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14th Annual Final Draft Awards

January 15, 2019
6 min read time

Final Draft, a Cast & Crew Company, now in its 28th year as the industry standard for screenwriting software, today announced the honorees for the 14th Annual Final Draft Awards. Academy Award® winning screenwriter Callie Khouri will be presented the prestigious Hall of Fame Award for her prolific contribution to the art of screenwriting and devotion to writers and the writing community. This year’s New Voice Award for Film recipient is writer-director Boots Riley whose critically-acclaimed debut feature Sorry To Bother You announced the arrival of Riley as an exciting, brave new voice in cinema. The New Voice Award for Television will be presented to Tanya Saracho, the dynamic creator and executive producer of the acclaimed Starz Original series Vida. Final Draft will also announce the winners of the prestigious 2018 Big Break® Screenwriting Contest. The 14th Annual Final Draft Awards will be held at the Paramount Theatre on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood, CA on January 29th and will be hosted by comedy duo Randy and Jason Sklar (The Sklar Brothers).

“Callie Khouri has left an indelible mark on both film and television with her writing,” stated Scott McMenamin, President of Final Draft. “Her unique voice and dedication to making our industry a better environment for all writers make her the perfect candidate for this award.”

“We are also excited to be honoring first-time writer-director and undeniable multi-hyphenate talent Boots Riley for his thought-provoking film, Sorry To Bother You, that seamlessly blends comedy and social commentary,” says McMenamin, “and creator/executive producer Tanya Saracho who is breaking through stereotypes and expanding our understanding of the Latinx community with her first series, Vida."

Previous Final Draft Hall of Fame Award winners include Aaron Sorkin, Nancy Meyers, Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Schrader, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne, Oliver Stone, and Sydney Pollack, among others. The New Voice Award was introduced in 2017 and past recipients include Liz Hannah and Issa Rae.

About Callie Khouri

Callie Khouri is the creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed drama, Nashville, and the Oscar®-winning screenwriter of Thelma and Louise. She also wrote 1995’s Something To Talk About starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Duvall and Gena Rowlands and made her directorial debut with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood starring Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, which she also adapted for the screen. In 2006, Khouri collaborated with legendary television producer Steven Bochco and wrote and directed the television drama, Hollis and Rae. She then directed her second feature film, Mad Money, starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah. As announced recently, Khouri signed on to write the upcoming MGM Aretha Franklin biopic, which will be directed by Liesl Tommy and star Jennifer Hudson.

Honors for her writing in film and television as well as her commitment to the honest portrayal of women on screen continue to this day. Her accolades include Nashville Women in Film’s 2016 Woman of the Year; induction into the 2016 SOURCE Awards Hall of Fame; the 2016 Patsy Montana Award from the National Cowgirl Museum, which recognizes work in entertainment that continues and advances the tradition of the cowgirl in the areas of film, television, music, writing and theatre; an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Watkins College of Art, Film and Design; the National Women’s History Museum’s 2015 Women Making History Award; and the Austin Film Festival’s 2013 Austin Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

She served on the Writer’s Guild of America board of directors from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2002. She was also on the WGA’s board of trustees from 2001 to 2004. In 2005, she was awarded the Horton Foote Award for special achievement in screenwriting.

Born in Texas and raised in Kentucky, Khouri attended Purdue University, where she majored in drama. She pursued additional training at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles and later with Peggy Fuery. In 1985, she began working in film production, producing commercials and music videos.

About Boots Riley

Boots Riley wrote and directed Sorry to Bother You, an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction blended with social commentary, inspired by the world of telemarketing, in his directorial debut. It stars Lakeith Stanfield, Armie Hammer, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, and Terry Crews. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Fest and opened to strong critical acclaim in theaters nationwide later in 2018.

Fervently dedicated to social change, Boots was deeply involved with the Occupy Oakland movement. He also was one of the leaders of the activist group The Young Comrades. 

He has released 7 albums as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and producer of his band The Coup and is the author of the critically acclaimed “Tell Homeland Security-We Are the Bomb."


About Tanya Saracho

Tanya Saracho is a playwright and television writer who serves as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically-acclaimed series Vida, which earned 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The show, currently in production on season two, features all Latina directors, and a writing staff comprised of all Latinx writers.

Named one of Variety's 'TV scribes to watch’ in 2018, Saracho signed an overall deal with Starz, and is developing a new series, Brujas, with Big Beach. Her television credits also include How to Get Away with Murder, HBO's Looking and Girls, and Devious Maids.

Saracho was named “Best New Playwright" by Chicago Magazine, and has had plays produced at New York City’s Primary Stages and 2nd Stage, as well as Victory Gardens Theatre, The Denver Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater.

Saracho was named one of nine national Latino "Luminarios" by Café Magazine, and received the first "Revolucionario" Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art.

She is the founder of Teatro Luna (the first all-Latina Theatre Company in the nation, now defunct) as well as the founder of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists). She is currently in development with South Coast Repertory and Two River Theatre.

Saracho was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, and raised along the Texas border, spending the better part of her adult life in Chicago. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

About The Sklar Brothers

Randy and Jason Sklar released their hour special, Hipster Ghosts on Starz in 2017 and produced the documentary, Poop Talk which was released in February 2018. The Sklars recurred in the TruTV Series Those Who Can’t as well as in several episodes of AMC’s hit series Better Call Saul.  They also notably hosted and produced History Channel’s United Stats of America and created and starred in the ESPN cult hit series Cheap Seats, besides being guest hosts on Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle. Their television credits include Bajillion Dollar Properties, Maron, Agent Carter, Playing House, Partners, Grey’s Anatomy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, CSI, Law & Order, and Comedy Central Presents.

They can be seen in Wild Hogs and The Comebacks, while their internet shows Held Up, Layers, and Back on Topps have received critical acclaim. They also recurred as panelists on ESPN’s SportsCenter and E!’s Chelsea Lately.  Their podcast View From The Cheap Seats (formerly Sklarbro Country) was nominated for best comedy podcast in 2012 at Comedy Central’s comedy awards and their new podcast Dumb People Town is averaging 75k downloads per episode in its first month.  They are currently developing the pilot’s Dumb People Town, based on the podcast, with Will Arnett’s Electric Avenue and Val Kilmer Ruined Our Lives with Bill Lawrence.

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