At the Final Draft Awards at Paramount Studios Thursday night, 40-year film veteran Paul Schrader was inducted into the Final Draft Hall of Fame. His presenter Larry Karaszewski (“The People vs. O.J. Simpson”) couldn’t believe he had been inducted before Schrader, who was a 26-year-old film critic when he wrote “Taxi Driver.” “Paul is a giant shining beacon,” said Karaszewski, “on how a screenwriter can be an artist and be independent year after year.”
“Everything we’ve learned in the last 100 years in filmmaking is useless,” said Schrader. “We don’t know what we do, what a movie is, where we see it… The notion of the writer is up for grabs. They created this art form. Now there are no rules… There’s one left,” he concluded on a hopeful note. “Storytelling works.”
Schrader’s next directorial effort is the crime thriller “Dog Eat Dog,” co-written with Matt Wilder from Eddie Bunker’s novel and starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe. The film, which follows a trio of ex-cons on the run after a botched abduction, is currently in post-production, and Arclight Films is premiering footage to distributors for the first time at the European Film Market in Berlin. “Dog Eat Dog” was produced by Mark Earl Burman of Pure Dopamine. Executive producers are Gary Hamilton, Don Rivers, Tim Peternel, David Hillary, Shaun Redick, and Ray Mansfield. Deals have already been locked up for several territories, including France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K.
Among the award winners, voted on by folks who own the Final Draft screenwriting software, Drew Goddard admitted that he had a “Taxi Driver” poster on his wall growing up as he accepted Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Martian.” Best Original Screenplay went to “Ex Machina” writer-director Alex Garland, who’s back in the UK.
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The Big Break winners, culled from 7000 entries by tiers of professional readers, were Eric Buchman’s TV drama pilot “45 Wall” and feature drama “Breedlove,” by G.W.Freund & Daniel Bonjour.
After 25 years Final Draft has been acquired by Cast & Crew. The co-founders started out renting one side of a one-room office.
Read the full list of Final Draft winners below.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Ex Machina – Alex Garland (winner)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Martian – Drew Goddard (book by Andy Weir) (winner)
BEST TELEVISION DRAMA
Game of Thrones – D.B. Weiss and David Benioff (winner)
BEST TELEVISION COMEDY
The Big Bang Theory – Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady (winner)
BIG BREAK SCREENWRITING CONTEST
Winners and finalists in the Big Break Screenwriting Contest are awarded more than $80,000 in cash and prizes. The grand prize winners are flown to Los Angeles and brought to meetings
with top industry professionals.
Grand Prize Winners:
Feature Film (Drama): G.W. Freund & Daniel Bonjour,
Television (Half-Hour Pilot): Eric Buchman, 45 Wall
Feature film winners, by genre:
Action/Adventure: Sled by Dean Harvey
Comedy/Rom-Com: Reality Check by Adi Blotman
Drama: Breedlove by G.W. Freund & Daniel Bonjour
Family/Animated: King of Florida by Christina Eliopoulos
Period/Historical/War: A Face to Paint by KT Parker
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: The Encampment by Joe Rechtman
Thriller/Horror: Babygirl by Robert Garrett
Half-Hour Spec: Brooklyn Nine–Nine, “Only the Good Die Hard”
by Andrew Lee
Hour Spec: Arrow, “Follow the Leader” by Meghan Fitzmartin
Half-Hour Pilot: 45 Wall by Eric Buchman
Hour Pilot: Pros and Cons
by Paula Sabbaga