CONGRATUATIONS TO OUR 2023 FEATURE CONTEST SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS!

Sining Xiang / 2023 CineStory Asian & South Asian Writers Scholarship

The 2023 CineStory Asian & South Asian Writers Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding Asian or South Asian writer whose screenplay reached the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. The winner is awarded a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

The winner of the 2023 CineStory Asian & South Asian Writers Scholarship is Sining Xiang for his script THE GHOST WEDDING, cowritten with Patrick Boyd. In it, a Chinese immigrant couple enlists the help of a shaman to conduct a ghost wedding–an old tradition where the dead are married off in their afterlife–for their deceased son. As they try to keep the real reason for their son’s death a secret, they soon discover that a power beyond their control has other plans.

Sining Xiang is a writer/director based in Los Angeles. He was born in Inner Mongolia and raised near Beijing. Prior to embarking on a career in the entertainment industry, he worked as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley. His films have earned numerous accolades, including a Jury Prize from the Directors Guild of America and awards from Oscar-qualifying festivals such as Palm Springs Shortfest. His latest short film, FOREIGN UNCLE, was distributed by The New Yorker in 2023. He is a recent graduate of the UCLA MFA program in directing. He currently resides in LA with his partner and their two cats, Raymond and Bridget Jones.

Lulenoxx – CineStory LGBTQIA+ Writers Scholarship Winner

The 2023 CineStory LGBTQIA+ Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding LGBTQIA+ writer whose screenplay reaches the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. The winner receives a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

The winner of this year’s CineStory LGBTQIA+ Scholarship is Lulenoxx for their script MZ. MOVIES. In it, Ami, an awkward preteen, spends the summer of 2001 trying to catalog every film available at her local video rental store. Little does she know, this queer owned business is a gathering place for the local riot grrrl community, where Ami is able to discover herself and find a chosen family.

Lulenoxx is a queer, non-binary screenwriter and director. Their work focuses on the liberation of queer characters, the celebration of all things strange and writing the stories they didn’t have as a child. They are determined to represent the world they inhabit through the lens of human complexity and uniqueness. Lulenoxx was a winner of Pano’s Marilyn Horowitz Screenwriting Award (2nd Prize) and received development opportunities and fellowships from Stowe Story Labs and Athena Film Festival’s Writers Lab (Finalist for Chinonye Chukwu Emerging Writer Award). As a director, they are attached to the upcoming feature film PAIRS TO THE FLOOR and web series TRASH! with the non-profit Unseen Films Oregon.

Aaron Greyson – CineStory Semifinalist & Finalist Scholarship Winner

The 2023 CineStory Semifinalist & Finalist Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding writer whose screenplay reached the semifinalist or finalist level in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. The winner is awarded a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

The winner of the 2023 CineStory Semifinalist & Finalist Scholarship is Aaron Greyson for his script STATE OF NATURE. In it, a group of friends on a camping trip witness a mysterious event and must figure out both what happened as well as what kind of people they truly are if they’re going to have any hope of surviving this new world.

Aaron Greyson is an accomplished writer and story analyst, with a passion for speculative fiction and its power to reflect our society and challenge our beliefs. Aaron studied film at UCLA before working in nearly every stage of film and TV production, from development through post, for clients including Netflix, Amazon Studios, and Disney. He has worked in writers rooms, written for video games, optioned features, and been hired to adapt a children’s novel into a feature film. When he’s not writing, he’s probably either playing soccer or re-learning the world with his awesome toddler.

Matija Sraj- CineStory Underrepresented Voices Scholarship Winner

The 2023 CineStory Underrepresented Voices Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding writer who belongs to a community that has been historically underrepresented in Hollywood–particularly BIPOC writers, AAPI writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, women writers who are 45 or older, and writers with disabilities–and whose screenplay reached the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. The winner is awarded a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

The winner of the 2023 CineStory Underrepresented Voices Scholarship is Matija Sraj for his script THE RIP. In it, after an unexpected sexual encounter with his best friend, a young surfer understands what real friendship is as his life slowly unravels.

