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Set In Philadelphia Competition Announces Winners

The Set In Philadelphia Screenwriting Competition has announced Joe Nienalt's Smile as their 2007 Grand Prize Winner:

Grand Prize Winner
$10,000 Cash Prize
Joe Nienalt
Smile is a drama about a paraplegic woman that falls in love with a self-destructive Philly thug who is secretly aligned with the hit and run driver that put her in the wheelchair. The Notebook meets Monster's Ball.

About the Writer
Joe Nienalt was born and raised in Philadelphia's working-class Kensington neighborhood. He went on to study and travel in such diverse locales as Dubuque-Iowa, Chicago-Illinois, Hollywood-California, and Amsterdam-Holland. Joe's short stories have appeared in Columbia College-Chicago's award winning anthology Hair Trigger. His first screenplay TESTAMENT, an epic tale chronicling the downfall of the Roman tyrant Nero, and five original movie pitches helped Joe win a 2005 Writer's Arc Screenwriting Fellowship. His fourth script, SMILE, is an intense drama set in Philly in the tradition of hard hitting love stories like Monster's Ball. After being discharged from the Army just before September 11th, 2001, Joe crash landed in Tacoma, WA where he currently lives with his wife and children. Joe is 31 years old. He is represented by Chris Davey of Media Talent Group.

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Regional Award
$2,500 Cash Prize
Beat A Bully
Salih Abdul-Qawi

Beat A Bully: Sabota Brown, a boxer from the city of Philadelphia, struggles to provide for his family after getting suspended from the ring. His younger brother, whom he hasn't seen since childhood, re-enters his life and introduces him to a place where he can get paid doing what he does best: fighting.

About the Writer
Salih Abdul-Qawi was born and raised in West Philadelphia where he lived with his mother, brother and two sisters. In 1992, at the age of 12, Salih lost his mother to homicide and went to live with his father in the West Oak Lane area of Philadelphia.

He later attended the High School for Creative and Performing Arts where he pursued his dream to become an actor. Salih moved on to attend Marymount Manhattan College in New York City where he received a BFA in Acting. During his college experience, he was impressed by a screenplay written by a student filmmaker and decided that he wanted to write also. The student recommended that he take the screenwriting course offered by the college. However, before Salih was able to enroll into the course, he was forced to leave Marymount Manhattan due to financial hardship. In 1999, after completing only two years of college, Salih moved back to Philadelphia. Determined to succeed, he began to study screenwriting on his own while still pursuing acting. In 2002, he landed a role on the TV show Hack, starring David Morse. Then, in 2004, he landed his first feature role in the major motion picture, In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette. During this time, Salih began developing his first story. In 2005, he wrote his first script and, to his disappointment, it was completely unreadable. This failure intensified his desire to learn the craft. In 2006, Salih wrote his second screenplay Beat a Bully and he is currently developing ideas for his next screenplay.

2007 Irene I. Parisi Award
$1,000 Cash Prize
Incidental Contact
Derek Dressler

Incidental Contact- A promiscuous college basketball star begins an unlikely romance with his 65 year old professor.

About the Writer
Derek Dressler is a 2005 graduate of the Writing for Film & Television department at The University of the Arts. After graduation, he taught courses in undergraduate screenwriting and liberal arts, as well as Saturday School and Continuing Education. His short film I Love You, Now Die was screened at the Philadelphia Arts Bank in 2005, and his short Danny Boy won the Best Mystery award in the Filmerica National Film Competition. He received the Rod Serling Writing Award for his feature script Curtain Up, and the won the 2004 S.I.P. "Philly Pitch," which provided him a mentorship with screenwriter Mark Rosenthal. Derek lives with his wife in Los Angeles. He is a script reader for a major agency, and works in the TV Development department at New Line Cinema. He misses Philly cheesesteaks, but not the snow.

2007 Parisi 2nd Prize
$500 Cash Prize
Between Midnight & Mourning
Robert X. Golphin

Between Midnight & Mourning- Dashon believes in justice and equality. A gang believes in something else. High school graduation used to be a time of joy. This year it might be a time of pain.

About the Writer
Robert X. Golphin holds a B.A. in theater and film (Magna Cum Laude). He graduated in 2006 as the only student in his theater and film program with academic honors. He holds a Diploma in Creative Writing from The Philadelphia High School for The Creative & Performing Arts. His cast and crew credits include the CBS series Hack, HBO's The Wire, and the upcoming feature film The Beautiful Ordinary. He has written, produced, and/or directed several cinematic, television, and stage productions including an authorized stage rendition of Spike Lee's School Daze. For a screenplay he penned about the film industry, he earned a Finalist position in the 2003 ABC Talent Development Program, which recognized him as a "promising emerging artist". He is also the author of the novel Abandoning Adam: Confessions of an HBCU Scholar and his various journalistic credits include Teen People Magazine.

2007 Parisi 3rd Prize
$300 Cash Prize
The Four Men From Abernacle
Matt Taylor

The Four Men From Abernacle- Shortly after the civil war, two outlaw brothers fulfill their dying immigrant father's last wishes by escorting him from their Texas home to his birthplace of Philadelphia. Hot on their trail is another man, seeking vengeance for the murder of his one, true love. Now, a Philadelphia police officer finds himself to be the only one who can end their final, bloody ride.

About the Writer
Matt Taylor is a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania. After recently graduating with a degree in Communications from Elon University, Matt hopes to pursue a career in screenwriting and fiction. An avid film fan from an early age, Matt credits John Carpenter's Halloween (first viewed at twelve from under his parents' bed) with inspiring him to become a filmmaker. During the years that would follow, his passion for film would grow as he discovered the work of such writers and directors as Martin Scorsese, David Cronenberg, Aaron Sorkin and David Mamet. The Four Men From Abernacle, the script Matt is accepting his award for, is a western. Like almost all in the genre, it is inspired by the films of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood but also draws from Matt's adoration of the work of Sam Peckinpah (specifically Ride the High Country and The Wild Bunch). He currently resides in Downingtown, PA.

2007 Parisi 4th Prize
$200 Cash Prize
Seeking Paradise
Corey Stephens

Seeking Paradise: Four complete strangers find themselves thrown together surrounding the tragic death of a young man none of them knew and their common search for paradise.

About the Writer
Corey Stephens was born and raised in West Philadelphia, by his now deceased, grandmother and adopted mother Shirley Ladson. He graduated from Overbrook High School in 2002 and is currently a junior at Drexel University majoring in Screenwriting/ Playwriting and Business Administration. He fell in love with screenwriting and film at 18 years old (He'll be 24 on April 7th) and through the influence of his grandmother and his desire to get at the center of both the beautiful and the ugly in the human experience (especially in Philadelphia) he was able to refine and utilize his talent. He has written over 11 features that explore in some way or another the human desires for life, belonging, and paradise within an imperfect and often inhuman world. Corey's idea of paradise is being recognized as one of the greatest screenwriters who has ever lived. And, that dream has gained more and more impact as he grows older and sees that there is a genuine need for new scribes who will tell the myths and legends of the new millennium.

Updated: 07/26/2007
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