MEET OUR 2021 TV CONTEST DIVISION WINNERS

We’re thrilled to introduce our TV contest division winners in the 2021 TV Fellowship competition. Each of these writers placed first in their respective divisions of Original Drama, Original Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Children/Family. Congratulations to them all!

Louisa Makaran – Original Drama Division Winner

In Louisa Makaron’s Original Drama Division winning teleplay, PAPERGIRL, as World War II winds down and men return from the front, a plucky newspaperwoman fights to keep her job.

Louisa grew up in “Sin City”Las Vegas, NV — so it’s understandable that her overprotective, single mother was very concerned for her spiritual well being, so many of their weekends were spent “church hopping”. FYI: Church hopping is kind of like bar hopping, but instead of beer, you get Jesus… and sometimes wine too.

Because it is often 117 degrees in Las Vegas, when she wasn’t hopping from church to church, Louisa was usually inside, devouring a steady diet of movie musicals, screwball comedies, and those really excellent Olsen Twins mystery videos. Which honestly, will probably be pretty obvious if you ever read any of her writing.

In recent years, Louisa has worked in post-production, where she is very often the only woman in the room. Her experiences of being made to feel out of place or less than in a male-dominated field have fueled her interest in telling hopeful stories about people who have been told that they don’t belong.

When she’s not writing or staying in her apartment because of a global pandemic, Louisa loves traveling, live theatre, and going to her favorite fast casual restaurant: Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Ursula Taherian – Original Comedy Division Winner

Ursula Taherian’s Original Comedy Division prizewinning teleplay, A LITTLE RACE-ISH, explores explores Afghan-American Medina Khan’s internal—and oftentimes external—battle between the two sides of her cultural identity.

Ursula’s mom is a Christian-practicing white girl, her dad is a Muslim-practicing Afghan, and she is a yoga-practicing Halfghan (with a mezuza outside her door just to cover all her bases). Ursula is a creative multi-hyphenate, most recently writing, producing and starring in the multiple award-winning short film, THE BROWNLIST. It screened at several Oscar-qualifiers and took home the Jury Award for Best Short Film at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Festival, amongst others. Her spin-off tv pilot script, A LITTLE RACE-ISH, is also gaining recognition in the contest world with nine accolades to date, including this incredible honor from CineStory.

As an actor, Ursula has found a balance between comedic and dramatic opportunities including a recurring role on the CBS drama Madam Secretary, and guest spots on NCIS L.A. and the ABC comedy SPEECHLESS. She’s also a heavy-hitter in the voiceover world, with campaigns for Honda, UPS and Toyota, and is a recurring voice on Fox’s FAMILY GUY. And if you still watch commercials, you can catch her in national ads for MasterCard, Best Buy and Lays Potato Chips, to name a few.

Ursula was chosen for Women In Film’s coveted Actor-Content Creator Circle as well as the inaugural See It Be It Fellowship sponsored by Geena Davis/Bentonville Film Festival and the Coca-Cola Foundation, designed to champion underrepresented voices.

When you can’t find her you can usually find her dangling from the aerial silks at various circus studios around L.A.

Ray Gettman Bush – Original Sci-Fi/Fantasy Division Winner

In Ray Gettman Bush’s Original Sci-Fi/Fantasy Division winning teleplay, APOLLO 19, after a successful lunar mission, the astronauts of Apollo 19 return to Earth expecting a heroes’ welcome. What they get is anything but, sending each of the three in different directions in an attempt to find a way “home.”

Over the past few years, Ray’s rekindled his love for screenwriting. He continually looks for ways to further hone his abilities and sharpen his skills. Last year he completed four TV pilots, and hopes to add to that portfolio this year.

Ray grew up on the east coast of Florida watching rocket launches from the comfort of his front lawn. When he wasn’t watching mankind reach for the stars, he was dreaming about it. Inspired by shows like Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, Ray spent much of his childhood writing his own far out stories and trying them out on his neighborhood friends.

Screenwriting has always been a passion of Ray’s. But, when he informed his parents of his desire to “write for the movies”, it wasn’t something they could exactly wrap their minds around, considering the family lived on the opposite coast from Hollywood, USA. Instead, Ray became a “newspaper man”, starting off in sports writing, then gravitating to news and feature writing and later working his way into business and digital development.

Over the past few years, Ray’s rekindled his love for screenwriting. He continually looks for ways to further hone his abilities and sharpen his skills. Last year he completed four TV pilots, and hopes to add to that portfolio this year.

Chris A. Bolton – Original Children/Family Division Winner

In Chris A. Bolton’s Original Children/Family Division winning teleplay SMASH, after 10-year-old Andrew Ryan absorbs the powers of his idol and becomes a superhero called Smash, he discovers how challenging it is to fight super-powered villains while keeping up his chores and trying to pass the fifth grade.

Chris A. Bolton’s writing seeks to find the light in the shadow, exploring our darkest feelings and terrors through an engaging, deftly humorous style. He has written sketches, stage plays, screenplays, comics, short stories, novels, web-series, professional copy, and much more.

In 2020, he was selected by the Sundance Institute for the inaugural session of the Sundance Co//ab TV Writing Class. He wrote and co-created an all-ages graphic novel series called SMASH, illustrated by his younger brother and published by Penguin Random House.

His feature screenplay LEMMINGS won the 2019 ScreenCraft Animation Screenplay Contest and his half-hour animated pilot script SMASH won the Children’s/Family division of the 2021 CineStory TV Retreat and Fellowship Competition.

Among other screenwriting accolades, his supernatural thriller THE MIDNIGHT TOUR was a Finalist for the 2019 ScreenCraft Horror Competition, his fantasy TV pilot THE SHADOW KING was a Finalist for the 2021 ScreenCraft Action & Adventure Screenplay Competition, and his supernatural drama THE UNCANNY (co-written with Helen Maury Driftmier) was a Finalist for the 2020 ScreenCraft Drama Competition.

Chris was a writer and actor in a sketch comedy troupe for ten years, has directed several short films, and wrote and directed a two-season web-series called WAGE SLAVES.

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