Matija Sraj is an emerging LGBTQIA+ screenwriter, writer’s assistant and stand-up comedian from Melbourne, Australia. With a lifelong obsession with storytelling, Matija has had a circuitous pathway to screenwriting, including as a mentor in an outback Aboriginal school, a refugee and conservatorship lawyer, and as an adviser to senators from Australia’s Greens party. As a Slovenian-Australian who grew up in an immigrant family, Matija writes mostly multicultural LGBTQIA+ dramedies and dramas.

Shehrezad Maher – Hagan-Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship Winner

The 2023 Hagan Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship is awarded to 2 top women applicants from underrepresented groups including Black and African Americans, Latinx and Hispanics, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans, whose screenplays reached the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. Each winner is awarded a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

One winner of the 2023 Hagan Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship is Shehrezad Maher for her script THEORY OF COLORS. In it, during preparations to sell the apartment where a family tragedy took place, a Pakistani-American teenager struggles to reconstruct her past while an unlikely memory shadows her father.

Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Shehrezad Maher has screened her films at institutions and festivals such as Visions du Réel, RIDM, the LA Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, UnionDocs, and Experiments in Cinema. Her feature film script, THEORY OF COLORS, was selected for the 2023 Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters Lab and was a recipient of the Melissa Mathison Fund. She studied visual arts at Bennington College and earned an MFA from Yale University, where she was awarded the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize.

Alex Vance – Hagan-Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship Winner

The 2023 Hagan Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship is awarded to 2 top women applicants from underrepresented groups including Black and African Americans, Latinx and Hispanics, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans, whose screenplays reached the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. Each winner is awarded a $750 tuition reduction for this year’s feature retreat.

One winner of the 2023 Hagan Hicks Underrepresented Women’s Voices Scholarship is Alex Vance for her script MT. ASHA. In it, when a hopeful married couple attends a new age fertility retreat in an isolated mountain town and miraculously becomes pregnant, they realize they’ve fallen into the town’s cult…who want the baby.

Alex Vance is an award winning Canadian Métis-Caribbean-European writer and filmmaker from Canada’s Hollywood North: Vancouver. Alex shaped her early career on TV and film sets working as PA up to 2nd AD, and eventually assisting writers, directors, and producers. After this twelve year journey she finally decided to chase her wild writing dreams. To her delight, her first feature screenplay THE DANCE OF THE BULL was shortlisted at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and her first half hour pilot EVERTHING IS FINE advanced to the second round at Austin Film Festival in 2022 and made the quarterfinals for the 2022 CineStory TV Retreat & Fellowship Contest. Alex is currently in development as a writer and co-director for her Folk-Horror, Sci-Fi Feature, MT. ASHA and is interning for the legendary Métis/Dene Filmmaker Marie Clements.

Liz Edwards – Sartor Women’s Voices Scholarship Winner

The 2023 Sartor Women’s Voices Scholarship is awarded to a top woman writer who is 45 or older and whose screenplay reached the quarterfinalist level or higher in this year’s Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest. The winner receives a $1,000 tuition reduction to attend this year’s feature retreat.

The winner of the 2023 Sartor Women’s Voices Scholarship is Liz Edwards for her script THOSE WHO DON’T BELONG. In it, during the real-life documented appearance of mysterious lights over Phoenix in 1997, a teenage survivor of sexual assault and a female alien controlled by evil forces form an unexpected, dangerous connection. In their desperation to survive the night and escape the forces that control them, they empower each other and find freedom.

Liz Edwards believes tackling her greatest fears on the page will keep them from happening in real life. So far, this backwards form of creative doomsday prepping has successfully kept gaslighting, disasters and public humiliation (mostly) at bay. A former choreographer, feature and doc editor, and professional TV watcher, Liz is a member of the WGA and lives in LA with her husband, daughter and massive rescue pup.

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