Three win Illinois screenwriting awards

Sandi Stevenson, from Libertyville, a part-time copywriter with Vance Publishing, a finance attorney Richard Kohn and his writing partner Brian Adler, an L.A. producer/director, and Jan Pena-Davis, an 8th grade teacher at Humboldt Park were the three winners of the Illinois/ Chicago Screenwriting Competition.

Winners received $2,500 checks and crystal trophies at an awards presentation ceremony before 75 guests at the Hilton Monday night. This was the fifth competition, held every other year, since it was initiated in 1994.

The winning scripts were Stevenson’s “Santa and the Princess”; Adler and Kohn’s “Family Business,” and Pena-Davis’ “The Shoeshine Guy.”

“The top ten screenplays were the best we ever had,” says IFO competition coordinator Todd Lizak of the 2002 competition which attracted 301 screenplays from Illinois residents, up from 2000’s 277 entries. Over an eight-month period, a total of 127 professionals judged scripts winnowing the field to 50 finalists, then to 10, then to the three winners.

Finalists were Peter Apple/Tim Nielson, “The Strike King;” Phillip Balsano, “Radioland;” Joseph Flynn, “Let’s Play Two,” David Freeman/Miles Harvey, “Fan Interference;” Rob Heiser, “Shadowbox;” Melanie Villines, “Just Say the Word” and “Borders of the Heart,” my screenplay about a Mexican woman who risks all to reach the U.S. and reunite with her husband, who no longer wants her. (Okay, that was a blatant plug.)

Winners’ checks came from dividing $7,525 from entry fees. The Crystal Cave of Wilmette provided the personalized trophies and the latest Movie Magic Software was courtesy of the Write Bros.