Humanitas Prize Finalists Announced for 2018

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In total, 57 film, TV and documentary writers have been selected as finalists for the annual honor, and winner will be announced on Feb. 16.

Humanitas, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting writers, is handing out its annual Humanitas Prize awards. The honor is bestowed upon film and television writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way. 

This year, 21 screenwriters; 31 TV, documentary and independent film scribes; and five college writers have been selected as finalists for the 43rd Humanitas Prize. The two winners of the college section will be awarded $20,000 to provide financial support while they work on a feature spec script or television pilot. All winners will be announced at the Humanitas Prize event on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

For the first time on the feature side, awards will be presented in three categories: drama, comedy and family films. “Dividing the film awards into three genres allows us to recognize outstanding work across the broad spectrum of feature screenwriting,” said the organization’s executive director, Cathleen Young.

“Whether it’s a deep documentary dive into a challenging subject, a hilarious half-hour sitcom episode or a heartfelt independent feature, all of the finalists used their craft to create work that is both entertaining and enlightening,” she continued. “Television and film have incredible power when it comes to inspiring empathy, compassion, forgiveness and reason, and we are proud to support work that strives to do just that.”

Added president Ali LeRoi: “Our founder, Bud Kieser, may have put it best when he said, ‘Whatever we can do to empower, enrich and support writers, we should do because it is writers who show us where we’ve been and where we are going as a culture.’ Today’s young writers will be the ones to take us where we are going through their work, and we are proud to empower and support them through these fellowships.”

Here’s a full list of the finalists.

Feature finalists

Feature – Drama
Mudbound, Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
The Post, Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Written by Martin McDonagh

Feature – Comedy
Lady Bird, Written by Greta Gerwig
The Big Sick, Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Written by Noah Baumbach

Feature – Family
Coco, Story by Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, Adrian Molina, Screenplay by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich
Ferdinand, Story by Ron Burch & David Kidd and Don Rhymer, Screenplay by Robert L. Baird and Tim Federle and Brad Copeland 
The Breadwinner, Screenplay by Anita Doron, Story by Deborah Ellis

TV and documentary finalists

Documentary Category
Cries From Syria, Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky
Human Flow, Directed by Ai Weiwei, Written by Chin-Chin Yap, Tim Finch & Boris Cheshirkov
Hearing Is Believing, Directed by Lorenzo DeStefano 
One of Us, Directed by Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing

Sundance Feature Film Category
Crown Heights, Written by Matt Ruskin 
Gook, Written by Justin Chon
Novitiate, Written by Margaret Betts

30-Minute Category
Black-ish, “Lemons,” Written by Kenya Barris
The Big Bang Theory, “Long Distance Dissonance,” Teleplay by Chuck Lorre & Steve Holland & Tara Hernandez, Story by Steven Molaro & Eric Kaplan & Jim Reynolds
Will & Grace, “Grandpa Jack,” Written by Alex Herschlag

60-Minute Category
Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Madam Secretary, “Good Bones,” Written by Joy Gregory
The Good Doctor, “Pilot,” Teleplay by David Shore

Children’s Live-Action Category
An American Girl Story, “Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance,” Written by May Chan
Degrassi: Next Class, “#ImSleep,” Written by Matt Huether
Sesame Street, “The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special,” Written by Ken Scarborough, Raye Lankford and Jessica Carleton

Children’s Animation Category
Doc McStuffins, “Hannah the Brave,” Written by Kerri Grant 
Sofia the First, “The Crown of Blossoms,” Written by Craig Carlisle
Splash and Bubbles, “Pearlene,” Written by Michael Foulke

College finalists

The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship
Kevin Carroll (Loyola Marymount) – Life's No Fairytale
Jerell Rosales (UCLA) – FLIP (Funny Little Island People) 
Bridget Visser (UCLA) – The Coven

The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship
Lauren Moon (USC) – Westminster, CA
Bridget Visser (UCLA) – Mad Nellie
Kieryn Ziegler (USC) – Waves