upon completion of his/her undergraduate course of study. The recipient receives a $10,000 stipend to write an original screenplay under the mentorship of a prominent screenwriter. Michael Winship, WGAE President, will present O'Brien with her fellowship at the 64th annual Writers Guild Awards on Sunday, February 19, 2012 in New York City at the B.B. King Blues Club.
O'Brien is a senior in Film Studies and Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Wayne State University. Her fellowship project, Losing Grace, is about one woman's struggle and search for penance after an accidental drowning of a young neighbor while in her care.
"This is such an incredible opportunity; I cannot begin to express how excited and grateful I am to be the 2012 recipient of the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting. I am looking forward to attending the WGAE Awards and meeting the Collyer family as well as others who have made this fellowship possible. I am so thankful for this opportunity that they have provided me with. I would also like to thank Joel Silvers for nominating me for this award. It was his insight and passion for screenwriting that fueled my own desire to make words and film matter," said Fellowship recipient Hailey O'Brien.
Marshall Brickman, Chair of the Collyer Fellowship Selection Committee, reflected on the wealth of talent nominated for the 2012 Collyer Fellowship. "The job of the judges was especially difficult this year, as all the Collyer submissions displayed impressive talent. With such a strong field of applicants, we awarded the laurel to Hailey, whose story emphasizes material which is character driven and personal. Her ability to convey emotion, her dialogue and construction, and her skill in handling such challenging subject matter in a believable and compelling manner moved us all."
Diana King, chairwoman and president of the King Family Foundation, said, "We are deeply gratified to have developed the Michael Collyer Fellowship in collaboration with the WGAE Foundation and are thankful for their excellent stewardship. We are proud to support this awards program in memory of our former board member, Michael Collyer. Michael was a leading entertainment attorney and a champion of talented writers in all media. He would be thrilled to see the development support provided by this program reaching an ever-growing number of Collyer Fellows."
Eight universities and colleges participated in this year's Collyer Fellowship nominating process. They are: Binghamton University, Boston University, Buffalo State College, Columbia College-Chicago, Georgia State University, University of Miami, New York University, and Wayne State University.
The first Collyer Fellowship was awarded in 2009. Recipient Sara Van Acker of New York University completed her script under the mentorship of Marshall Brickman, which was named a 2011 semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. Marshall Brickman also mentored 2010 recipient Antal Zambo of Wayne State University. Richard LaGravenese mentored 2011 recipient James DiLapo of New York University. Both Antal Zambo and James DiLapo are continuing to work on their scripts with their respective mentors.
The Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation was established in 1988 to support educational excellence and professional development in the film, television and related media fields, and has provided scholarships to hundreds of outstanding U.S. undergraduate students in these disciplines. For more information on the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship, contact WGAE Foundation Program Coordinator Jenna Jackson, 212-767-7843, email@example.com.
The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation is created to perpetuate the art and craft of storytelling, either by professionals or amateurs, through education and practical experience, on local, national and global levels; to find the next generation of writers in fiction, non-fiction, television, radio, film, theatre, and new media; to encourage WGAE members and staff to contribute their expertise to Foundation activities, thereby expanding the base and breadth of knowledge, as well as increasing the solidarity and power of the writing community in the larger world; and to work with other like-minded organizations in order to facilitate and expand the needs and goals of writers everywhere. For information about the Foundation's programs, go to www.wgaefoundation.org.