Greater Philadelphia Film Office announces winners of the 2020 “Set in Philadelphia” Screenwriting Competition

Courtesy of The Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO)

The Greater Philadelphia Film Office announced the winners of the 2020 “Set in Philadelphia” Screenwriting Competition.

The “Set in Philadelphia” Screenwriting Competition is an annual contest presented by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, and is open to all screenwriters, world-wide, who submit a feature length screenplay or an original TV pilot length screenplay that can be shot in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. A panel of elite film industry judges review the entries.

“In these ‘Set in Philadelphia’ winners, I feel excited about the future of film in Philadelphia,” said Sharon Pinkenson, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. “Their voices and their stories are sure to bolster our city’s reputation as a place that nurtures talent and targets the region as a prime location that filmmakers embrace when producing TV shows and films.”

The 2021 competition submissions portal is open now through August 2, 2021:

The winners of the 2020 “Set in Philadelphia” Screenwriting Competition are:

Grand Prize
Sponsored by Hallee and David Adelman in honor of Producer Mike Jackson
$10,000 award for Best Screenplay

“Wish” by Law Crimlis
A white “hero” cop from Philly (saved a child in the MOVE bombing) must decide between lying to the Move Grand Jury in order to save the lives of three corrupt cops accused of murdering six unarmed children, burning down 61 rowhomes and destroying an entire working-class black community or risk himself and his bi-racial son both being killed.

Law Crimlis was born and raised in the Wissinoming section of Northeast Philly. He was a founding member of the Actors’ Theater Company of Philadelphia where his original play “Get Crackin” was workshopped and performed. Crimlis went on to write screenplays “Creep,” “American Tool and Die,” “Farewell Astroland,” and “Wish.” He has also written the TV pilots “Panhandlers,” “Gold,” and “Free-For-All.” Never having submitted his work to any screenwriting contest before, Crimlis hoped the salient subject matter of the MOVE bombing in his screenplay, “Wish,” would resonate within the community.

TV Prime Time Award
Sponsored by Comcast and NBC Universal
$5,000 award for Best Prime Time TV Pilot

“The Immune” by Philip Malaczewski
In a post-COVID near future, a second, more devastating pandemic wipes out the majority of the world’s population, but spares many gay men and sex workers who happened to be on PrEP, the anti-HIV medication. Now, a commune of survivors on the outskirts of Philadelphia must fight to survive in a world of warring clans, rapidly dwindling resources, and increasingly precious stockpiles of their life-saving medicine.

Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Philip Malaczewski has been screenwriting and working in the film and TV industries for over 10 years. His love of film writing began as a teenager when he would read the weekly film reviews in the Philadelphia Inquirer. At the University of Pennsylvania, he majored in Cinema Studies and wrote film reviews for 34th Street Magazine and Philadelphia Weekly before transitioning to writing screenplays in his post-college years. He’s worked in both film and TV distribution and production, including stints at Breaking Glass Pictures and Xfinity TV. In 2019, Philip moved to Los Angeles, where he continues to write spec scripts, freelances as a movie poster and DVD packaging designer, and occasionally appears as a background actor on TV shows.

The Oscar Micheaux Award
Sponsored by Progressive Change, CDC & West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution
$2,500 award for Best Screenplay by a Philadelphia-area resident of the African Diaspora

The Line by Craig Bolton
In 1970s Philadelphia, four cops navigate their own moralities as they try to do good amid escalating racial tensions, violence, and opposing views on right and wrong.

Craig Bolton is a life-long Philadelphia resident and film-lover with an interest in historical and speculative fiction. Possessing cross-media training and experience, Craig’s written works include academic essays, short stories, long-form fiction, and screenplays that give context to America’s formative histories as well as speculate on their future legacies.

After earning media and communications degrees from Community College of Philadelphia, Craig graduated from La Salle University with a B.A. in public relations followed by an M.A. in strategic communications. During his study, Craig cultivated experience in literary analysis and won recognition for his short stories and novel excerpts.

With over a decade of community nonprofit experience, Craig now applies his fascination with film narrative to community-building work for the Philadelphia Film Society where he runs the organization’s membership program and curates its member events and film screenings.

The Nina Lo Presti Award
Sponsored by Laurie Lo Presti & Ron Masciantonio
$5,000 award for the best feature or TV pilot written by a female screenwriter who has strong ties to the Greater Philadelphia area (new for 2020)

“Power of Balance” by Kiz Mentor
When a 16-year-old girl gets infected by a mysterious liquid, she gives birth to a child who goes on to become an icon for the oppressed and a target of a government organization.

Kiz Mentor is a screenwriter and an award-winning independent film producer hailing from Philadelphia. She has invested in the study, development, and execution of her craft by working in an array of positions ranging from development, production, and marketing in Hollywood’s top tier studios (Twentieth Century Fox, HBO and Universal).

With over 10 years of entertainment business experience, she has a proven track record and knowledge of television, film, pop culture, and emerging trends.

Kiz is currently the Program Manager for the Online Movie Club at Lil Filmmakers Inc., where she trains young, underserved artists to learn storytelling and the arts as a tool to overcome societal and personal barriers and prepare them for career opportunities in the entertainment media industry.

The Student Prize
Sponsored by The Derek Freese Film Foundation
$500 Prize for Best Student Script

Prospects and Prophecies” by Matthew Frishkoff
Set in a world in which fantasy adventurers are treated like modern day celebrities/sports stars, “Prospects and Prophecies” follows the stories of different aspiring and rising heroes as they try to save the world and handle the complexities of the fame that come along with it.

Matt Frishkoff lived in West Philadelphia his entire childhood and graduated from Central High School in 2017. He is a current seniorat Wesleyan University, where he is studying Film and Mathematics. He is passionate about scriptwriting, especially for stories involving elements of fantasy and science fiction. In his free time he enjoys binge watching television shows, playing video games, and talking about Philadelphia’s ports with his younger brother. He is also a captain on the Wesleyan Men’s Cross Countryand Track teams.

“This year’s Screenwriting Competition winners took the challenges of the pandemic and the nationwide reckoning on injustice and created important, timely screenplays that tackle some of the most crucial issues of our time,” said Joan Bressler, the GPFO Director who spearheads the competition’s logistics. “We look forward to continuing to help these talented screenwriters to get their work in front of those who can bring their projects to life on screen.”

For more information, please visit:

The Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO) is a “film commission” first representing Southeastern Pennsylvania that officially serves the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. GPFO, first established in 1985 as a part of Philadelphia city government, continues to reside within city offices. In 1992, we became a regional economic development agency, incorporating as the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, in July 2000. 

GPFO has three goals. First, the agency serves to grow the local film and video industry in every way possible, recognizing its huge economic impact in job creation and its unparalleled public relations effects for the region. Second, GPFO attracts film and video production to the region, including everything from feature films to TV commercials to music videos and industrial films. Finally, it provides the producer assistance with parking, permits, labor, and locations, and generally acts as the liaison between the production and the local community, cutting red tape. A non-profit economic development agency committed to the growth of the regional film and video production industry, GPFO has been responsible for impacting the local economy with more than $6B since 1992.

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