Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, now in its 30th year as the industry standard for screenwriting software, held the 16th Annual Final Draft Awards this evening to honor outstanding and elevated achievement in storytelling. Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7) was presented with the Final Draft Zeitgeist Award honoring a writer whose work speaks powerfully to the culture and what’s going on in the world right now. While accepting the award, Sorkin said, “the Zeitgeist crashed into us” and that he had no idea how much about today The Trial of the Chicago 7 would end up being.
The Storyteller Award for TV was presented to Academy Award winner Steve McQueen for his award-winning series Small Axe and the Storyteller Award for Film was presented to Academy Award winner Sofia Coppola for On The Rocks. Additionally, the Final Draft Awards honored two writers with the New Voice Awards recognizing rising and vital talents in the industry. The New Voice Award for TV was presented to Ramy Youssef for his award-winning series Ramy and the New Voice Award for Film was presented to Radha Blank for The Forty-Year-Old Version. Blank dedicated her award to her mother, whom “always encouraged [her] to write beyond the lines and to always see Black people worthy of being at the center of their own hero tale.”
The event’s presenters included Actor/Writer/Producer and two-time Golden Globe-winner Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Academy Award-nominee Paul Schrader (First Reformed), Actor/Producer and recent Golden Globe-winner John Boyega (Small Axe: Red, White and Blue), Director/Writer/Producer Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho) and Actor/Producer Laith Nakli (Ramy). Newly appointed Final Draft president Shelly Mellott, the first female president in the company’s 30-year history, hosted the ceremony.
Final Draft also announced the winners of the 2020 Big Break Screenwriting Contest, which received over 10,000 submissions from writers around the world, the most in the contest’s history. Mellott said, “Now more than ever it is important for the industry to discover and nurture new and diverse voices and give them the tools they need to succeed in their careers and in their crafts.”
The 2020 Big Break TV award was presented to Mira Z. Barnum for “Beirut” and the Big Break Film award was presented to Stacie Gancayco-Adlao for Clementine. Winners of the Big Break Screenwriting Contest receive $10,000 cash, career coaching, meetings with renowned screenwriters and literary managers and much more. In recent years over 50 winners have signed to professional representation, have had their scripts optioned, sold and produced and are working in writers rooms across the television landscape.
You can watch the entire awards ceremony here.
Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft software – the number-one selling screenwriting application in the world – for over 30 years. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats scripts to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – write. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams and James Cameron, among many others, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break Contest – a screenwriting competition that launches careers and awards over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers Final Draft Mobile for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable.
Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Final Draft